Nintendo recently filed a patent for a dual-screen, detachable device. With the Switch 2 being Nintendo's worst-kept secret, every patent and leak that emerges raises an eyebrow from fans who are eager to get a first look at the next generation.
Reports of the Switch's successor appearing at Gamescom behind closed doors have since fueled discussion and speculation online as to what the next Nintendo console might be and when it might be released. The Switch has enjoyed more than six years being one of Nintendo's most successful pieces of hardware ever created. With eyes on this latest patent, speculation is brewing as to what exactly this strange new device could be and how it fits into Nintendo's future hardware plans. It should be noted that many Nintendo patents never become consumer products, but obviously, some do too.
The recent Nintendo patent looks an awful lot like a 3DS, but the device can be split in half. The two separate halves can communicate with each other wirelessly, allowing two gamers to play together on the same device. While connected, the two halves play together like a DS or 3DS. Interestingly enough, there is also a touchscreen on the outside of the console, which allows gamers to interact with the handheld even when it's closed.
If the device does see the light of day, it could serve to bring a ton of essential DS games to the Nintendo Switch Online library. Again, Nintendo patents aren't guarantees that these products are coming to store shelves. Big companies file patents all the time to protect their potential products. It's certainly something Nintendo is working on in some capacity, but it remains to be seen if it will ever materialize as a tangible item available for purchase.
Also interesting to note, the device appears to be a handheld-only device. With the Switch, Nintendo has combined both its handheld and home console markets given the hardware's hybrid nature. One of the few things fans know about the successor is that Nintendo is planning to use Nintendo Accounts for a smooth transition to the Switch 2. With that understanding, it seems unlikely that the Switch's follow-up will differ from the current iteration too much. Not to mention, the success of the hybrid model might be difficult for Nintendo to walk away from.
That being said, Nintendo loves to subvert expectations. Or rather, the Japanese company places great importance on innovation and typically employs out-of-the-box thinking. For that reason, it's impossible to predict what Nintendo is going to do next, making a detachable 3DS-inspired device feel as likely as anything else it could bring to market.
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