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Sony files patent for game controller that splits in two

This could be the next game controller from Sony.U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

There's been a lot of speculation about what the next generation of game machines from Sony and Microsoft will look and play like. But new game machines also mean new game controllers.

So how will Sony and Microsoft put players in control of the video games of the future? Documents released this week by the U.S. patent office show that, for its part, Sony appears to be working on a new version of its Move motion controller — one that is able to split into two pieces.

Sony has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for what it calls a "Hybrid Separable Motion Controller."

As you can see above, from the image submitted to the patent office, the design seems to meld the orb-topped Move controller with the more standard-issue Sixaxis controller.

The patent was originally filed last year but was only made public by the patent office (and spotted by gaming blog TheSixthAxis) this week. The patent documents describe how the two halves can be coupled and uncoupled and can operate independently of each other.

As someone who hates trying to hunt down different controllers to play different kinds of games, I like the idea of a controller that merges a standard controller and a motion controller into one convenient package.

Of course, whether this device ever actually makes it to market remains to be seen. But with Nintendo launching its new Wii U game machine with a tablet controller, it will be interesting to see how Sony and Microsoft choose to advance game controls with their own next-generation systems (expected by many to arrive for the holiday season in 2013).

For its part, Microsoft not only appears to be working on the next generation of motion-sensing Kinect controller, it has filed a patent for what looks a lot like a gaming holodeck for the home.

Either way, early indications suggest that motion controlled gaming isn't going away — no matter how much some gamers wish it would.

— Via TheSixthAxis

Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.