Nintendo filed a series of patents back in June that all appear to pertain to the upcoming Nintendo Switch console, and that treasure trove of technological concept documents just became available to the public. Some of the patents just go over information we already know about (such as detachable controllers and a docking unit), but there are also images that hint at a variety of unconfirmed features, including motion controls, touch screen capability, and even possible virtual reality compatibility.
Perhaps the most interesting potential feature shown off in the patents is the ability to connect to an HMD, or head-mounted display. The image (figure 60 in the gallery below) shows the portable Switch unit (sans Joy-cons) sliding into a headset, suggesting that it could be compatible with a virtual reality device in the future. This would coincided with a rumor we heard back in June which suggested that Switch was delayed from an internally planned holiday 2016 release to Q1 2017 in order to allow for virtual reality compatibility.
The patents also describe a “touch screen panel,” suggesting that the portable Switch unit will have a touch screen, as previous reports have indicated. The portable unit is also said to have an “angular velocity sensor,” which suggests rumblings we’ve heard about a gyroscope are true as well.
The patents also describe Joy-con features, including shoulder buttons, rumble motors, and an IR sensor for motion controls (as previously reported by Let’s Play Video Games). Images show two users playing together, each using two Joy-cons much as you would a Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, and they also show four players using individual Joy-cons sideways.
Nintendo Switch can be used on the go or at home, and the patents describe these two functions as separate “modes” of the console. The dock unit is shown to have a cooling fan inside it. This lines up perfectly with a recent report from Let’s Play Video Games that stated that the Switch’s CPU has a higher clock rate when docked. The fan compensates for this higher clock rate, keeping the CPU cool. This reportedly allows games to play at 1080p on a TV screen, as opposed to 720p when played on the portable unit. The patents also show that a Sleep Mode is present.
Finally, the patents also appear to show Nintendo Switch using USB-C for charging, which was also reported by Let’s Play Video Games back in October. As that reported stated, the charging port is on the bottom of the portable unit, so it won’t be able to charge while in kickstand mode.
Keep in mind that many companies often file patents that never get used, so there’s no guarantee that everything depicted in these images will be included in the finished product. That said, virtually everything these patents detail has been reported by other sources months ago, so much of it is looking pretty likely.