Nintendo Patents U Shaped Controller Design

Have you ever wanted to play games with a controller shaped like a giant magnet?

Or maybe a somewhat interactive boomerang?

Well if so, it seems Nintendo has patented just the thing! Designed for an ‘exercise controller’ and incorporating gyro, load, acceleration and temperature censors, the device looks absolutely ridiculous. Here’s a picture from the patent:

patent wtf

And heck, another one for the sake of it:

weird controller 2

As you can see, it looks hilariously silly. It’s an ergonomic nightmare (good luck holding that thing comfortably), it’s probably too big to carry easily and heck, good luck finding a place to stash it once you’re done. And dear god, if the Wii inspired toilet humour type jokes, then this thing would inspire ten times more. Heck, the whole design looks like a toilet lid.

Xbox Wheel Controller

Above: It also looks like this Xbox 360 wheel controller. Perhaps a bit too much like it really.

Still, on a brighter note, this is very unlikely to have anything to do with the Nintendo NX. The patent was first filed in Japan on October 16th 2014, with an international filing on September 18th 2015. It was titled ‘Training Implement, Training System, and Input Device’, a name which could refer to just about anything. It could als have had something to do with the Wii U, given that the entire controller is well, U shaped. Perhaps it’s Wii Fit U related?

Either way, if you’ve got a bit of free time (or good Japanese skills), you can read the whole patent here:

Training Implement, Training System and Input Device – PatentScope

But what do you think about it? Does the thing look ridiculous as all hell? Is there any logical reason for a controller to be shaped like this? And what would your reaction be if this turned out to be the actual Nintendo NX controller?

Source:

Nintendo patent for U-shaped exercise controller surfaces – GoNintendo

Happy Birthday Tatsumi Kimishima!

Nintendo’s CEO is now 66 years old! Born in 1950 and working with Nintendo since 2000, he’s been Pokemon USA president, Nintendo of America president and managing director of Nintendo Co Ltd before getting his current role. Mr Kimishima’s resume is quite the impressive one, isn’t it?

Tatsumi Kimishima

Above: Tatsumi Kimishima. Presumably back when he was at Nintendo of America

So wish him a happy birthday folks. Taking the reigns from Iwata is a difficult job, and it’s even harder in todays economic climate. Being suddenly promoted to CEO while the Wii U struggles and Nintendo loses its relevance is quite the challenge! So it’s good to see he’s turning things around.

Have a happy birthday Kimishima!

Why Not to Trust Nintendo NX Rumours

Over the last few weeks or so, the gaming world has been flooded with rumours about the Nintendo NX. One said it’d be double the power of the PS4. Another said Luigi’s Mansion 3 would be released on it. And for yet others, every possible Wii U game is apparently coming to the system. Smash Bros, Splatoon, Super Mario Maker, Zelda… You name it.

But whilst the situation has gone absolutely insane, and expectations got high enough that everyone is expecting the world, here’s why you should be skeptical. Why that recent ‘remote play’ rumour about the NX should be looked at with skepticisim. Read this article:

NX – ZhugeEX Blog

Basically, that guy on NeoGAF who posted the ‘leak’ was a tad dishonest about his sources. Remember how at one point, he said the system wouldn’t get a simultaneous worldwide release?

Well, he got that from ZhugeEX on Twitter. He didn’t get it from a source he knew, he just literally assumed it was likely and posted it anyway.

That, is poor sourcing. Just taking something someone has heard off the grapevine and reposting it because ‘you had a hunch’ that it was likely does not make for an accurate source. Disappointing, this is pretty much what most Nintendo NX speculation is nowadays. Some guy said something on the internet, it must be true!

And that’s all this poster did. His entire list of ‘rumours’ is stuff random video game journalists and internet folk have told him. He didn’t get shown anything. No evidence. Just ‘I’ll take their word that it’s true’.

Unfortunately, this was apparently enough for the actual media. Guy on message board posting stuff he heard over the grapevine is now considered a trustworthy source by the media. So we get a flood of NX speculation articles created on a random assortment of rumours told to a NeoGAF member by various other journalists and internet goers. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so depressing.

Either way, let this be a lesson. When people say they have sources, that doesn’t mean reliable or new ones. It also doesn’t mean they have any proof for their claims. Be skeptical of everything Nintendo NX related till E3 comes.

Source:

NX – ZhugeEX Blog

Emily Rogers; The Recent Nintendo NX Rumour is Wrong

A couple of days ago, I mentioned a rumour about the Nintendo NX involving a remote play feature and Luigi’s Mansion 3 as an upcoming game. And while it was certainly an interesting rumour, it was certainly one I was more than a bit skeptical of. After all, how can remote play be feasible in most parts of the world? How can Nintendo lose money on console production for the second generation running? Why would they suddenly make a world changing powerhouse of a system?

