There have been quite a number of patents from Nintendo in the past couple of years that have prompted conversations around the form of the company's 'next generation' hardware. Though attention often shifts to potential controllers and similar examples, one of the company's most intriguing patent applications seems to be a mere formality away from being confirmed.
The patent for a 'Supplemental Computing Device' has, after amendments as demanded by the patent office, been issued with a Notice of Allowance. This basically means that completion of some simple forms and the payment of a fee should see the patent pass, and therefore belong to Nintendo and its creator, Joe Bentdahl.
To summarise the core concept, it allows for an extra device to provide extra resources to a gaming system through two means - through on-board hardware and through utilising resources in the Cloud. In theory such devices could be made available to boost a system as it ages, for example, to give it extra power rather than replace a console outright.
Though the on-board processing power of such a device would naturally be a factor, the emphasis of Cloud computing is interesting, especially as it's an area that companies have sometimes struggled to implement effectively. The application proposes a process where your system could, in theory, use the Cloud resources of other users to help the device - and related console - perform better. On the flipside you can allow your connection to support others, and the application even highlighted what could be interpreted as My Nintendo rewards for allowing your Cloud resources to be used.
If it comes together it could be a significant idea, especially in this age of improved home broadband connections and the constant race to keep up with technology. The patent was originally submitted back in June 2014, too, so it's been a long time coming for Nintendo to secure it fully.
Whether this is part of the prospective NX is debatable, of course, but as a concept it could certainly be part of the future.