Nintendo Switch VR Latest News & Update: Patent Filing Reveals VR Headset Accessory; Touchscreen, IR Sensor Also Found

By Jackie Villegas , Updated Dec 16, 2016 12:45 PM EST

Nintendo may be keeping some of the biggest features of the Nintendo Switch, its upcoming hybrid video game console, under wraps until next year when the company holds the first public demos of it. Recent patents reveal what looks like a virtual reality headset accessory for the device, leaving Nintendo fans to wonder if the Nintendo Switch will come with VR support.

The recently published patent filings for the Nintendo Switch indicate plans for a possible head-mounted accessory that keeps the gaming console's tablet-style display in a VR housing. NeoGAF forum member Rösti first drew attention to the diagrams and descriptions from a slew of Nintendo patent applications that were filed earlier this year with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filings were remarkable in that it was clear that the product being described was the Nintendo Switch and its detachable controllers. What's more, the patents indicate that the upcoming console may have virtual reality support, as well as a touchscreen component and an infrared image-capturing part.

If the Nintendo Switch VR turns out to be an actual feature of the upcoming hybrid gaming console, it would essentially turn the device into something similar to the Gear VR or the Daydream View. However, it is still unclear if the VR functionality indicated in the patent filings is an actual feature that Nintendo is working on and incorporating into the Nintendo Switch or if the company merely patented the technology to keep rivals from implementing the same concept.

Moreover, Ars Technica notes that the Nintendo Switch VR may not be compatible with the console's display. The outlet notes that the Nintendo Switch is said to sport a 720p display, which would be woefully inadequate for virtual reality as even the older iterations of today's VR devices had at least 800p displays.

Nintendo will unveil more details about the Nintendo Switch in January. The company says that it expects to release the hybrid video game console in March.

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