Nintendo is definitely one of the more secretive companies in the video game industry, but it's also one of the biggest innovators when it comes to technology, too. So leave it to a small discovery to get people's tongues wagging.
One Twitter user has discovered a patent that Nintendo made made in July last year, which was then published in early January. How is that almost two months ago already!?
The patent is available here, but there isn't much to glean from the page except for a few juicy design concepts, which - to our eye - look a little bit like the top half of an N64 controller.
So, what does this suggest? Likely, not much, so don't get your hopes up. But it's always really interesting to see what ideas Nintendo wants to protect - like these hinged Joy-Cons back in 2019 that we still haven't seen. We've also already got an N64 controller for the Switch, so what else could something similar bring to the table?
What do you think of this new design? Let us know your thoughts below!
Inb4 it has a drifting problem like the joycons
It might be for gba on the switch online
I know people won't be quick to believe it, but there is a real possibility this could be a controller for the next Nintendo console.
Not a certainty, but a possibility.
There were a couple of interesting ones filed a year or so before the Switch came out that looked pretty cool - a mouse-scroll type shoulder button with digital click, and a stylus with built in rumble to provide haptic feedback. I thought both would have been nifty additions in the Switch.
What a weird patent. I read the abstract multiple times and it sounds like... any controller in existence. It has a housing (top and bottom) and a circuit inside. I don't really see what they're patenting here.
Edit: Or could it be the 'flexible substrate' that is the whole point of this patent? Maybe.
hmm...why be able to remove the facia of the controller so easily? Can't imagine they would get a patent if it was purely for decorative customisation.
@andrew20 GBA had two face buttons.
"We've also already got an N64 controller for the Switch"
Maybe you do, but the majority of us don't, with still no word on when they will be available.
Two-Handed N64 Controller
The lack of a analog stick (let alone two) is the most confusing part. There's too little for it to be a proper next gen controller, but there's too much for it to be something for Game Boy/GBA games.
...Maybe it's for Virtual Boy games?
@iLikeUrAttitude Wouldn’t that require the controller to have a stick?
As I read it, the invention is a method to reduce the chance of the battery impinging on a flexible circuit board when it swells over time, making some more compact designs possible.
Joy-Con joy stick????
Maybe it’s for underwater.. 🐠
@CharlieGirl I know people won't be quick to believe it, but there is a real possibility this could be a controller for the next Nintendo console.
Not a certainty, but a possibility.
That sounds little suspiciously probably what it is.
Did no one learn from the last time patents like these started going around for the Switch? Back when the Wii U was still a dying console? This'll probably be a concept they had, but not afinal product. Looks clunky.
We've also already got an N64 controller for the Switch, so what else could something similar bring to the table?
That was for only Online gaming but NO ZL, ZR button option. I think this is a update to that controller.
Does it look like the middle of a racing wheel to anyone else or is it just me. Anyway that looks pretty clunky.
Interesting but I can't see a Switch Pro happening this gen. Maybe we'll be playing Pokèmon at 4K resolution next gen who knows.
Nintendo didn't understand what VR was. This controller goes in front of your face and you're supposed to play with your eyelashes.
I feel like whenever someone at Nintendo has an idea for a controller, they file a patent and store the idea for later in case they use it
It’s obviously for the Atari Lynx coming to Switch Online.
Looking at the controller, it reminds me of an SNES controller, my best theory is this is some kind of plug and play thing, the top of the controller being where the actual hardware is
It looks like a snes controller, minus the start and select buttons, but we already have a snes controller on Switch
The being able to remove the top half makes me think this is about releasing one controller that can then be customized how you like. Same battery and radio but this plate makes it have buttons for n64, this one game cube, this one NES.
If anyone remember the patents that everyone thought were images of the what the Switch would look like. (before it was named switch)
(A pill shaped portable, people even made a fake video of it)
Its pretty safe to say that the shape and design in these images have nothing to do with whatever final product this could potentially turn into.
As others have mentioned, the actual documents seem very focused on the battery compartment and battery swelling, so i am pretty sure that is where the actual interesting part is hidden. The rest is just fluff or context.
This is not a design patent, so the layout shown in the diagram is not indicative of how any future controller will look. The patent is based around structure, and how to arrange the internal components to make a controller more compact
@andrew20 Too many buttons. Also largely pointless to make a controller for the GBA games on Switch.
@CharlieGirl Zero Possibility. First party isn't interested in re-adopting the upgradable controller concept of the 90's with insertable cartridges. Joycons already provide a suitable means of expanding controllers beyond original intent. There are various aspects of this controller that aren't really a step forward. Far more likely this was related to the N64 and they were considering giving life back to N64 accessories.
not sure but to me it looks like some kind of ugly VR controller
Because this looks like the top half of an N64 controller with the memory/rumble pak port included, it makes me think of a modularized controller. Does this snap onto some sort of mother body/back plane?
