Now that the dust has settled after the PR disaster that was the Joy-Con drift fiasco, Nintendo has possibly been working behind the scenes on a new Joy-Con design. As pointed out recently by Nintendo Life, the company recently filed a patent for hinged, bendable Joy-Con controllers. The patent, which you can check out here, details the specifics of the potentially upcoming controller style, along with pictures of the designs.
The patent, which is listed as publically released on September 5, was filed through the Japan Patent Office. From what can be gathered from the patent information, it would seem that the theorized controller will be able to bend while detached as well as while docked to the handheld screen itself. While it is unclear as to why the controller needs to bend as described, it could simply be to offer players the option on how to hold their Joy-Cons based on what’s most comfortable to them.
The patent could also introduce a permanent fix for the Joy-Con drift issue along with the new bendable feature. While Nintendo altered its support system to allow any consumer experiencing the drift to get their controllers fixed for free, regardless of warranty coverage, they have yet to announce that the problem has been fixed at the source. The new patent could be the company’s attempt to kill two birds with one stone: fix an ongoing problem with the original controllers, and introduce new features that incentivize both new and current Joy-Con consumers to pick up a pair should they be released.
Even though Nintendo has taken steps to patent the technology used to get the Joy-Cons to do some interesting gymnastics, it’s important to remember that, for now, it is just a patent. Should Nintendo feel that the new design is more trouble than it’s worth, or ultimately does not fit into the bigger picture for the future of the Switch, they could scrap the idea altogether. Currently, Nintendo has not announced any news regarding the future availability of the new controller.