Today, a bunch of Nintendo Switch patents surfaced online. While patents do not 100% confirm retail system features, information in these patents seems to back up a number of our reports about the Switch hardware. Let’s look at what they seem to show.

Switch PAtent

The patents suggest that the system is charged by a USB-C port on the bottom of the handheld (Red Port Above). As there is no other charging port on the system, the system will likely not be able to be charged while in Kickstand mode, unless the retail version of the hardware ships with a right angle USB-C adapter, or unless the port on the system can rotate in any way.

The patents also seem to show a Micro-SD slot (green) on the base of the system. This will allow for expandable memory.

VR

The patents also show a head-mounted display peripheral for the Switch. While this is not explicitly stated to be for VR, that is the natural assumption with a head mounted display. We did not hear this from any sources, but we did guess that this might be the case back at Destructoid.

Motion Rumble

The patents seem to confirm that both the system itself and the JoyCon controllers support motion control, as well as the JoyCons supporting rumble. We discussed these aspects back in August.

IR

The patents also show the existence of an IR sensor on the bottom of the right JoyCon. We reported on this several months ago.

[0168] The left controller 3 also includes a record button 37. As shown in FIG. 5, the record button 37 is provided on the primary surface of the housing 31, more specifically, in a lower right area of the primary surface. The record button 37 is a button for giving an instruction to save the image displayed on the display 12 of the main unit 2. For example, when a game image is displayed on the display 12, a user can press the record button 37 to save the game image that is displayed at the point in time when the button is pressed in a storage section of the main unit 2, for example.

Back in August, we reported that the Switch would feature a Share button on the bottom of the left JoyCon. The new Switch patents seem to confirm that it exists, referring to it as a “Record” button.

[0541] Note that as described above, in the present embodiment, the information processing device 1 can be used in a mode of use in which the images are displayed on the display 12 and a mode of use in which the images are displayed on the TV 6. Now, in the present embodiment, the information processing device 1 changes its operation mode depending on these two modes of use. That is, the information processing device 1 can operate at least in two different modes of the portable mode and the console mode. In the portable mode, some of the functions of the information processing device 1 are limited, the details of which will be described later. Note that the switching of the operation mode will be described later (see “[3-5. Changing operation mode]” and “[4-3. Mode setting process]”).

0550] The portable mode is a mode in which the information processing device 1 is used as a portable device. In the portable mode, images obtained or produced by the information processing device 1 are displayed on the display 12. Sound obtained or produced by the information processing device 1 is output from the speaker 88. In the portable mode, settings of the information processing device 1 are changed as shown in (a) and (b) below.

[0551] (a) Setting for Limiting Processing Power of Main Unit 2

[0552] In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the clock frequency range over which the CPU 81 is allowed to operate is limited. In the present embodiment, the clock frequency at which the CPU 81 is allowed to operate can be specified within a predetermined range by the program executed on the main unit 2. In the portable mode, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified by the program is limited as compared with that in the console mode. For example, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified in the console mode is X1 [Hz] or less, whereas it is limited to X2 (<X1) [Hz] in the portable mode. Note that if the main unit 2 includes a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) in addition to a CPU, the range of processing power (i.e., clock frequency) may be limited for the CPU and/or for the GPU.

[0553] In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the image rendering capacity (which can also be referred to as the image generating capacity) is limited. Specifically, in the portable mode, the resolution (in other words, the number of pixels) of images generated by the main unit 2 is lower than that in the console mode.

[0554] With the limitation (a) above, the amount of computation to be executed on the main unit 2 is limited in portable mode, and it is therefore possible to reduce the heat generation and the power consumption of the main unit 2.

The Switch patents also confirm one of our more recent reports, that the Switch achieves higher performance on the TV when Docked by altering clock speed and fan usage rather than any inherent tech within the dock.

We are still digging through the patents, which can be read in full here, but it’s greatly reassuring to see so many of our reports being evidenced by them.

Laura's gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them.

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