Rumor mill: Sony's unending stream of PlayStation-related patent applications continues with a new controller design. This one shows back buttons similar to those supplied by its upcoming DualShock 4 attachment. It also ditches the Home button causing one to wonder what solution Sony has to replace its functions.

A patent for a new PlayStation controller has hit the web. The new design is very similar to the current DualShock 4 with just a couple of exceptions.

The controller is shaped like the current generation with the same joystick and button layout. The primary difference is the addition of two buttons on the backside of the controller. They appear to be similar in design as the DualShock 4 attachment that Sony recently revealed, which is set to go on sale on January 23.

The patent is in Japanese, but Polygon reports that the back buttons are programmable and may be moved to other locations. It is uncertain if this means the gamepad will be modular or if Sony is leaving the option open to relocate the extra controls.

The other difference between the patent design and the current generation controller is the lack of a PS (home) button, which is currently located between the thumbsticks on the DS4. This means the function that returns you to the PlayStation home screen (XrossMediaBar) will have to be reassigned to another single or combination of buttons. Of course, this is assuming that the PlayStation 5's system software even has the XrossMediaBar.

The design somewhat contradicts a previous patent revealed in November that shows the controller without a light bar at the top. The new diagrams clearly show the light bar as being present (above). This may indicate either two types of controllers being planned, or Sony just has not made up its mind on the next peripheral. Patents are never set-in-stone indications of final designs, so anything is possible.

That said, the game-console leader has been busy designing and protecting its next-gen hardware. It has filed several patents in recent months, including two that indicate the company is looking into backward compatibility.

Sony has also patented a strange-looking quasi V-shaped design for the upcoming console. Photos later leaked, showing the patented design alleging that it was a PlayStation developer kit. However, more recent photo "leaks" of the PS5 show a more contemporary chassis.

The lesson here is that you cannot give patent designs too much weight (nor supposedly leaked photos). At best, they are a rough approximation of what the developer is considering and are rarely the final design.