The PS4 release date will likely be announced at a special Sony PlayStation announcement scheduled for February 20, 2013, but the a photo of the new touch-screen (or possibly touch-pad) controller has already leaked on line. See it here and read on for more PS4 release date news and rumors.

The leaked photo of the redesigned PlayStation controller first surfaced on GameTrailers forums before getting picked up by vide game news-site Destructoid, who confirmed from "multiple sources" that pictures real, but that they depict an "early prototype," and not the design we'll see when the PS4 release date arrives.

The big question of course is what that black rectangle in the middle of the controller is. We won't know until the big PS4 release date announcement on Wednesday, but we already have a few ideas. We're hoping it's an actual touch-screen (similar to the one on the Wii U controller). However, it could also be a scaled down touch-pad. Kotaku has also reported that the rectangle will also function as a button.

Destructoid was clearly taken back by the early controller photos leaked ahead of the PS4 release date announcement, at least based on their headline: "What the h*ll? Is this the new PlayStation controller."

Here's a few other interesting notes from their article on the new PS4 controllers:

"It does look like a touchscreen has been worked into the middle of the controller. What's that thing on the top? Also, get a load of those analog sticks. They look like belly buttons. Gross!

"Apparently they've tried out several versions of controllers for whatever this next game system is; it's possible that this is one of them...

"I like the touchscreen thing (if that's what it is), but I was kind of hoping that this is fake so I don't have to think any harder about what the blue light is for. Don't say it!"

After picking up the photos of the redesigned controllers, IGN reportedly reached out to Sony regarding whether these were the designs we'd see when the PS4 release date arrives. However, the bland response was a simple claim that the company "can't comment on rumors or speculation."

IGN goes on to point out a few interesting design changes to the new controllers which they say will be confirmed on February 20 along with the official PS4 release date:

-The directional pad (d-pad) on the left seems to feature meatier, bulkier buttons that are put closer together than on DualShock 3.

-The face buttons on the right side of the controller seem standard.

-The analog sticks look to be a bit further apart, though they remain level... However, the sticks themselves are concave.

-The much-rumored touch pad - a la the back of PlayStation Vita - appears at the center of the controller.

-There's a small, mystery button to the left of the pad, above and to the right of the d-pad. Is this the rumored share button?

-There's a glowing "something" on the top of the controller - most likely PlayStation Move-related

-Above the PlayStation button appears to be a speaker, and what looks to be an audio jack is underneath the controller, perhaps used to plug in a headset.

If you're looking for more PS4 release date spoilers we recommend you check out IGN's article, which features a visual breakdown of the redesigned PlayStation controller.

You can also check out their video report for more PS4 release date news and specs:

Read more about the redesigned PlayStation controllers and the PS4 release date over at iDigitalTimes.