It has been discovered that Nintendo of Japan filed a patent application in the United States for a games console that includes an internal hard disk drive but, curiously, without an optical disk drive.
This had been separately filed in Japan on 20th February 2014, and then a year later in the United States on 10th February 2015. It has only been made public today, meaning that this has been the first opportunity to skim it for clues as to what it could possibly relate to.
While the patent bears some relation to the Wii U in most notably referring to “wireless communication with a wireless operation device having an operation unit, a display unit and a battery,” the device largely revolves around having been adapted in response to advances in high-speed communication.
That results in a hardware experience where “a user can enjoy playing a game using a game apparatus without purchasing a recording medium such as an optical disk.”
Support for an external hard disk drive is mentioned as well as SD memory cards, with the reasoning behind the lack of optical disk drive given that it allows for a “reduction in cost, size and the like” in comparison to a console that does have one.
It’s important to remember that a patent’s role is to protect an invention, and will allow the owner to take legal action against anyone that makes, uses, sells or imports the idea without permission.
That could mean that Nintendo are protecting an idea, rather than this directly relating to Nintendo NX – their next “dedicated game platform.”