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Rail-Less Joy-Con Patent Causes Speculation of Nintendo Switch Pro Not Supporting Handheld Mode

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con New

A leaked patent for a new Joy-Con controller has lead to speculation that the rumored 4K supporting “Nintendo Switch Pro” will not support handheld mode.

Earlier this month, Video Games Chronicle (VGC) reported on a leaked Nintendo patent that was filed in May 2018, and internationally registered in April 2020. The patent appears to be a for a new form of Joy-Con.

The noted “characteristic features” of the new Joy-Con include “the ornamental design for a controller for computer.” Computer in this instance may still mean Nintendo Switch. The rather sparse description would also indicate specifics have not been published.

The biggest curiosity is that the Joy-Con lacked any rail. As such, it would require a purely wireless connection to work with a Nintendo Switch. The controller did not appear to have any charging ports, but we assume there will be (as going back to disposable batteries seems dubious).

VGC theorized that these detachable Joy-Cons will be used for games that require detached joy-cons (like Super Mario 3D All-Stars) and providing HD rumble or IR motion cameras to the Nintendo Switch Lite. VGC were also quick to mention the patent did not guarantee a product that would be released.

While hinted at by VGC, T3 outright theorizes in their report that the new Joy-Cons may indicate the rumored “Nintendo Switch Pro” will have dropped handheld mode, and will be a traditional home console.

While Joy-Cons are in desperate need of a re-design due to the infamous Joy-Con drift issue, the lack of a rail on this new Joy-Con would indicate other major changes.

In an earlier report we cited Tainwanese outlet The Economic Daily News (via GamesIndustry.biz). Their sources claimed the new console boasted being “interactive and has better picture quality” (translation: Google Translate).

If we assume the translation was incorrect it could be that the Nintendo Switch Pro has more ways for players to interact with games. As such, a new Joy-Con would facilitate this.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!

Image: Nintendo, WIPO Global Design Database

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Ryan Pearson

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Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.