News Article

Nintendo Patents 'Ornamental Design' for 3DS Circle Pad

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It's so pretty

One of the first things we noticed when Satoru Iwata stood on stage at E3 2010 with a 3DS was the Circle Pad. Some called it a slider pad, others opted for analogue stick: whatever name you chose, it ultimately meant that Nintendo was giving us analogue control in its shiny new handheld. It's since given us the Circle Pad Pro to provide dual analogue controls, though its questionable appearance means it's not exactly a design flaunted with pride.

It seems that the standard Circle Pad may be due for a makeover, however, as Nintendo has just been granted a US patent, lasting 14 years, for the 'ornament design for an operating knob for portable electronic computer'. The accompanying images show a 3DS with a Circle Pad that seems to resemble the design of a GameCube analogue stick. For those who complain of their sweaty thumbs slipping off the current design, this could be the answer to those woes.

The patent and its drawings do specify 3DS, or portable electronic computer, so that may exclude the use of this design on the Wii U controller. For those suspicious that Nintendo's remodel of the 3DS is already on the way this will aid their cause — the patent was filed 6th December 2011 — though the images do show a system with a single Circle Pad, not the dual analogue controls that many anticipate.

So, what do you think of the design? Is it an improvement on the original?

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User Comments (41)

BenAV

#1

BenAV said:

Interesting.
I quite like the Circle Pad, but my fingers do slide off them a bit at times when I play for ages and my thumb gets a bit sweaty so that could be cool.
I guess we'll see it in the next design, which I'm hoping will be the same size as the current system with a lot of improvements.
If that's the case, then day one buy.
No 3DS XL, please! D:
Also, wouldn't be too surprised if we saw something like this on the Wii U controller, it would make a lot of sense.

Kaine_Morrison

#2

Kaine_Morrison said:

This is only part of the redesign.
They have to do this in stages to properly show all the new enhancements.
Next up will be:
1 - R1, R2, L1, L2.
2 - XL screens
3 - Secondary Circle Pad
4 - New Microphone Placement
5 - Enhanced Hinges

Not in this particular order though.

Knux

#3

Knux said:

It's possible that this was just one of their earlier concepts of the 3DS, because it would be hilarious if Nintendo was already planning a 3DS redesign even before the original model launched.

But I would certainly go for that kind of analog stick, since the GCN controller's analog stick was superb.

AddADashOfSalt

#4

AddADashOfSalt said:

In its current form, the Circle Pad is fine.
However, if they make a new one, redesign, whatever, ok. I'm sure they have a reason behind it.

James

#5

James said:

I expect a snap-on attachment to be revealed at E3. It'll retail for $20 and GameStop will never have it in stock.

Kinioka

#8

Kinioka said:

That would implie some changes in the upper screen, to be able to close the 3DS in a comfortable way. It doesn't make any difference, tbh.

Kirk

#9

Kirk said:

Is there any reason at all to think this isn't just for the current circle pad but simply with images that are a tiny bit different from the final design seen on the 3DS?

Linkstrikesback

#11

Linkstrikesback said:

I retract any previous comments I have about what I wanted most in a redesign.

What I want most is the power button moved because when I'm playing Kid Icarus uprising (or any game where I have to use the stylus for a long period) my ring finger relaxes and sometimes finds it way to sitting on top of the power button.... where the game promptly quits.

Curse my comfortable position :(

James

#13

James said:

@Kirk The patent specifically pertains to the Circle Pad's "ornamental design" , but of course it's possible Nintendo patented this before launch and simply decided on another design. We may never know! Looks nice though.

Kyloctopus

#14

Kyloctopus said:

I've seen these stuff at EB Games called "Grip Pads" for your 3DS. You stick the them on to your circle pad, and it gives some extra grip.
I think I'll buy those.

Gustoff

#15

Gustoff said:

I for one am enjoying the circle pad and even the circle pad pro. I don't think i'd want the little snub sticking out. I do hope the redesign has both circle pads embedded into the system though. Not complaining about the circle pad pro, just saying. If only the circle pad pro were compatible with all games already released for the 3DS, i wouldn't even take it off the system. Unfortunately, i have to keep swapping when going from RE:Revelation/MGS3D to MK7/NFS:TheRun.

DarkKirby

#16

DarkKirby said:

Okay Nintendo now patent a 3DS with the Circle Pad Pro built into it... as well as a dedicated screenshot button, and enough processing power so games won't ever lag in 3D mode.

MadScientistMan

#17

MadScientistMan said:

Ugh. I hate the look of that joystick (I've never used a gamecube controller, apart from an unofficial one form Game, which I doubt is much different) it looks so uncomfortable, for now I'm fine with my Circle Pad.

Mandoble

#18

Mandoble said:

Ornamental or a fix for the failed one? Might be it works for small thumbs but mine slides out most of the time.

