Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

It has been 12 long years since we last heard the infamous instructions of "Lucky, Daisy, Baxter" while we sat in a completely sound-proofed room attempting to teach our dog its name in the 3DS' Nintendogs + Cats. Of course, this followed the six-year wait after the release of the original Nintendogs on the DS — a watershed moment where a huge number of us spent each day walking, cleaning and playing with the virtual pups. And now, it looks like there might be more dog content from Nintendo to come.

A recent patent, dated 17th January 2023 and originally filed for in November 2021, seems to suggest that Nintendo is working on a new way to bring the world of virtual dogs back into our homes (thanks, My Nintendo News). This time around, the technology all seems to be about augmented reality and the ability to place a virtual object (a dog, in the example given) into a real-world environment as captured through a camera.

The diagrams used in the patent all seem to depict this taking place through a smartphone, hinting that a Nintendogs mobile app might be the route that Nintendo is going down here. This would make a lot of sense. Nintendo has been dipping its toes in the pool of mobile gaming for a while now with varied success. While the attempts have slowed down slightly as of late, something like the mass appeal of Nintendogs would be a pretty safe bet for bringing people back around to the idea.

Some images from the recent patent can be found below, showing how the technology would allow the user to place the virtual pup in a real-world environment.

The mobile route does seem like the most obvious choice, it is true, but we couldn't help but notice that nowhere in this patent does it state that the technology is being made for a smart device only. No, no. Instead, the only requirement of the host device is that it has a camera. Hmmm, could we actually be looking at a design for something that would run on a camera-included Nintendo device? Perhaps a new console?? It should be noted that Nintendo (and all other companies) patent ideas and mechanics as a matter of course, whether they're used in a product that ever makes it to market or not.

Perhaps the Switch's successor will have a camera and be able to run whatever is next for Nintendogs, but if we're honest, the mobile route does seem more likely for the moment. The catch-all appeal of the Nintendogs franchise is a surefire way to kick Nintendo's mobile apps up a gear and all of the diagrams do seem to point to such a scenario. Then again, there's always a chance...

What do you make of a potential Nintendogs return? Is this for mobile only or something else with a camera? Bark your thoughts in the comments below!

[source, via]