Nintendo Patent Shows Touchscreen Gamepad

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Tue, Dec 15 - 12:15 am EDT | 3 years ago by
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We’ve all been anxiously waiting for what the Nintendo NX is going to offer and we may finally have a huge clue. A recently published patent shows that they are planning an innovated gamepad that features a massive touchscreen. Unlike previous handhelds, this one is oval-shaped and the screen reaches the edge of the device rather than being in the center.

Aside from two small holes on either side for analog thumbsticks, it feels a lot more like a smartphone than a gaming console. The look of the device seems to be pretty intuitive so I doubt there’d be much of a learning curve among users. Of course, Nintendo has thought about this because the patent also mentions that the screen can produce a “guide image” in “help mode.”

Hopefully, they will figure out a convenient way to incorporate a menu since there have been times when that has been nightmarish (granted, I think the worst menu interface belongs to Xbox’s Kinect). I don’t want to have to do some sort of Jedi hand gesture to get back to the main screen.

Most people who have played a handheld will understand the frustration of how cumbersome hand placement can be but this patent seems intent on showing improvements while acknowledging that the thumb will naturally block part of the image whenever the user is handling the thumbsticks. It says: ”since the own thumb overlaps on the image… of the virtual space to be seen, a higher feeling of immersion can be obtained by the player.” 

Nintendo almost seems apologetic about changing certain features but stands by its reasoning. In the patent, it says: “to miniaturize a game apparatus, it is necessary to reduce the number of the operation buttons, to make a size of the operation button small, or to make a size of the display panel small. On the other hand, a game apparatus becomes large if it is intended to enlarge a size of the display panel.” 

Well, this seems to go along with the reports that Nintendo would be the first customer for Sharp’s free-form display technology.

The patent also mentions a self-contained unit that features its own card slot for game cartridges, SD cards and… SIM cards? Interesting. It’s been theorized that this thing can be used in conjunction with a console or can be used as a portable on its own.

Less than two weeks ago, current Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima, explained that the upcoming NX is “different and obviously a new experience.”  He made it clear that it won’t be an updated version of the Wii or Wii U since he feels that they need to “move away from those platforms” in order to create something “unique and different.”

I seriously can’t wait to see what they unveil. It feels like it’s taking forever. The Wii U is the first Nintendo console that I did not buy so I’m hoping that the next thing will be something I can actually enjoy.

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