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Patents are a risky source when it comes to video game product speculation. While they can provide some insight into a developer’s plans, they aren’t always a guarantee something will be made. Instead, patents often act as a relatively simple way for a company to avoid future lawsuit headaches if they ever decide to go through with production. With that in mind, Nintendo’s new patent for a handheld device may never amount to anything tangible, but it could provide some clues as to what the Japanese giant is planning.


The device, pictured above, brings to mind the prototype Wii U GamePad’s design, with circle pads instead of analogue sticks and a lack of ergonomic grips on the back. It’s the innovative shoulder buttons that set it apart, which are described as rotating and clickable, not unlike a computer mouse wheel. This means the shoulder buttons would have a degree of analog control, something Nintendo has experimented with before when designing the GameCube controller’s triggers.

Of course the question is whether or not this is a first-time look at the upcoming NX hardware or if it is simply Nintendo patenting an idea. It is almost certainly outlining a standalone handheld however, as the device is described as having internal storage and an independent processor, so it’s unlikely it would function as a streaming controller like the Wii U GamePad.


So, do you think this is a sign of things to come? Or is it simply Nintendo making sure their new shoulder button idea is secure? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.