Well, it seems like I’m not the only one skeptical of it. Prominent video game insider and journalist Emily Rogers was also adament that this ‘leak’ wasn’t real too. Here’s her message to a NeoGAF user about it, as posted in the ‘leak’ thread:

Here is what multiple sources close to Nintendo are telling me about 10k’s hardware rumors: The gimmick is made up. GPU is wrong. Power level is wrong.” “The specs on NX are good, but a lot of the information being shared in this thread is incorrect.

I was told that NX has good specs, but the info in this thread on the GPU and power level is just not correct. Sorry to burst everyone’s hype.

Via this post on NeoGAF

As well as GameXplain’s video commentary on the matter. Well, if you count ‘briefly paraphrasing the comment’ as ‘commentary’.

So does that make it wrong?

Well, it was makes it less likely to be right, since Ms Rogers does have some connections in the industry and media. On the other hand, no one’s perfect when it comes to this sort of thing. I mean, it’s all hearsay based on people who worked with the console or knew people that worked with it, and Rogers has been incorrect about stuff in the past. So it’s no cast iron guarantee of anything.

Just accept it as another reason to doubt that this rumour is just that. It’s not a leak, there’s no real proof for it and at the moment, more reasons to believe it’s not true than to believe it is.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (and other Nintendo NX Rumours)

Corrected point about PSP sales. That said, the point is still a valid one for the most part; handheld consoles which are designed specifically for smaller, more ‘portable’ games (and which focus on things like decent battery life) tend to outsell portable versions of home consoles with home console style games. It’s why the Game Boy never lost to any of its competitors, despite them often having better technology and home console style games.

With E3 just a couple of months away, you can’t go anywhere without coming across rumours about the system and its future games.  There’s been talk of a hybrid home console/handheld setup.  There’s been speculation that Zelda U will move to the NX.  Virtual Reality has been mentioned in the context of the Nintendo NX. Basically, if there’s any possible NX related idea you can think of, someone is claiming it’s coming to the new system.

And straight from NeoGAF, here are another few rumours about the system!  Are they true?  Are they likely?  Well, let’s find out!

Like last time, I’m using the tiered rumors where a T1 means one source told me, T2 means two, Tier 3 means 3, and Tier 4 means four or more (there are no T4 this time). I will reiterate this, I am not the source of any of this information. I am simply passing along what I heard. It should all be taken with a grain of salt and not be taken as gospel. Don’t cry and flame me if by June none of this is true.

We’re off to an ‘promising’ start folks. Apparently, the person posting these rumours has so little confidence in some of them that he classifies them as T1-T4 based on how many of his ‘sources’ say they’re true.

The names also sound like codenames for Terminator models, but hey, that’s just a random thought. So moving on…

T3 Rumors

The NX gimmick. I uh….was told not to post this part by some people. As usual, take it with a grain of salt (although I don’t know why I would be warned if it was false) I’m not under any NDA though, and well, it could end up being false. But I was told a variation of this by three different sources. I don’t believe they have a reason to lie to me. Here goes….

I have no idea if I’m right, I’m probably not, this could be fake and my sources may be lying. But hey, I’ll post it anyway!

That’s not very inspiring, is it? Then again, nor’s this part of the rumour…

The NX is going to have a screen controller (whether it’s optional or standard I don’t know) and can be used anywhere to play your home console games. The controller itself will not have any processing capabilities, it’ll essentially be a dummy vita.

So we’re going down the Wii U route here, with a GamePad controller. Somehow I doubt this, especially given how much money and time went into the controller when the Wii U was being developed. It stopped the system being as powerful as its competitors and jacked the price up really high too.

It’ll likely have basic OS functions to access the NX console from anywhere, like a tiny cpu. Nintendo will use enhanced Wii U gamepad streaming tech, and allow the controller to be taken anywhere, connect to the NX console at home (likely through Wi-fi or personal hotspots and the NX console will likely have to be in stand-by mode). Basically, it’s remote play built into the box and won’t require a $200 add-on to experience it.

And here’s where it falls apart.

Remote play for games… is not quite ready to be feasible yet. Something similar works moderately well for office work (using Teamviewer to access remote computers and do stuff on them), but games require a rock solid frame rate and the bare minimum of lag.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the world is at the moment. We have terrible internet infrastructure across much of the planet, and outside of certain areas (South Korea, Silicon Valley, buildings with dedicated fibre connections), internet speeds are not as great as they should be. Want to know why always on DRM is hated?

Because for much of the planet, it’s not feasible. Having you booted out of a game every few minutes because your connection drops off or slows down would make playing video games into complete and utter hell.

This idea would fail for the same reasons. Or heck, even more so, because if your connection to your console slows down or drops out, you are probably going to lose the game you’re playing.

Imagine trying to get through this level:

And then your internet starts lagging or you leave the coffee shop/train pulls into a tunnel.

Your poor Kongs are going to go flying into an obstacle and explode with the rocket barrel. Or worse, you’ll do what’s needed, it’ll look like you’ve bypassed the obstacle, but then have the console sync up and play the ‘life lost’ screen straight afterwards.

