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PS4 touch-enabled controller possibly leaked ahead of launch

What could be the first image of Sony's PlayStation 4 controller, which includes built-in PlayStation Move compatibility and a PlayStation Vita-inspired touch-sensitive surface, has appeared online ahead of the company's expected official unveiling next week.

Obtained by Destructoid from an unnamed source, and confirmed as being a genuine image of an early controller prototype, the device shows some significant changes from the DualShock 3 used on Sony's current-generation PlayStation 3 console. The analogue sticks have a ridged circumference for better grip, but the controller still includes the iconic symbol-based four-button layout, four-way directional pad and convex triggers located below shoulder buttons.

Where things get a little bit different is at the centre: the bulk of the controller's surface has been replaced with a flat touch-sensitive touchpad, apparently inspired by the one on the rear of Sony's PlayStation Vita hand-held. The top of the device also gets a glowing LED-lit area - likely an aid to motion tracking through the improved EyeToy and Move system rumoured to be bundled with the next-generation console.

While described by sources as an "early prototype," and showing the device plugged into what appears to be a development kit, the image appears to confirm many of the rumours surrounding Sony's plans for the PS4. The presence of the Move-compatible lighting area is particularly telling, with both Microsoft and Sony rumoured to be concentrating heavily on mandatory motion-sensitive control systems in their respective next-generation console efforts.

Sony, for its part, is refusing to comment on the accuracy of the image, and nobody is talking about how the pre-release prototype may differ from the final retail model - but with the PlayStation 4 expected to be unveiled at a press event on the 20th of February, fans won't have long to wait to see if the image matches reality.

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