A Nintendo patent suggests that the company is working on a virtual reality headset for the Switch that uses the console’s portable tablet as a display.
When the Nintendo Switch was announced with a trailer, much of the excitement surrounded the fact that the console includes a tablet component, allowing people to play games on the go. However, it seems that the Nintendo Switch‘s tablet will be good for more than playing traditional home console games on the move, as the tablet may also work as part of a virtual reality gaming headset.
That’s according to a patent filed by Nintendo in June, but published this week by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The patent specifically mentions how the Nintendo Switch can be used as part of a “head mounted display” (HMD), explaining that this HMD accessory works by “inserting” the tablet component of the console into the accessory. It works similar to the Samsung’s Gear VR headset, by the looks of it.
The patent also explains that the HMD “may present images of a wide viewing angle to a user by enlarging the viewing angle of the images on the display.” This accessory “can enhance the sense of immersion for a user looking at the images” and the Switch may even perform a “conversion process” when players use the display.
Just because Nintendo filed a patent for this HMD idea doesn’t necessarily mean that a Nintendo Switch VR headset will happen, as this could just be the company protecting its intellectual property. With that said, though, company president Tatsumi Kimishima has teased Nintendo VR accessories before, so it’s not actually that far-fetched to suggest that a Switch VR set could be released, either.
Aside from a potential VR headset, the patent also makes mention of the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen. It specifically notes that “the main unit includes a touch panel on the screen of the display such that display functions as a touch screen” and that “the touch panel may sense position, pressure or other characteristics of touch. In the present embodiment, the touch panel is of a type (e.g. the capacitive type) that enables a multi-touch input.”
Again, this is unsurprising given that previous rumors suggest that the Nintendo Switch touchscreen would be multi-touch and 720p, but the patent lends those rumors further evidence. Nintendo is hosting a Switch reveal event next month, though, so fans can expect all of the console’s selling points (including this touchscreen) to be shown off in an official capacity then.
The Nintendo Switch will be available in March 2017.