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Nintendo Switch 2 could get this radical new controller design

Nintendo Switch 2
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch 2 might use a completely new kind of Joy-Con controller, if a recent Nintendo patent is any indication.

A patent filed by Nintendo back in 2018 but recently granted by the USPTO, has some illustrations of a new controller design that suggests that there's no plans for the Switch 2 to have a handheld mode.

The patent, which bears the unexciting title of "Controller for computer," is a lot more interesting when you look at the images. They show the unmistakable shape of the Switch's Joy-Con, but without the side rails that allow them to connect to the sides of the console's central display unit. There's no new discussion of components or technology though; it's purely a patent on the design.

(Image credit: USPTO)

Last year saw the release of the Nintendo Switch Lite, a cheaper handheld-only version of the Switch. It would give the Switch line-up a pleasing symmetry if Nintendo introduced a docked-only version that offered additional functionality and more power over the standard model.

We're apparently due a Nintendo Switch 2 (or Switch Pro) in early 2021 according to a recent report. This alleged console will be capable of 4K image output and may be accompanied by a big batch of currently unannounced first-party games.

Although 4K is a huge improvement on the 1080p max output of the Switch (only available when docked), don't expect a new Switch to be on par with the upcoming Xbox Series X or PS5 when it comes to graphics. Both of those consoles will support features such as a max resolution of 8K, 120 fps gaming and instant load times. But that power gap hasn't stopped the current Switch from being the hottest-selling console of the year, so expect the Nintendo Switch 2 to follow a similar path.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.