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Nintendo Has Filed a Weird Controller Patent That Probably Is Not the NX Controller

Finally, the real Wii U.

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Surprise! With a new home console on the way, Nintendo has patented another weird controller idea. That’s pretty much expected at this point, but it also doesn’t mean that this new cartoon magnet/controller is the primary input device for the NX. Instead, it appears we may be looking at the next generation of Wii Fit.

There are a few reasons the “training implement, training system, and input device,” as it’s referred to in the patent filing (detailed by NeoGaf user Rösti), is unlikely to be the NX’s main input device. First, the patent application for the controller was only filed in August of 2015 (it was published on April 21, 2016), when the NX would’ve already been pretty far along in development—at least far enough to have had its main input method solidified long ago. Then there’s the fact that the patent images don’t show a joystick of any kind, featuring only a d-pad and some buttons.

After the debacle of the 3DS and the circle pad pro attachment to add a second stick—followed by the eventual c-stick nub on the New 3DS—and the Wii U switching from circle pads to joysticks during development, it would be pretty surprising to see the NX make the same mistake, what with its goal of fixing Nintendo’s recent struggles. Finally, the device seems fairly fitness-based, with its included “load sensor” and what appears to be an optional, resistance-based hand grip in the last of the drawings—though who knows if that’s what it actually is.

The majority of the patent is in Japanese with automated machine translation as our only way to understand it, which is less than ideal. However, it is clear that the controller features a d-pad and buttons, a load sensor that detects when the grips are being pressed towards each other or pushed apart, a gyroscope to sense motion, a temperature sensor, and an accelerometer. It also mentions up fitness-based applications specifically, references the use of a balance ball (either supplementing one or being able to replace it—it’s kind of hard to tell), and discusses some kind of portable station for interacting with the device in a suitable training area.

It also looks a whole lot like the Xbox 360 wireless speed wheel, though the applications are probably far different. Upon the cancellation of Nintendo’s sleep sensor project, the company’s new president mentioned that they were still thinking of ways to leverage the “quality of life” market, and this controller is likely a part of that strategy rather than a central piece of the next console.

(via IGN, image via World Intellectual Property Organization/Nintendo)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.