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Possible Nintendo patents show up publicly, offering potential details of a Switch successor

Nintendo sure does like dual screens, doesn’t it?

Image: GameCrate. Yes, we will keep using this stupid picture until we get a real one.
Image: GameCrate. Yes, we will keep using this stupid picture until we get a real one.

We’ve been covering all of the potential futures for Nintendo’s consoles in recent months here on GameCrate, like some knock-off version of Doctor Strange. But, apparently, Nintendo recently filed a patent that could bring the thought process in an entirely new direction.

The patent, found by Game Rant, appears to show off a device that looks similar to a Nintendo 3DS. This device has dual screens when the clamshell is opened that can detach from each other. But, they detach from one another so that two players can play a game together on a single system.

Also, it appears the device has an additional touch screen on the outside that can still be used when the device is both open and closed. That’s a lot to process.

Throughout the past several months, rumors, leaks, and patents have popped up with bits and details that could all culminate in a single device, or possibly multiple.

Game Rant sees the system as two systems for people to play simultaneously. But, what happens when three people want to play and so on?

There is a lot of patent information to unpack here.

Since Game Rant didn’t have any links to the original source of the images, Hexa, a member of the Resetera forums dug out all the patents that were related. And boy, there were a ton.

While Game Rant’s article detailed a lot of what’s mentioned in the patents, GameCrate took a microscope to all of the patents, six in total.

It’s hard to parse a lot of information because much of it is in Japanese. But, they’re all definitely filed by Nintendo Co., Ltd. Interesting to note that while the official publication date for the international patents is October 26th, 2023, the original filing date was back in November of last year.

Japanese patents and copyright trademarks tend to take a while, so this isn’t surprising. But, what’s interesting is that Game Rant’s images only tell part of the story when looked at closer.

A lot of the images across the patents involved focus on how certain buttons work within a console, such as triggers, internal components, and possible button placements. But, the images seem to use already-known systems for their examples.

For instance, the image that looks a lot like a Nintendo 3DS is literally a 3DS. And some others look identical to a current Nintendo Switch Lite. These are likely placeholders to show what the technology is for as opposed to any specific unannounced hardware.

Of note, one of the patents (the one that uses the Switch Lite in the images), shows off a magnetic cover for a device that clips directly onto the front, not unlike an iPad case. This could be for an unknown model of the current Switch lineup with more magnetized edges, or it could be a portability system they’re developing for a future console altogether.

One really interesting image that shows off the aforementioned detachability to turn one console into two has a system that looks similar to a Sony PlayStation Portable attached to a second identical device. It seemingly has a big screen on the outside of the pairing and matches a lot closer to Game Rant’s initial descriptions.

A lot more than meets the eye

Just speculating here, but I could easily see this magnetic system working between the two sides of the console connecting together via the noticeable port to open up like a clamshell, with that magnetic cover going over the outer screen.

I also can see the faceplate working as a magnetic skin system for a future version of the Switch or Switch successor. With Sony working on skins for their PS5s, this could be where that’s going.

My primary concern is the weight and chunkiness of this console. A normal Nintendo Switch has a little heft to it. If the recent rumors about the power and capabilities of the Switch 2 are to be believed, you’re packing a ton of juice into this system.

Now, here’s the catch. None of these patents are filed within the US Patents Office. They’re filed internationally via Japan, which could mean they’re in the early stages of development.

In fact, there was a US patent filed on the same day, which is completely separate and different from the other listings. This patent is for a “Game Controller” and nearly perfectly describes a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, complete with slider attachment.

This could be in relation to a Joy-Con-related patent filed back last September that we covered which seemed to help alleviate the dreaded Joy-Con Drift found in nearly all Switch controllers.

In any case, we’ve looked into over 14 million futures for the Switch and, well, Nintendo, we’ve come to bargain.

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