Nintendo may be taking a page out of Microsoft’s book with the controller design for its upcoming NX console. A new United States Patent and Trademark Office filing shows plans for a controller featuring detachable, customizable buttons, not unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller.
Thanks to a Eurogamer report in July, it’s already known that NX, which Nintendo has yet to show or detail publicly, might be some sort of home/portal hybrid console with detachable controllers. If the report turns out to be accurate, then NX’s controllers will feature a screen like the Wii U’s, but this time around the screen will allow for portable play while the controls flanking it will be detachable for home play.
Nintendo’s patent filing from yesterday indicates that the controllers may be even more modular than that. Diagrams accompanying the filing very clearly show a pair of detachable d-pads, a grouping of four detachable face buttons in the traditional diamond pattern, a second grouping of three detachable face buttons, and a trio of rather odd-looking detachable analog sticks. A more traditional analog stick is seen another diagram. The diagrams show the input devices arranged in a variety of different layouts, indicating users will have no shortage of customization options.
One example arrangement depicts two analog sticks on the left side of the controller with a third and a d-pad on the right side. Another depicts a pair of d-pads on the left and seven face buttons on the right.
The filing also shows a processing unit, storage functionality, and a game “recording medium” built right into the controller, adding credence to the idea that NX will be playable both in homes and on the go. The filing summarizes the controller as “An information processing device such as a game machine or a mobile phone is provided with an operation unit with one or more buttons, switches or the like for accepting operation by a user.”
The filing also specifically refers to the device as “a portable game machine (information processing device) which may be carried by a user.”
Continuing, it notes that the controller would contain either a central processing unit (CPU) or a micro processing unit (MPU). The CPU or MPU would be capable of playing a game stored in the controller itself. Also included in the unit would be an LCD or plasma screen and the aforementioned game recording medium in form of either a cassette, disk or card reader. This of course makes the controller itself sound an awful lot like a portable gaming device, as it was previously rumored to be.
As mentioned, though Nintendo has confirmed the NX’s existence and that it plans to release the console in March of 2017, the console holder has not shown or announced any specifics about the NX whatsoever. It’s also noteworthy that many companies file patents that they never end up developing into actual products. Even assuming the patent does depict Nintendo NX designs, it’s possible Nintendo will make any number of changes to them before launch. As such, we may or may not be looking at the eventual Nintendo NX controller here.