Put simply, internet connectivity is not good enough for a gimmick like this to work well as the main draw of a system. You might as well go one step further and have them send the instructions by post:

Above: God Dr Ashens and Guru Larry are awesome!

This is likely what Kimishima meant in his interview with Sankei (http://www.sankei.com/west/news/1601…030012-n1.html) “different way to play with a dedicated machine” and the whole “new way to experience games” mantra that’s been going around Nintendo PR.

Yes, it really is a whole new way play. Or not play, if you’re in a ‘first world’ country with great internet infrastructure.

It also opens up a few censorship questions, but more on that another time.

Speculation: Nintendo could also sell personal hotspot usb adapters to get internet anywhere and plug either directly into the controller or a wall outlet to not drain the controller battery.

I don’t get it, how would this help? You’ve got a personal hotspot, it’s called a smartphone. It still doesn’t help that much if the infrastructure is bad, and hey, if you’re on mobile data, then it most definitely is.

Note: This does not mean there will not be a handheld. This isn’t meant to be a replacement for the handheld as there will still be limitations and the controller won’t have a full OS or the capability for physical game media (discs or cartridges). The needs of a handheld won’t be fully met with this feature. It’s just a nice add-on.

Which makes complete and utter sense. A good home console and a good handheld console are incompatible ideas.

The former needs:

  1. Decent amount of power
  2. Interesting, fully featured games with deep and immersive gameplay
  3. A comfortable, well designed controller
  4. A setup which is compatible with a TV screen or monitor

    The latter needs:

  1. Good battery life
  2. Simpler, quicker games which can be played for short bursts
  3. To be small enough to fit in a pocket, handbag or rucksack
  4. A lower price tag

You can have a good home console, a good handheld console or a piece of crap that doesn’t really do either type of gaming well.

That’s why Nintendo hit it big with their Game Boys, DS and 3DS, and Sony failed miserably with the Vita. The PSP did better (around 75 million systems sold), but still not quite on the same level as the Nintendo DS and its different variations.

T2 Rumors

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is in development for NX. This rumor gained popularity awhile ago from Geno but this isn’t my source. This was a T1 to start but today I got another source to give some info on it. Two different sources have told me that it is in development for NX, and one source said it’s being developed by Next Level Games, who is big enough to do this and Federation Force at the same time.

One source said it started as a Wii U game but after the disappointing performance of the Wii U and the scheduled release date for the game being late in the console’s cycle, Nintendo decided to switch development over to NX. (basically the same situation as Zelda for Wii U, but no word on if this game will also get a Wii U version). The other source said it’s a pretty big deal (he didn’t elaborate if he meant Nintendo is making it a big deal or his workplace is). To support this, an employee stealth edited his post last year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon was a massive hit on the 3DS, selling near 5 million copies. Nintendo knows there’s an interest in the series, and a Nintendo NX game would be the perfect way to fulfil that interest. Heck, they’re already providing an arcade port of Dark Moon, that shows a certain level of confidence in the Luigi’s Mansion ‘brand’:

As for it being moved over from the Wii U… yeah, makes sense. The Wii U is on its last legs, and some very credible people say that popular games like Zelda U, Super Mario Maker and Splatoon are coming to the Nintendo NX as well, to capitalise on its likely higher level of popularity.

Either way, I think this part seems pretty plausible, though that could just be my inner Luigi’s Mansion fanboy speaking. Hopefully it has music like this:

And some of the ideas from my Luigi’s Mansion 3 article:

Luigi’s Mansion 3; What I’d Like to See – Gaming Reinvented

But back to the rumours:

T1 Rumors

The NX will use a custom Polaris-like GPU. Likely will be on a FinFET 14nm fabrication node. The source told me it’s on the same architecture with heavy customizations of course . It will contain the feature set of Polaris. It is “marginally better than the PS4” and theoretically could be “2x the power of PS4 GPU”. I asked about PS4K being rumored to have a gpu 2x as powerful as the OG PS4 and how the theoretical performance of the NX would be and was told “Theoretically it could be close to the PS4K rumored specs”. Of course, we know nothing of Polaris or the PS4K specs, but he gave that metric.

Not sure about this one to be honest. I’d love the Nintendo NX to be more powerful than the PS4, and I’m hoping it’s more powerful… I just don’t see it happening.

Why? Because that’s not how Nintendo usually does things. They don’t go for ‘power’ first and foremost, they go for technical innovation and price. A console like this seems like it’d cost quite a bit to make, and that only goes up with the ‘remote play’ gimmick mentioned earlier.

Talking of remote play, what I said about poor internet connections holds true here too. Especially when you’re streaming PS4 type games around the world and expecting them to run with minimal latency or lag.

I’m going to paraphrase here, but one comment from a source about the power of NX was that “Dev’s could port over a PS4 game easily and have power to spare. Even the most demanding ones”. My own theory is any game that dips below 30fps on PS4 will likely stay at 30fps on NX and maybe have some enhanced effects.

Would make sense given the earlier rumour, though I think estimations about the system’s ‘power’ level might be a bit optimistic at the moment.

Continue Reading…