With the run up to E3 and the nature of the internet, it's inevitable that we're going to get some fanciful Nintendo NX rumours floating around. We recently tackled some rumours which the internet got in a flap about, as there wasn't much substance to back them up. Now we've been hit by another "leak" which is a supposed image of the NX Controller prototype. Here it is (rotated, because we're nice like that):

nx.jpg

Way back in late 2014, reports emerged of Nintendo and Sharp apparently negotiating terms for the big N to use free-form screen technology on a product that'd start production in early 2016; as we now know that's potentially the period when Nintendo's new hardware will (or already has) go into manufacturing. These are LCD screens that can be manipulated and shaped courtesy of a 'bendable bezel', which also allows for shapes and gaps within the screen itself. As a potential material for a portable device, it has obvious potential.

Late last year we ran an article detailing a patent which names various Nintendo staff and researchers as the 'inventors'. As you can see below, it's an elliptical screen with two holes through which control sticks are utilised.

NX patent

So what we have here in this image (originating on Reddit) is a very literal interpretation of this patent. Interestingly, it appears from some research by Destructoid that the image doesn't appear to have been significantly Photoshopped, either. That said, whatever the screen is meant to be showing, it seems rather scruffy and random.

12064009_978081292227960_1225773436_n.jpg

Ergonomically it looks extremely uncomfortable, but let's not forget the original Wii U GamePad prototype was also rather simplistic in shape. It rather reminds us of a rear-view mirror with two analogue sticks plonked on to it. The lack of face buttons would be resolved by haptic feedback for the virtual buttons. While using the controller's analogue sticks, both sides of the screen would be covered by the gamer's hands, rendering it pretty much useless.

As it's GDC at the moment, it could be a prototype doing the rounds. The connector cable looks too chunky, but that could be consistent with a prototype too.

What has really set alarm bells ringing here at the Nintendo Life office is the fact that this prototype is an almost exact copy of the image shown in the patent - normally, patent images are rather different from the final product, largely because companies are cautious about giving too much away at an early stage. The images are usually intended to give an idea of concept the patent is protecting, rather than showing exactly what the device will look like. So in this case, it could be that some cheeky scamp has taken the patent too literally and "faked" the controller.

It's also worth remembering that not all patents come to pass, and while Nintendo and Sharp are working on something it might be a very different proposition to the one shown in the patent.

Having said all of that, stranger things have happened, and we're not 100% sure this is a fake - yet. We're certainly in the 'it's a fake' camp, but aren't fully there to the point we'd declare this to be entirely false. Let us know what you think of this image by leaving a comment below and casting your vote in our poll.

What do you think about this NX controller photo, then? (851 votes)

Looks like it could be the real deal to me

6%

Totally fake

64%

I'm not sure either way, to be honest

30%

Please login to vote in this poll.

[via destructoid.com, dualpixels.com]