It's a quandary faced by more than a few committed gamers: A dozen controller wires, each leading to a different machine, tangled in one giant knot somewhere to the left of the television set. But what if there was a one-size-fits-all universal remote, which worked with your Sony PlayStation 3, your Microsoft Xbox 360, and your Nintendo Wii?
That's the idea behind an application filed by Sony with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to the application, Sony's universal controller would center around an LCD screen, which would "present, depending on what type of game console a user has selected, a controller key layout for a first type of game console or a controller key layout for a second type of game console."
Translation: The LCD screen would morph to reflect the platform you're playing on. Sony says that this universal controller will get some kind of rumble function, and work with retro platforms such as the Atari Jaguar. Best of all: "In some embodiments a user may be permitted to slide a finger on a navigation symbol to emulate a joystick-type cursor navigation device," reads the application.
This way, you can control the soldiers in Modern Warfare 2 the same way you flick through pictures on your Apple iPhone. Pretty cool, right? Of course, sometimes physical buttons feel more responsive. A number of touch-screen games have paired lovely graphics with frustrating controls – leading plenty a gamer to wish the iPhone came with a controller extension. Plus, there's no word yet on when Sony would roll this thing out – we could be talking years. But given the cost of replacing dead controllers, and buying new ones for every new console, a universal peripheral is worth the wait.