2010 Sony Patent Shows Off A Nintendo Wii U-Like Controller

Could Sony have been thinking up a Nintendo Wii U-like controller of their own at one time? This US Patent application sheds the light on what could have been, or what might be.

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The idea to share persistent gaming feedback between a television and secondary handheld device, a concept which is a sizable piece of the Wii U pie, wasn’t just Nintendo’s alone. From the bewildering forest that has no end that is our US Patent Office – I once heard about a guy who got lost in there and feed off paperclips just to survive — it seems that Sony was on to the same tech back in 2010 with a recently found patent application that unmistakeably functions like Nintendo’s own Wii U controller.

Kudos to our friends over at Games Beat for discovering this absolute patent gem, which was filed under the long-winded title of “Position-dependent Gaming, 3-D Controller, and Handheld as a Remote.” (You know, someone should really tell them about outsourcing those patent names.) Now ideally, Sony’s patent would, again, work in the exact manner as the Nintendo Wii U’s controller: for example, having a larger display show your game character etc., while a miniature screen on the controller features useful in-game items – a map, health potions, and what not.

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A demonstration with Zelda’s Link in the grips of nasty brawl between him and a giant spider, using this very same technique was shown at Nintendo’s own presser at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (Google it, you won’t be disappointed), and if my memory serves me correct, Sony execs also mentioned weeks after E3 that they themselves could pull off the exact method with the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. It goes to show you just how big the potential upside the Wii U controller and Sony’s patent has, and why both companies have such a vested interest in them.

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Barring, of course, if this patent has any real future being the next control method to the PlayStation 4. Seeing how it was filed back in 2010, and the description for the patent describes it as a “mobile device,” it could have been a wild prototype for the PlayStation Vita at one point in time. Oh, but like those Tootsie Pop commercials, “the world may never know” what exactly Sony could have been cooking up with these design docs, but they’re way interesting, for sure.

I really love the idea though of using the Vita as a controller with the above suggestion in mind. Certainly it’s possible with the memory and engine horsepower of the Vita – that baby is amazing. What’s also amazing are these 10 iPad 3 rumors, which have made me “get excite” – as they say – for Apple’s next iteration of the popular tablet, and the awesome Simpsons Arcade Game finally being released on February 7 for both PSN & XBLA.