Virtual reality, touchscreen hinted at in Nintendo Switch patents

Diagrams indicate Gear VR-style accessories for forthcoming Nintendo console, as well as smartphone-style multi-touch screen

New patents filed by Nintendo have surfaced that suggest virtual reality functionality could come to the firm's upcoming Switch console.

Discovered by a user on NeoGAF, these documents from the US Patent and Trademark Office show a new device that the Switch tablet would be able to slot into, resembling a virtual reality headset. Eurogamer notes the open slot for the tablet makes the set-up very similar to mobile solutions such as the Samsung Gear VR and newly-released Google Daydream View.

As always, a patent filing is not confirmation that plans for such a device will be put into effect - and Nintendo has so far been less than enthusastic about the promise of virtual reality, with NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime describing the tech as "not fun" and "not social". However, the revealed documents do play up to rumours doing the rounds in June 2016 that Switch - then codenamed NX - had been delayed to 2017 in order to incorporate virtual reality.

Elsewhere in the patents, GamaSutra reports that questions as to whether the Switch's screen is touch-sensitive may have been answered. The filing refers to a device matching the description of the Switch with a panel capable of multi-touch input, although it also mentions the firm reserving the right to swap it with a single-touch one.

So far the only demonstrations of Nintendo Switch have been in the reveal trailer back in October and a short appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show earlier this month. The console-handheld hybrid is due for release in March 2017, with Nintendo promising more information during a worldwide reveal on January 12th.

You can check out the diagram of the virtual reality accessory below.

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Latest comments (3)

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer A year ago
How in the world would they be able to get a patent on the HMD part, there is so much prior art for it.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
@Andrew it's mostly to head off cheap knockoffs. They can use the patent to shut them down. Very likely this would be a piece of kit that's pretty cheap to make, because it's probably a lot like Gear VR. Some additional sensors and a mounting system easily replicated.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, AzoomeeA year ago
At 720p?
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