Nintendo’s Recent Patent Reveals the Future of VR and AR

We all know how the big gaming companies have started venturing into the virtual reality route. Though it is explored only a little compared to normal games, we know the basics of how it can work. It has become a race at this point, and our team at TopTierList found Nintendo’s patent from last month that shows a setup where the console will work with both the VR headset and a smartphone.

This may sound a bit absurd if you know how compatibility between those devices works. Still, Nintendo has found a way to integrate it into gaming for a whole new immersive experience. This was originally posted on Reddit by user followmeinblue, who summarized the whole thing nicely, and we are here to share that with you.

Nintendo Patent
Image From Nintendo’s Patent.

Major Points

  • Nintendo filed a patent last month that went unnoticed, but it depicts a setup where the console will receive input from a smartphone and VR headset together.
  • This works by using both virtual reality and augmented reality and offers a new immersive experience.
  • Although there is a possibility this patent hints at a new VR headset as well, it is unclear, so we shouldn’t be too optimistic about that.

The patent was filed on the 15th of November, and while it went unnoticed, the Reddit post has brought it to our attention. The image in the patent is somewhat complicated but allow us to paint you a picture. There are two people playing VR chess. The first person uses a VR headset, while the other has a smartphone.

The VR headset allows user 1 to interact with the virtual chessboard as it should. On the other hand, user 2 joins the game with his smartphone’s camera, which uses augmented reality functionality, similar to Nintendo 3DS. 

There will be a card that the camera uses as a position tracker, so user two can seamlessly enjoy an augmented reality chessboard in the 3D space with another user who is experiencing the same thing on a VR headset.

Nintendo Augmented Reality
Simplified Image Explaining Nintendo’s Patent.

That’s not all; we can even have an observer who will watch the game on a television screen to which the console is connected. The image perfectly depicts this; many thanks to followmeinblue. But note that this scenario can be applied to even two players on VR headsets while the 3rd plays on a smartphone. Also, the secondary display does not need to be a smartphone; it can be a TV or any other compatible device.

This also raises the question, is Nintendo developing a VR headset to go with this? Since such a setup can be a good selling point for that VR headset. However, the headset in the patent is standalone and connects with the console. There is no depiction of the headset where the Switch tablet slots into the headset.

The headset shows four cameras, with left and right RGB and infrared cameras. The headset, along with the controller, uses the inside-out tracking system. This system basically uses two infrared cameras to track your movements.

But here is something interesting, the current Nintendo Switch has no such capabilities. It cannot output an image to a VR headset; it simply has no processing power to do so. Not to mention, we are talking about two VR headsets and a smartphone, all of which send input to the console.

In short, this is the first we have seen such a concept of seamless communication between multiple devices/users in this way. It even expands the border of what we consider compatible. Though the concept here seems simple, it’s possible this hasn’t been done before because it requires a console with heavy processing power.

This is possibly what the next-gen will be about, and we are all in for it. It looks exciting and can be a great thing for gamers who enjoy different mediums for playing. Do you think Nintendo will go further with this setup and bring it forward in their next-gen? Share your thoughts with us below, and we will get back to you!

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