It seems like earlier rumours about the PlayStation 4's controller having a touch screen are turning out to be true. Destructoid has acquired a picture of what appears to be an early prototype of a PlayStation 4 controller. Multiple sources have confirmed that the picture is indeed real, but that the controller is an early prototype. Apparently, Sony has tried out different versions for its next-gen console, and this is one of them.

While the middle part of the controller seems to be a touchscreen, the blue part on top of the controller seems more puzzling. It is possible that Sony is integrating the Move controller with its next controller, and the blue part acts like the bulb of the Move. Also interesting is the new design for the analogue sticks. They seem to be rather unconventional when compared to the DualShock 3.

The touchscreen will probably make integration with the PS Vita even better

The touchscreen will probably make integration with the PS Vita even better

The DualShock controller is iconic for the PlayStation, but there have been some hints that Sony may decide to go for a new controller design. Earlier, a developer had let it slip that Sony is experimenting heavily with the design of its next-gen console. The developer even mentioned that the company has experimented with adding an LCD touchscreen and biometric sensors on the grip.

A different source repeated the information, mentioning that the company is “trying to emulate the same user interface philosophies as the PS Vita”, which features a prominent touchscreen. This may lead to tighter integration between the Vita and Sony's next-gen console. The source also mentioned that the console—dubbed the Orbis in development circles—will be revealed in a matter of weeks.

If the PS4 controller does end up having a touchscreen, parallels could easily be drawn between it and Nintendo's Wii U. It would also create an interesting environment for developers, where games are easier to port between the Wii U and the PS4. This could also lead to Microsoft retaliating with its own touchscreen peripheral for the Xbox 720.

Sony is bound to reveal more information on its next-gen console, as the company is expected to be revealing it in an upcoming event. The announcement of the event was teased through a video that Sony had released recently asking fans to get ready for the “future of PlayStation”. The teaser itself came as a shock as earlier reports stated that Sony would be playing the waiting game again, just like it did with the PS3. According to the report, Sony would wait till Microsoft unveiled its own console before showing off its own.

Then again, it was the same report that hinted to the company not unveiling the next PlayStation, saying that Sony boss Kazuo Hirai had mentioned that the PS3 is set to have a ten year life cycle. It can be safely assumed that he meant it in the same way that the PS2 had a 12-year life cycle, and stayed in production long after the PlayStation 3 was launched—only recently shutting down manufacturing of the classic console.

For more information on what to expect, check out our PlayStation 4 rumour round-up.

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