While the Nintendo Switch, in most respects, is a fantastic handheld/TV combo console, it did require the sacrifice of a few features in order to achieve this hybrid state. One of those details, sorely missed by fans of handheld gaming, has been the D-pad.
Until now, the only real alternative on the market has been Hori’s D-pad left Joy-Con replacement – and while officially licensed and solidly-priced for its functionality, it would be nice to have more options available.
Shenzhen Jieruihong Electronics Co., Ltd. – a Chinese manufacturing company – saw this opportunity, and is headed in that direction. They recently filed a patent at the end of January in the WIPO’s Global Design Database for a set of Switch controllers. While very similar to Nintendo's original Joy-Con in appearance – including the standard red and blue colours – it very clearly shows that the left Joy-Con features a D-pad.
Although we don’t know many other details about this product yet, it will be interesting to see if it includes any features currently lacking in Hori's D-pad Joy-Con – such as motion sensing, vibration, NFC detection, IR sensor, or usability outside of handheld mode.
However, this is likely extremely wishful thinking, as the company has previously introduced several Nintendo Switch controllers under the brand name Vigrand – and they have all been relatively cheap, in both price and construction.
If these new D-pad controllers do come to market soon, it is probable that we’ll see purchasing options for them on websites like AliBaba, where Vigrand is currently selling their other controller models. Keep your eyes peeled for them.
Do you miss having a D-pad while playing the Switch? Have you tried other options currently available on the market? Would you purchase a controller not officially licensed by Nintendo? Let us know in the comments below.