While the latest revision of the 3DS is just on the verge of release in most regions, console manufacturers always have to be a few steps ahead of the game to keep their systems timely. We don't have a timescale for when we'll see Nintendo release their next piece of hardware — but the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show has given us our best glimpse yet of its rumored 'free-form' display.
Produced by Sharp, these displays don't need to be a traditional rectangular shape. The prototypes on show at CES use this unique attribute to replace in-car readouts, with screens that can fit in with the irregular shapes and sizes of a car dashboard. Of course, that's just one of a host of possible uses — and who knows what Nintendo has planned for the tech.
The obvious answer would be the successor to the 3DS. Ever since the launch of the DS back in 2004, Nintendo used the handheld market to experiment with different screen types; the DS sparked the trend of touch screens in gaming, and the 3DS attempted to take advantage of the boom in 3D movies with a screen that doesn't require the use of glasses for its stereoscopic effect.
If Nintendo is planning to continue their strategy of building its handheld hardware around a unique type of screen and attempting to push the market forward, Sharp's new tech seems is an interesting avenue to explore. However, their use of 3D for the 3DS hasn't provided anywhere near the amount of gameplay functionality that touch screens added with the original DS and it was even abandoned entirely with the 2DS console.
It's perhaps more likely that these atypical displays might be part of Nintendo's often-referenced quality of life project, which has been touted as a response to the slumping Japanese video game market. It's easy see how unusually shaped screens could fit into one of these projects given the limitless potential — even if it's not quite as tantalizing for fans as the prospect of a new gaming console taking advantage of the technology.
A persistent rumor suggests that, whatever the final product Nintendo is working towards, the screen that they're interested in is doughnut-shaped. It's difficult to imagine just what purpose this would serve — and, indeed, what they're planning to put in the middle of the doughtnut. Game Rant will keep you posted on any developments on Nintendo's next hardware release as and when they arise.