When Nintendo revealed their plans to start developing games for traditional mobile devices (i.e. phones and tablets), many fans began to speculate it could mean the end of the company’s traditional handheld line. The fear was only bolstered by the news that broke earlier this year revealing the full extent of the Nintendo 3DS’ sales woes.
Though the 3DS can still boast a fairly impressive 58.2 million units sold, the system does not have a chance of matching the success of the Nintendo DS or Game Boy Advance lines. The fact that Nintendo remained somewhat quiet on the subject of their mobile plans at a recent shareholder meeting seemed to only confirm the company’s doubts regarding the long-term prospects of this market.
However, a recent patent filing suggests that Nintendo may not be withdrawing from the handheld device market so soon.
Yes, a patent has emerged in the United States Patent and Trademark office files that seems to reveal the design of two new Nintendo handheld systems. The exact classification of the first device is noted as being a “Handheld information processing apparatus,” though the images of the system to specifically related to its display as a game screen.
It must be said, though, that this model does look remarkably like a phone in many respects. It’s a single-screen device (a departure from the dual screen of Nintendo’s recent handhelds) and that screen is touch controlled with diagram references to what seems to be a fairly standard mobile gaming layout. Furthermore, this handheld will reportedly include built-in speakers and a vibration system.
There are fewer details available about the second model, but it does appear to resemble a much more traditional handheld gaming system. It comes complete with an analog stick, directional pads and physical button inputs. The only other diagram associated with this device does suggest that the screen may include some kind of touch capabilities, though nothing in the language of the patent directly states this.
There is still some speculation that these diagrams are in reference to peripherals for Nintendo’s upcoming console (the NX), and at this time the language of the patent does seem to suggest that Nintendo may be prepared to make another entrant (or two) into their famous handheld system line.