Ducutzu

#19

Ducutzu said:

I personally do not need two circle pads on my 3DS. The console is fine as it is now.

SkywardLink98

#20

SkywardLink98 said:

My Circle Pad already rubs the top screen leaving circular marks on the top screen (not scratches though) so one that is raised instead of indented at the cent would seem like a bad idea to me.

Zergling

#21

Zergling said:

Call me crazy..I have 3ds and I am looking at getting a Dsi XL when the price drops so I can have more comfort for my eyes and hands when playing my DS games. Also it may help when playing a game like metroid prime hunters or Moon as I can sit the Dsi XL on a table to play.

I wish the current 3ds was a little larger. I know that it takes away from the portability aspect of a portable but the current 3DS model is a little too small.

GamerZack7

#23

GamerZack7 said:

First came the Game Boy Advance SP, then the Nintendo DSi XL. Ladies, gentlemen and everybody else, meet the Nintendo 3DS DX! :3

MeloMan

#24

MeloMan said:

And the first 3DS revision, due after the Wii U launches, proves to be well on the way. Complete will a better gripping Circle pad, 2 Circle pads in fact, a 3DS screen with a better viewing angle "sweet spot", a larger touch screen, and... and... A bigger battery life. I give you the 3DSPRO :)

TheN64Dude

#25

TheN64Dude said:

The only things missing on Nintendo 3DS are 2 Circle Pads (preferablt one under the 4 buttons), 3G communication (So I can play online at school or at a restaraunt), and voice chat (So we can talk with friends while we play). Other than that it's PERFECT. Even how it is now the 3DS is the best thing I ever held in my hands. :D

sinalefa

#26

sinalefa said:

It would be nice to have some extra grip for those demanding games that make us sweat and lose control. Although the "ornamental" description implies it is just for looks, and not something that will improve performance.

Powerglove

#27

Powerglove said:

Although this is nice, I don't know why people complain about the 3DS's slider pad. I thought it was fine.

Lalivero

#28

Lalivero said:

I can't really say that I've had a problem with the Circle Pad either, although a better grip I'm not going to argue with.

Henmii

#29

Henmii said:

So it's a circle-pad with a rim! Well I think my circle-pad is okay, though I prefer a real analogue stick!!

luminalace

#30

luminalace said:

I don't mind the circle pad at all and it is designed quite well, but give me a real analogue stick over a Circle Pad any day!

thefabfour64

#31

thefabfour64 said:

The more and more circle pad pro compatible games are released, the more and more the 3DS design becomes a 3DS design oversight. The second iteration of the 3DS NEEDS a second circle pad.

BulbasaurusRex

#32

BulbasaurusRex said:

Just don't make it where the plastic eventually rubs offs through heavy use like on the official GameCube controllers.

Ren

#33

Ren said:

I can live without it if that's the main redesign for it. but if that also means an xl version (since it's already slightly large, I'd prefer to just have the big screen)
with better battery life, and higher res cameras. That I'd shell out for now. Theres no excuse for cameras that are that bad, when 3d is it's big selling point. 3 mpix would be plenty and still cheap enough.

hendie001

#34

hendie001 said:

@James i have been trying to find the circle pad pro since the day it came out. I ask at game stores and no one knows what im talking about : <

James

#35

James said:

@hendie001 I know GameStop was supposed to have a new shipment in recently but it kept getting delayed. Hope you find one soon!

Gustoff

#36

Gustoff said:

@hendie001
I too had to wait a long time to finally find one at Gamestop. They finally told me to come back on a Tuesday as that is when their shipments came in. So i went the following Tuesday and they said they had only received three CPP's and only had one left, which is the one i bought. :) Keep your hopes up, you'll find one eventually.

Shworange

#37

Shworange said:

Wow! Complete with moisture wicking properties. The grooves channels thumb sweat away from the control stick via "sweat channels". The sweat the. Pools and collects in a built in resiovoir to be empied at appropriate times. ;)

hydeks

#38

hydeks said:

You guys are having trouble finding circle pad pro at your local gamestop? Wow...kinda happy now how easy it was for me to get one...but the funny thing is, I have it, but I barely have to use it yet :P

At my local GameStop, they have quite a bit of circle pad pro's, maybe it's just a europe thing?

As for the design, I like the 3DS the way it is, but when Nintendo announces a new re-design (probably next year E3) and if it has double joysticks, AND DOESN'T LEAVE A MARK IN MY TOP SCREEN THANKS TO MY BUTTOM SCREEN screams inside his alil at that fact than ya, I'm definitely gonna get it, but as a buy-able lil add-on, no thanks. I have no problems with the circle pad :P

Nin-freak

#39

Nin-freak said:

Looks pointless to be honest. It might be fine, but nobody hates the circle pad THAT much, do they?

grimbldoo

#40

grimbldoo said:

Add a second one on the right side and I will buy it. Otherwise I'll just add sandpaper to mine and a little cloth over my thumb.

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