Very interesting! :: scratches chin ::
New console maybe, or even a Wii Classic Controller, maybe wii for NSO Expansion, idk but this looks interesting I want to see where this leads to.
Hey uh yea, so this is a scrapped design for a Pro Controller with Touch Plates instead of Joysticks. It was originally supposed to help fix the issue with JoyCon Drift but, ironically, if you used them for several hours at a time, the sensitivity of the plates would be off-centered over time and cause even more problems than there were to begin with. The Touch Plates were not included on this patent though, so there's no description about them but that's also why the center is just.. empty.
But as someone stated earlier, it has been seeing a few redesigns in-office to try to fit the dynamics of a GBA.
Looks like a downgrade controller.
Oops! Wait, I looked at all the diagrams and uh.. this one actually is the GBA design. I forgot we never actually made the patent for the Touch Pro Controller.. sorry about that. But now you have a fun fact about a design that never saw the light of day lmao
Whatever it is, it seems pointless. A controller with a d-pad, 4 face buttons and 2 shoulder buttons? That's already covered by all the default and nearly all third party controllers for the Switch.
Looks like an n64 prototype to me.
This patent seems to be related to the NSO N64 controller battery.
Nothing to see here, move along now.
Either what the article says in this being a prototype of the N64 controller, or what I believe to be just another patent for the Pokkén Controller.
Mobile phone controller for their upcoming push further into the market 🤣🤣
Because the N64 controller is so awesome, Nintendo have to patent it in pieces to prevent all the awesomeness being in just one listing.
It looks like the top of an N64 controller, minus the thumbstick and the A and B buttons.
It's for N64 on NSO. You'll have to connect your own 3 joy cons.
And what's with the sneakiness, Nintendo? Filing patents without telling me personally?
@k8sMum yep I'm really really annoyed still at how Nintendo apparently only made about 200 n64 controllers for switch, and just decided to never make and sell anymore again. They've confirmed now that they're not going to go on sale again. Confirmed it by their actions, rather than their words. I have bought 3rd party Nintendo controllers, but they're all terrible, somehow, literally all of them don't actually work. Like the retro bit one which is the highest reviewed one like this (i.e. an n64 controller that can work on every console and PC too) just doesn't work. It comes with a USB Bluetooth dongle thing which you plug into the switch's stand (I use the one that's a stand to play still in handheld mode technically, but it's plugged in and has extra USB ports, it's made by Hori, and I use it for when I'm in my bedroom cos I don't have a TV in my bedroom, I just prop up the switch on this stand and get a controller and play it that way). Well, every other controller works perfectly with that stanq2d when plugged into one of the USB ports, including a big Hori arcade stick I bought, but the retro bit one doesn't. It won't link up to the switch. And I've tried everything, every single way to turn on the controller (where you hold the start button plus a direction button, it's meant to be like one setting for switch, one setting for PC, one setting for xbox etc, but none of them work).
And this is the SECOND retro bit modern n64 controller I've bought. The first one did link up to the switch, but the buttons just didn't work. Like it'd be constantly moving right, as if the analogue stick was pointed as far right as possible, not just a tiny bit of drift. And half the buttons didn't do anything. And the ones that did work, did the wrong button press so like I'd press the A button and it'd think I was pressing the right shoulder button. It was unusable, and unfixable, and so is the new one retro bit made. I will not be buying anything from them again
So I really really need the official Nintendo n64 controller. I've been tempted to buy one off ebay but I know the second I do, Nintendo will bring them out for sale again straight away, cos of sod's law. Also, I don't want to benefit scalpers. But yeah I've wanted to play the n64 legend of Zelda games for like, what, 25 years now? Hearing all this time that they're the best games ever. Yet I can't play them even though I've been spending more each month to be able to get the n64 app to begin with. Nintendo need to come out with new n64 controllers ASAP
That is clearly the top of the n64 Controller.
I've been tempted to try one of the 3rd party controllers but the reviews just aren't very good. Your experiences are pretty typical, unfortunately.
As usual, Nintendo remains silent.
@CharlieGirl doubt it, no analogue sucks, that would be quite a step backwards 🤔
A half N64 Controller?
A, it has "housing" , so a cheap N64 Controller Adapter.
What i like about, D-Pad is parallel to the Action Buttons.
The guy says "switch pro controller".🤦🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️
If he means a pro controller for the switch, fine, but I'm sure he means a controller for the switch pro. I guess that must get so many clicks, these media personalities can't pass it up, cuz there's no way they can really believe this for this long (& at the same time make fun of political conspiracies, especially). Could anyone really believe a switch pro wouldn't have an analog stick? I realize these aren't final, but there's not even a place for one.
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