Details have emerged surrounding a patent application submitted by Nintendo and Game Freak, the developer of the Pokémon series. The application appears to be for an interactive kind of trading card design, which seems to be able to communicate with the Switch and change appearance based on in-game activity.
Described as a "non-limiting example game apparatus", and "information processing apparatus" in other cases, the card is set to include a display screen consisting of a character image which is placed on top of a composite image. The composite image (which essentially sounds like the background layer behind the character's image) can change its colour, background, and pattern.
The most interesting part of this, however, is that these parameters can change "according to an attitude of the game apparatus". Of course, the exact meaning behind this in unclear, but this seems to suggest that your actions on Switch will affect the image on your trading card; perhaps the Switch's motion controls can sync up with the card's background design, or maybe the card can change appearance based on the outcome of in-game battles, with your character's image changing depending on their current health level.
In case you're in any doubt that this application has anything to do with Pokémon, some terminology used later in the application should put your mind at ease.
The player can capture (collect) the character of the wild monster by operating the player character... Furthermore, the player can train (raise) the fellow character and raise its level… The fellow character may evolve (deform) in some cases.
It's also interesting to note that, while we suspect this technology is intended for use with Pokémon on Switch, the application makes it clear that it could also be used elsewhere. It describes the application's main apparatus as "a portable information processing apparatus", with mentions of buttons, gyro sensors, and a touchscreen, but then says that "it is not necessary to be limited to a game dedicated machine”, going on to specifically suggest the use of smart phones.
While it is possible that we'll never see this technology ever be released - many patents never go any further than their initial applications - it would appear that Nintendo and Game Freak have some pretty big ideas for ways to move Pokémon forward. Could this be the start of a Pokémon amiibo card collection? Could this be a device that can interact with Pokémon on Switch and Pokémon GO, combining the ideas and mechanics of both games?
Make sure to let us know your wild thoughts and dreams in the comments below.