Nintendo Patents a Controller Made of a Screen, Possibly for Nintendo NX

Friday, December 11th, 2015

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Nintendo Patent Image 1 - Screen Controller - Nintendo NX?


Nintendo has filed a new patent for a controller that is literally made of a screen, and could potentially be part of the Nintendo NX. The patent was submitted by five employees of Nintendo, and there is actually some circumstantial evidence that Nintendo might be planning to actually make this. For one thing, Nintendo has previously been linked to this type of technology. Last year, the Japanese news agency, Kyodo, reported that Nintendo would be the first customer of Sharp’s new Free-Form Displays. These displays are actually IGZO LCD panels that can be made into a plethora of different shapes. Mass production of these displays was reported to be planned for some time in early 2016. Nintendo also merged their console and handheld divisions nearly three years ago.

A more recent report by the Wall Street Journal said that Nintendo’s mysterious upcoming platform, the NX, might be composed of a console and a mobile device that can work independently or in tandem with the console itself. Of course, this thing wouldn’t be Nintendo’s first controller with a screen either. The 3DS is essentially a very specialized controller with two screens built into it and the ability to fold closed. And of course the Wii U Gamepad is a controller with a touch screen built into it, but it only works in tandem with the Wii U and not independently.

Nintendo Patent Image 2 - Screen Controller - Nintendo NX?


The patent for this potential Nintendo NX controller made of a screen, describes the elliptical front face of the controller as being a touch screen. The touch panel would cover the majority of the display, and might be resistive or capacitive. It has a couple of holes punched out where the analog sticks will be and some shoulder buttons on the top of the controller. The patent says the screen could be either LCD or OLED and even says that it would be possible for this controller to use the 3DS-style glasses-free 3D technology. In other words, this screen might be able to do 3D just like the screen on the 3DS can do.  There is a card slot on the top of the controller between the shoulder buttons, and it has a built-in speaker as well.

Nintendo’s new patent also lists some cool use cases for this technology. One idea is ambient fire effects around the analog sticks. Another is displaying arrows around the sticks as a guide of which direction the player should push the sticks. Of course, that would be unnecessary in most games, but could be useful in some games. Another idea mentioned is to display Japanese hiragana characters around the analog sticks to aid in text entry. While these are all gaming uses, the patent also mentions some possible non-gaming uses for this controller. It suggests the idea of displaying a web browser in the middle of the screen, with controls around the right analog stick and some smart-phone style status information around the left stick. It says all of this would rotate if you turn the controller on its side, too.



Is this controller really a part of the upcoming Nintendo NX, though? It might indeed be, but there is no guarantee. This was pointed out in the comments of the previous Nintendo Patent I reported on earlier this week, too. There is a real possibility that the things from both of these patents will find their way into the Nintendo NX, even if these aren’t specific designs that are planned for said system. Only time will tell us for sure, but I look forward to seeing what Nintendo comes up with.



About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.

  • Speed12345

    Nintendo, stop with this gimmicks controllers! We don’t need another controller with a fucking damn touch screen!

    • Pedro Rosas

      Yes we do

    • Nicholas Perry

      Gimmicks? I’d hardly say so. The Wii U Gamepad is wonderful aside from the low color accuracy and compression from the video streaming.

    • Sylveria Shini

      Im in the camp that the shape of the Wii-U controller alone makes it awful. it is one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things to hold. As it is Im playing Xenoblade X with teh pro controller and the Pad sitting on the table beside me so I can use it when it requires.

  • Raymond

    Oh thank god. I thought nintendo was going to make some boring console like Xbox one or ps 4. Out of all the consoles, nintendo is the only one who has the balls to make something out of the ordinary. At lest they make the gaming world interesting.

  • Brian Stevenson
  • ablazeofglory

    No! No screens. I want buttons. Tactile feedback is an important part of the gaming experience.

  • neptuniafan

    To me, having a controller with touch screen is really unnecessary. To this day, I still prefer actual buttons you can press rather than touching a screen because it is more responsive and quick, especially when I am playing something like a platformer.

    This controller gimmick is not a good way to showcase the NX, especially with how the WiiU is doing, so hopefully my guess for how the controller works is wrong and Nintendo may pull off something amazing, especially if it is to attract third party game companies.

  • Gemnist

    At first I had the Wii U vibe. But now it’s all PS4.

    • Gemnist

      I take it back. This thing looks amazing.

  • Mr0303

    Patents rarely mean much, but this adds some evidence to the console/handheld theory for the NX.

  • TylorW

    If the buttons are part of the touchscreen, hopefully it’s responsive enough that things such as button-mashing will still work. 😉

  • TachyonCode

    Okay, I gotta admit, if I’m interpreting the design properly, it’s pretty neat.

    I’d say that, in addition to this probably being the NX controller, their decision to release mobile games *could* incorporate the use of this device as their basis for going along with the mobile trend in the first place, if it’s a hybrid with mobile capabilities (though I doubt it will be a direct mobile phone competitor, you never know what Nintendo’s gonna do next).

  • Sylveria Shini

    Oh this looks terrible….