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Is This the Secretive Nintendo NX Controller?

Nintendo Holds News Conference At Start Of E3 Gaming ConferenceNintendo Holds News Conference At Start Of E3 Gaming Conference
The struggling Wii U console.Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Nintendo has kept its plans for the future out of the spotlight, but newly surfaced images may give us a glimpse at what the company’s NX controller could look like.
A Reddit user on Wednesday published images that this person says is the controller for Nintendo’s next hardware launch, the NX. The images show what appears to be an oval-shaped, glass-faced device sporting two controller nubs on either side. It’s believed that most of the area could be used as a touchscreen. According to the Reddit user “perkele37,” who published the photos, the controller also comes with “rollers” that “feel and look pretty much identical to a mouse scroll-wheel.” The controller also supports haptic feedback, meaning when users press down on the screen, it will respond with a slight vibration.
The Next Web earlier discovered the images.

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NX is the codename Nintendo is using for its next-generation hardware. The device was announced last March and pitched as a “dedicated games platform with a brand-new concept.” Nintendo has since said that it plans to unveil details on the NX in 2016, and a report in the Wall Street Journal last year revealed the company had already started distributing software development kits to developers so they could start creating games for the platform. It was reported at the time that the NX could launch this year.

There is a lot riding on the NX. Nintendo has sold just 12.6 million units of its latest-generation console, the Wii U, since that device’s launch in 2012. Over the last year, investors have been placing their hopes in whatever NX turns out to be. They hope NX can overcome the many challenges Nintendo faces with the Wii U and reverse the company’s fortunes in the console market.
That said, it’s unclear based on what Nintendo has said so far whether the NX will even be considered a console in the traditional sense. While Nintendo has long been a console maker, the company’s talk of a “brand-new concept” suggests it may be considering an entirely new tack. At this point, there are far more rumors on NX than concrete details.

That’s precisely why the images posted to Reddit should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. It’s unknown how the person obtained the device, and it’s unclear if it’s the real thing, a concept design, or something else entirely. The original poster only said that it’s the development kit controller and may not represent the final design. The person did not note how it was obtained.
However, there is one wrinkle that could lend some credibility to the images. In December, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent that was apparently filed by Nintendo in June. The patent, called “Game Apparatus and Information Processing Apparatus,” describes a gaming device that uses both a touchscreen and dual thumbsticks to control on-screen action. The patent, published by Patent Buddy, includes sketches of a device that looks extremely similar to the one in the leaked images.

Read more: Nintendo Cuts Earnings Guidance by Half

For its part, Nintendo has remained silent on the image leak and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But that hasn’t stopped Nintendo’s legion of fans from obsessing over the images for every last clue of what NX might come with when it eventually reaches store shelves.