Might Nintendo be working on a new handheld? It’s possible. The Big N filed a patent in October of last year for a brand new system that would have a strange mechanic: swappable buttons. Basically, think about a 3DS, but then imagine four slots where the analog disc, d-pad, face buttons and power buttons are. These slots would allow you to slide buttons, d-pads, analog discs, touch pads and more in and out of the peripheral as you like.
This would allow you to have different controls for different games. For example, say that you are playing a first person shooter. You would slide out the face buttons on the right side for a second analog stick, and play it dual stick style, using the shoulder buttons as triggers. Miscellaneous buttons could be slotted in below each stick. Then say you get tired of the shooter and go on to play a fighting game. You can swap out the normal 4 face buttons for a 3 by 3 design and the analog stick for a d-pad, making it easy to perform special moves. Then, say you want to play a platformer. You can slot out the six button format for a Gamecube like arrangement, with the jump button in the middle and miscellaneous buttons surrounding it.
That being said, just because Nintendo filed a patent for this device, does not mean that they are making it. Many times patents are filed simply to prevent other people from ever pursuing the idea. Then again, it’s possible that Nintendo will be showing new hardware at E3 this year, and if this is it, it would certainly blow everyone’s mind.
Senior Contributing Writer