This may be the Nintendo NX controller (but we hope not)

Nintendo NX

The Nintendo NX doesn't have an official name, release date or prototype yet, but what it might have according to the latest patent from the Kyoto-based company, is a controller.

A NeoGaf user going by the name Disoriented posted pictures from the big N's latest patent filing with the US Patent Office that looks to be either a controller for Nintendo's new system - or, quite possibly - the system itself.

The hardware in question has two control sticks and an LED screen similar to the Wii U, but curiously drops two of the face buttons and uses scrollable wheels in lieu of the left and right shoulder buttons.

Nintendo NX

That said, trying to understand any of the patent's legaleze is harder than the jetbike level in Battletoads. Here's an excerpt:

Nintendo NX

"An example operation apparatus includes: a direction input operation section provided on a front surface of a housing of the operation apparatus and at such a position that, in a state where the operation apparatus is held with at least one hand of a user, the direction input operation section is allowed to be operated with a thumb of the hand; and a rotation operation section which is provided on a surface different from the front surface of the housing and at such a position that, in a state where the operation apparatus is held with the hand or the other hand of the user, the rotation operation section is allowed to be operated with an index finger of the hand or the other hand and which is an operation section capable of being rotationally operated."

Translation? If you're holding the controller (console?) in front of you in portrait mode, you'll be able to use your index finger to scroll the shoulder buttons to select something on the screen.

There's plenty of speculation online about what the new controller can and can't do, or whether it's linked to the NX or a separate system entirely, but the fact that Nintendo is filing patents for new hardware is a good indication of some big announcements from the company in 2016.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.