Nintendo has filed a patent for an exciting video game system with multiple, disconnected touchscreens, wirelessly linked to form a single interface. The U.S. patent application, published on April 12, was first discovered by Digital Trends.
The patent describes a “game system . . . provided with a plurality of information processing apparatuses that are capable of communicating with each other.” Basically, this means the patent is for wirelessly-linked screens use for gameplay.
Illustrations show switch-like displays
The patent is illustrated with images that show its "plurality of display units in combination with a high degree of freedom." The touchscreen systems in their illustrated form look a lot like the Nintendo Switch without the Joy-Cons.
The patent shows the screens in a variety of combinations with each other and how they calibrate their displays to show a unified game screen.
No limit on connected displays
The patent doesn’t limit the number of screens in the system and details how each system would include specific processing instructions and beacon hardware to daisy chain along with compatible siblings. Nintendo offers a glimpse into how this exciting development might work in real life.
The displays could be synchronized by a single smooth swipe across their screens to define the paired systems' specific orientation. But this wouldn’t work for screens not touching, so the patent also describes a real-time system that wirelessly transmits coordinates and calculates vectors.
In the patent illustrations the user is shown operating the system with their finger, however, the language of the patent also offers another possibility. It mentions possible camera-and-microphone addition for input as well as a possible operation by "an external apparatus."
Nintendo Labo launches this month
News of the patent comes just before Nintendo launches Nintendo Labo on April 20 in the U.S. and April 27 in Europe. Labo is described by Nintendo as a “new interactive experience” for Nintendo Switch. Labo is a “new line of interactive build-and-play experiences that combine DIY creations with the magic of Nintendo Switch.”
Essentially the Labo lets Nintendo Switch owners buy, then build cardboard models of real-world items like pains and motorbike handle. The Nintendo Switch screen and its Joy-Con controllers are then fitted to the model which allows the user to play games themed to the object.
Videos for the Labo and its related "Toy-Con Garage" concept show two Switches and two Joy-Cons talking to each other for a multi-screen mini-games. So Nintendo is clearly excited to move its gameplay in that direction.
New patent may take years of development
Any more details of the April 12 patent are unknown and it's unclear if Nintendo intends to actually produce a system based on the patent or if parts of the system could already be used with the existing Switch.