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Nintendo patent reveals new dual-screen, detachable console

Published Oct 30th, 2023 3:57PM EDT
Nintendo patent for a dual-screen, detachable device.
Image: Nintendo/WIPO

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Nintendo has been struggling to keep a lid on all the Switch 2 leaks and rumors in recent weeks. Ever since the company reportedly showed a new console to developers behind closed doors at Gamescom in August, new details about the Switch 2 have been popping up online nearly every week. Some leaks are more believable than others, but the latest is an actual patent filing from Nintendo that shows off a unique dual-screen, detachable device (via Game Rant).

According to the patent, which was filed in November 2022 and published on October 26th, the apparatus in question comprises two separate devices that “can be detachably attached to each other.” When attached, the console looks similar to a Nintendo 3DS, with two screens separated by a central hinge. Unlike the 3DS, the unnamed device also has a third display on the outside of the top shell, so the device can be operated while closed.

Another key difference is that when this “electronic apparatus” is detached, two players can take each half to play with one another, as the two devices can communicate wirelessly.

Drawing from Nintendo patent of a dual-screen, detachable device.
Drawing from Nintendo patent of a dual-screen, detachable device. Image source: Nintendo/WIPO

As fascinating as this concept is, it’s tough to see where it would fit in Nintendo’s console lineup. The Switch has been an enormous success due in large part to its hybrid nature. Switch owners can grab the console out of the dock to play on the go or slot it back in to play on a television at any time. Meanwhile, this device seems to be a dedicated handheld, more like the Game Boy, DS, and 3DS. But why would Nintendo go back to handhelds after the Switch?

One potential explanation is that Nintendo has a massive library of DS and 3DS games that are all but unplayable on any device with two displays. This patent might be an attachment that can turn the Switch or the Switch 2 into an oversized 3DS. It might also be a separate, standalone console capable of playing the entire DS and 3DS library.

And there’s a chance that whatever this is, it never sees the light of day at all.

Whatever the case, it’s fascinating to get this peek behind the scenes at Nintendo’s hardware plans. It would be a shame if thousands of DS and 3DS titles were lost to time simply because there aren’t any modern consoles that can actually play the games.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.