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Nintendo Files Three NX Related Patents

Nintendo filed three new NX-related patents today. While patent filings can be nonsense, these seem to be worth at least a decent discussion.

The first two patents feature hand tracking functions  (United States Patent Application 20160231807 and United States Patent Application 20160232675). Normally I would not be too interested, but not with Nintendo. At this year’s E3 conference, the first announced NX title came from Ubisoft: Just Dance 2017. My first thought was “don’t tell me they are going back to some sort of motion tracking”, but the combination of game announcement and patents make hand-tracking seem pretty likely.

The third patent is actually the more interesting one. Last month, Eurogamer published a huge information dump on the Nintendo NX. In that dump, their sources confirmed that the NX will be a portable system with two detachable controllers connecting to either side. This patent (United States Patent Application 20160231773) shows an attachable accessory clamping onto the side of a device.

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“Fig. 8; shows an example operation device before and after it is attached to a portable device;”

The more interesting part of this third patent is when it mentions that this attachable device will not need to have any electrical components. All of the button inputs will be controlled via an infrared camera. I admit: this kind of blew my mind. If possible, Nintendo could cut out a ton of extra expenses by eliminating all of the electrical work inside of the device.

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“Fig 9; shows an example configuration where an operation device is attached to a portable device;”

However, one main concern with this sort of design could be around the latency involved with the button input. It’s an issue that could potentially be incredibly frustrating for players, but at this point any potential issues are simply speculation.

This type of design has never been implicated in video games, and it’s a very exciting time to be a consumer. With fan speculation at an all time high, what will Nintendo do next? Do you think these three patents are useless or game-changing? Feel free to discuss this in the comments section below!