Unhinged Joy-Cons and comfortable VR headsets might be making their way to the market based on Nintendo's latest patents.

Nintendo Files Patents for Flexible Joy-Con and New VR Headset

Unhinged Joy-Cons and comfortable VR headsets might be making their way to the market based on Nintendo's latest patents.

Update 9/12/19: Nintendo said that they have no comment on the status of or use for the current patents for Nintendo Switch. 

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Original story: 

Nintendo filed several patents earlier in the year that are just now being published in the public domain. One shows off a new, hinged Joy-Con design and the other is for an upgraded Switch VR headset.

The new Joy-Con patent shows a design that allows the top portion of the controllers to rotate. Why they might be movable isn’t quite clear, though the patent mentions having the first plane (the rotatable one) being moved so it isn’t parallel to the unit’s body.

It could be to improve usability and comfort since the concept figures show it’s basically a Joy-Con version of the Wii Nunchuk.

The language used in the patent suggests this design is still very much in its early days, too. For example, it mentions a few different possible configurations for how the locking portion will fit with the main body — without detaching itself — and how the hinged part could be placed to minimize discomfort.

That means it’s probably something for the distant future if it gets developed at all. However, we’ve reached out to Nintendo for comment about the design’s purpose and whether it’s something we can expect to see more about soon. We will update this article when we hear back.

The new Switch VR headset patent was actually filed in February but was just recently made public. It’s in PDF form, which defies Google Translate, but the folks at NintendoLife provided a translation of the major components.

Unlike the Labo VR set Nintendo released earlier in the year, this new device isn’t made of cardboard, and it apparently has no connection to Labo.

However, it might still be designed according to the same philosophy. Unlike other VR sets, this one still wouldn’t have a strap. It would still require the user to hold it to their face, suggesting Nintendo doesn’t want people spending too long with VR.

Yet it would also have a foam lining for increased comfort and is designed to filter out light, so even if we aren’t meant to use it for long, the experience would still be of higher quality than the existing option.

Seeing as Nintendo already has a foot in the door of the VR world — although “toe” might be more accurate — this patent probably points towards something that’ll likely make it into production at some point. Whether more games than just the current few would support VR, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.