How the PS5 side plate scandal rocked Sony – and why DBrand was right to do so

I won't be buying one of DBrand's now famous black PS5 side plates, but here's why the firm was right to take on Sony

PS5 Sony PlayStation 5 DBrand
(Image credit: DBrand)

A few days ago a Canadian company called DBrand did something that nobody saw coming – it took on Sony directly, out in the open, by announcing its black PS5 face plates and middle skin decals for the PlayStation 5.

And it did so in the most confrontational way possible, challenging Sony to "go ahead, sue us" over its Darkplates and throwing shade at the Japanese maker for its "monumental achievement in bad design".

DBrand even went as far as hanging a lantern on how they had circumvented any illegality about its PS5 face plates, announcing that "when you look at this microscopic texture inside the Darkplates, what do you see? If your answer is 'a familiar-but-legally-distinct apocalyptic spin on the classic PlayStation button shapes,' you might be one of our lawyers."

In everyway possible, in my opinion at least, DBrand was firmly flicking the V at Sony. It was saying that Sony had massively dropped the ball with the PS5 design and that they had fixed it and were going to profit off that by selling its face plates and middle skins.

Now, for the uninitiated, to date there have been no legal PS5 face plates of skins made available through a Sony licencing agreement, and no official first party plates have also been made available by the Japanese console maker. In fact, Sony has actually actively shut down attempts before to sell face plates for its next-gen console.

So the fact that DBrand is now selling these plates, and that they are being snapped up by gamers, with already three waves of them sold out and the earliest you can now order them for is delivery in May 2021, will no doubt have sent shockwaves rippling through Sony Interactive Entertainment's headquarters.

And, while I personally will not be parting with $60.95 for a set black PS5 side plates and a robot camo middle skin, I absolutely applaud DBrand for both launching them and taking on Sony. Why? Simple – it's about time someone rattled Sony's cage over PlayStation 5 console customisation, which up until this point has been woeful.

Not only has Sony failed to offer any sort of customisation in terms of the console's aesthetic, but it also has still got the PlayStation 5's storage expansion port access locked firmly away, with passionate PlayStation gamers still waiting for the update that will unlock its functionality.

Seriously, the fact that right now, months and months after the PS5 was released, I still cannot expand the storage potential of my console is maddening, and especially when Xbox Series X gamers have it so easy with the Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S.

PS5 Sony PlayStation 5

The Dbrand Darkplates with matte black middle skin applied to a Sony PlayStation 5 console.

(Image credit: DBrand)

Now look, as I noted in my PS5 review, I am actually a gamer who really digs the PS5's design, hence the reason why I am not rushing out to customise its look with these DBrand Darkplates and decals. But I absolutely do understand that a lot of gamers don't dig the console's design or colorway, and considering just how easy it is to remove the PS5's side plates, it seems criminal that gamers don't have options available to them.

Each gamer's console is very important to them, and history has shown that gamers grow attached to them and enjoy making them their own through customisation. Be that skinning the console, buying replacement shells, adding in more RAM or storage capabilities, and buying accessories and special edition consoles with markedly different aesthetics to stock.

DBrand, though, has just done what Sony itself has not done so far this console generation – it's given gamers options to customize their console how they see fit, and for that I applaud them.

Here's hoping that DBrand's cage rattle will kick Sony into gear, and we'll soon see a variety of first party and third party side plates and decals for the PS5, as well as news on when owners can expect to expand their system's storage capabilities.

  • These are the best PS5 games to play on your Darkplates-modded cosnole
Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.