Nintendo has a new console in the works called the Nintendo NX, so it should come as no surprise that rumors are coming to fruition regarding what the controller is going to be/look like. Recently, Nintendo filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an oval shaped controller that features a full touchscreen. The patent, which was found on FreePatentsOnline by a NeoGAF user, was filed in June of this year and just published today.
Taking a look at the details of the patent, the illustrations depict a flat handheld controller (apparatus) with a screen that curves around the edges and wraps around two thumbsticks on either end, resulting in a touchscreen that covers the entire face of the device. Judging from the notes and illustration(s), there are no buttons on the controller with the exception of the shoulders, with “holes”, handles and (operation) sticks. The patent filing’s description states:
A non-limiting example information processing apparatus comprises a housing, and a first portion of the housing is formed in an elliptical form when viewing from the front. A display panel and a touch panel constitute one main surface of the first portion. Holes are formed in left and right end portions of the display panel and the touch panel, and two operation sticks are provided through the two holes. When viewing the first portion from the front, an area except key tops of the operation sticks becomes a display area.
Leaks from manufacturers have indicated the machine could be released as soon as mid-year 2016, and is about to go into full production. This lines up with 2014 reports that Nintendo had struck a deal with Sharp to produce free-form LCD touchscreens starting in 2016. Other recent Nintendo patents have included shoulder-mounted scroll wheels for game controllers, as well as a game machine that can be bolstered by a supplemental processing unit and cloud computing.
Unfortunately, not much else is known about the Nintendo NX console or controller right now. It is quite possible that this patent is a tentative idea Nintendo had and may not relate to the Nintendo NX console. We will keep you posted with any news about the NX and its controller as information becomes available. Stay tuned for details!