A newly published Nintendo patent suggests the recent report that stated the upcoming NX system will feature detachable controllers is true.
Discovered by the big ol’ kids over at NeoGAF, the patent was filed with the United States Patent Office in January earlier this year. It describes an accessory that can be attached to the outside of an “information processing device” – aka a controller (or accessory with additional inputs) that can be attached to the main device whenever. The accessory could have buttons, a rotating dial, or or other inputs. This information aligns with earlier reports that the NX would use detachable controller modules that connect to both sides of the device’s screen.
The patent further describes a method for reading the inputs of the connected accessory. The main handheld device would determine what inputs on the accessory are being utilized via an equipped infrared camera. According to the patent, this would allow for the accessory to operate without any electrical components.
How would the camera does this? Well, by looking through a hole between the main device and the controller. A separate patent reveals that you can use hand gestures near the side of the device when an accessory is not connected, again thanks to the infrared camera. One example shown is an image of a hand playing rock, paper, scissors by making the relevant hand gesture. A third patent elaborates on this further.
It’s important to note that patents aren’t necessarily indicative of future plans. It is commonplace for companies to patent concepts that never make it beyond the thought experiment stage.
The NX is set to release March 2017. Nintendo has been pretty reserved in providing details for the upcoming console, though it has described it as a “brand new concept”.
Patents are really confusing — and Nintendo really knocked it out of the park with this one. This infrared camera mumbo-jumbo sounds pretty awesome, but who knows what that really is and what it brings to the table in terms of gaming function. As for the detachable controllers, I’m pretty confident that is a slam-dunk rumor.
Tyler Fischer is a Senior Writer for MONG who plays video games when he’s not busy researching alien conspiracy theories at 2AM. You can find him on Twitter.