The team at Dawn Ellmore Employment keeps tabs on intellectual property news – It’s the best way to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing world of Intellectual Property.
Nintendo’s recent patent application, for example, shows the gaming company is moving towards smartphones. This is big news for fans of Nintendo’s gaming franchises. Traditionally, the Japanese gaming giant has kept its back catalogue firmly away from smartphones.
This is due to the company’s focus on handheld consoles. If Nintendo games are available to play on smartphones, then this could adversely affect sales of consoles. However, this patent is the biggest sign yet that Nintendo is working towards merging the traditional and the new.
The patent filing gives hope to those who one day want to play Pokemon on their smartphones. But it’s not for emulation software that would work with both iOS and Android. Nor is it for a Nintendo smartphone.
Instead, it’s for a smartphone case that will make the smartphone look like a Game Boy. The patent was filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office and illustrates a product that looks exactly like the beloved Game Boy. And while there have been loads of unofficial smartphone cases designed to look like Game Boys, Nintendo’s official version is far more interesting.
Game Boy style
At first glance it looks like a Game Boy, but further reading shows that it’s a case designed to look like one. The buttons react with the touchscreen inside, and the display would be seen through a window.
The patent describes the window as the game display, while the rest of the touchscreen would be hidden. Alternatively, the player could open the whole case and use the large screen.
Designed as a flip case, the Game Boy case is strikingly similar to older phone cases by Samsung. However, the iconic buttons sit on top of contacts on the back of the flip case. These touch the screen and register as a touch, which means you can play the game through the casing. However, this does mean that it wouldn’t work as a universal case. Nintendo would instead have to produce a custom version for each phone type.
It’s clear from the description that the window will frame the game, which will presumably be a Game Boy classic. The rest of the touchscreen display looks likely to show nothing. It will still be touch activated, but black pixels will form the blank part of the screen. As most of today’s smartphones boast an OLED display, this would mean that no power would be needed for this part of the screen.
An optional full-screen mode would have the buttons displayed on the screen. This would enable the game to be played by users who don’t have the Game Boy case.
There are no details in the application about the games that are planned for use with smartphones or this cover. It could be that Nintendo are going to cross over into emulation software for Android and Apple. However, they could choose to create standalone games and port them over to the device. This would mean they retain control over the games and don’t open it up to iOS or Android developers.
If this design ever reaches keen Nintendo fans, it could be huge. There are millions of smartphone users who would be happy to see their old favourites on their devices. Nintendo has been making other moves that show it is open to increasing the playability of its back catalogue, while cashing in on nostalgia.
For example, they now sell NES style controllers for their extremely successful Nintendo Switch portable consoles. The old school style controllers are designed to merge with a much newer way of playing games, through the Nintendo Switch online subscription model. These are on sale for £50, showing how much people are willing to pay for their favourite brand. It’s not clear whether this sort of price would also apply to the Game Boy cases.
About Dawn Ellmore Employment
Dawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.