A new patent has been filed by Sony showing a handheld console that looks curiously similar in design to the Nintendo Switch coming in just a few weeks.

The Nintendo Switch is just weeks away from release, and there is a lot of buzz around Nintendo’s new console. The Switch, known for a long time during its development as the NX, is Nintendo’s next crack at finding success on the console market after the soft sales of the Wii U. There were rumors during that time that Nintendo was working on a hybrid console, having functionality at home and on the go, and that is indeed what Nintendo delivered with the debut of its newest console.

But Nintendo may not be the only company looking at the concept. It has been discovered that Sony filed a patent for a handheld console that is very similar to the design of the Nintendo Switch. Could Sony be researching and developing a competitor to the Nintendo Switch? Or perhaps a successor to the PlayStation Vita?

This patent image from blog.esuteru.com seems to show a handheld console, with a controller-like elements on each side of the screen that look not far off from the Switch’s Joy-Con removable controllers.

playstation patent handheld switch

While the controllers on the device, which are similar to the two sides of a DualShock 4 controller, look like they could be removable, the patent image doesn’t explicitly reveal whether they do. So there’s just as likely a possibly that such a device, in whatever state of development it may be, would not be built in this way.

Speaking of development, it’s good to remember that just because a patent is filed, it doesn’t mean the product described by a patent will be released. For example, Sony has filed many patents in the past, including one for a glove controller that has yet to see the light of day. As for this latest patent, IGN reports that it was spotted by NeoGAF user ponpo, who also notes that the patent was actually filed in 2015.

This patent is likely a result of Sony looking into a successor to the PlayStation Vita, but again, doesn’t mean Sony is looking to make an investment into the handheld market again. While the PlayStation Vita handheld has built up a dedicated fan base over its six-year lifespan, it is very much in its twilight years. Few new games are being developed for the Vita, and Sony just recently announced that PlayStation Now support would be ending on Vita, signaling that the electronics giant is ready to move on and focus on PlayStation 4 and the future.

No matter what comes of this, Nintendo is poised to launch the Switch in just a few weeks, and surely the whole industry will be watching to see how gamers react to the new console.

Nintendo Switch launches March 3.

tags: Nintendo, Sony, Switch

SCROLL FOR NEXT ARTICLE