Nintendo Files Patent for Game Console with Detachable “Computing Device”

on December 3, 2015 3:05 PM

Nintendo’s newest patent filing may drop hints on what to expect for Nintendo NX. According to a filing on the United States Patent and Trademarks Office’s (USPTO’s) webpage, Nintendo has filed an application for a “Supplemental Computing Device for Game Consoles.”

Stick with us — we will give the legal jargon and follow up with some brief analysis. As per usual, patent filings include “claims” which are original ideas looking for protection. These claims are notoriously vague in order to get a broader width for the patent to cover. This patent includes the following:

1.) A gaming system, comprising: a game console comprising one or more processors configured to locally execute a game and provide video output of the game to a display and audio output of the game to a speaker, the game console including a physical network interface and a wireless communication interface; and a supplemental computing device configured to detachably couple to the game console via the physical communication interface, the supplemental computing device comprising: one or more processors configured to provide, over the physical communication interface, processing resources to the game console to assist the game console in locally executing the game; and memory for receiving data associated with the game from the game console and storing the data for later access by the game console wherein the game console is further configured to couple, via the wireless communication interface, to another supplemental computing device, the another supplemental computing device including one or more processors to provide processing resources to the game console and memory for providing storage resources to the game console.

Next, the patent claims the following:

2.) The gaming system as recited in claim 1, wherein: the game console comprises a first game console; the supplemental computing device includes a wireless communication interface; and the one or more processors of the supplemental computing device are configured to provide, over the wireless communication interface, processing resources to a second game console for assisting the second game console in locally executing the same or a different game on the second game console, the second game console being located remotely from the first game console.

Later on, the following claim is given:

5.) The gaming system as recited in claim 1, wherein the supplemental computing device does not include a display driver, an audio driver, and a user-control interface.

Lastly, we would like to point out a bit in the 6th claim:

6.) An apparatus comprising: a housing; an interface for coupling the apparatus with a game console; one or more processors residing within the housing; and logic residing within the housing and configured to cause the one or more processors to perform acts comprising: receiving, while the apparatus is coupled to the game console via the interface and while the game console is executing a game, a first request from the game console to process first data associated with the game; processing, at least partly in response to the first request, the first data to create a result; providing the result back to the game console; receiving, while the apparatus is coupled to the game console via the interface and while the game console is executing the game, a second request from the game console to store second data associated with the game; and storing the second data at the apparatus at least partly in response to the second request.

So what does this all mean? From the looks of it, Nintendo is filing the patent for a device that will be able to attach physically and wirelessly to a game device to increase processing resources of a game or utilize cloud support. The supplemental computing device, which holds processing power and memory, could for instance be coupled physically to the game console to help run a game or a second game entirely. Additionally, the computing device could bridge games between two different consoles, local (perhaps a home console) and remote (perhaps a handheld console) and possibly stream games.

Ultimately, there is no way of knowing whether this filing refers to the upcoming Nintendo NX. However, one is safe to assume that the two may be connected. There is also the chance this could somehow refer to the Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS. Check out the patent pictures below or the source for the full information on the patent.

 /  Editor-in-Chief
Lou Contaldi is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers, specializing in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.