Rumoured NX Photos Show A Controller Without Buttons

Rumoured NX Photos Show A Controller Without Buttons
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A series of new photos, posted two different places and purporting to show the controller for Nintendo’s next console, reveal a controller without buttons, one that’s shaped like a football.

I should be clear up-front: We have no idea whether these are the real deal. But the newest pictures, posted on Reddit today by a user named perkele37, are compelling enough to be worth sharing. “To clarify,” he writes, “this is the controller unit for the console. Dev-kit, so it’s not the final design, obviously.” He adds that the controller has “haptic feedback” and a bottom headphone jack.

It kind of looks like an early version of the Vita. Or Stewie Griffin’s head.

These photos sure look like another rumoured shot, purportedly the same controller, that was posted by a video game website called Dual Pixels last week. The colouring is different, but the basic shape — and lack of buttons — is similar to today’s shots:

When reached for comment by Kotaku, Nintendo said, “We have nothing to announce on this topic.” The company is expected to announce its next console, which is code-named NX, during or before E3 this June.

If this is indeed real, it raises more questions than answers. It’s long been speculated that NX will be a hybrid device that somehow blends a home console with a portable: is this controller the portable? Just part of the main console? An accessory for playing football? We’ll find out in the coming months.


  • I suppose at least they’ve made the analogue sticks physical.
    Touch screen buttons aren’t too bad, but when it’s a touch screen analogue stick…

    Also, lol at the confidential property sticker.

    • The source of this leak described them as sliding like the Circle Pad on the 3DS, rather than being actual analog sticks.

      • I’m wondering how that works. I mean, looking at the pictures, the domed surface of each stick seems to join to the circular band around it, so it doesn’t seem like it would roll underneath like a GCN c-stick. But then the whole thing sits flush with the glossy surface, so it can’t slide across it like a circle pad. Unless maybe the “stick” parts aren’t attached to the dome, you can’t really see that edge properly, so maybe the slide over the top of that. Though that seems like it wouldn’t leave much room to move without having a pretty narrow stalk inside (leaving it a bit on the delicate side?), or a large hole underneath.

        Also is it just me or does the protrusion on top seem to be a different shape and size on the white unit?

    • Touch screen buttons ONLY, yeah nah. Imagine shoving some thumbsticks on your ipad and trying to play a console game with touch buttons, would be so crap.

      If this is real then it must be one component of a larger ecosystem…. kind of like just looking at a Wii Nunchuck and assuming the whole console is based on that. They will surely have normal controllers.

      • I wouldn’t count on it. Nintendo may be betting big on Mobile this time around, so expect to see a “pro controller” that can be used on the home console. This will be like using the Vita as a PS4 controller (except with no buttons).

        • It “could” be the main controller, but there’s no way they can have a console without physical input buttons. So if this is the main controller then maybe a lot of the experience is casual or navigating, then when you fire up a game you’re expected to switch controllers or use an attachment.

          Thinking about it now, this thing could dock into a larger controller for gaming…. that kind of makes more sense. So you can get by fine with something small and sleek for navigation and basic games / fully fledged mobile/portable experience…. but then when you’re at home with the console you smack it into something bigger for a game, that’s actually cool.

          • It looks like it could dock onto something, particularly given its narrow width. Seems quite uncomfortable for extended sessions. You’d be holding it between thumbs and fingers – no palm action involved (unless your hands are tiny).

            I’m leaning towards this being the pack-in controller, but it could equally be the console itself. Let’s think about Nintendo doing something like Ouya: under-powered, Android-based and connected to your TV via HDMI. You’d just need a ‘pro controller’ to sync with it at home. Then you unplug the console and take it with you on your commute.

            There may be a processing/docking box somewhat like PSVR has, in order to offload some of the tasks and boost the console’s power, but Nintendo has not been afraid of under-powered consoles, at least in the last couple of generations.

          • It wouldn’t be “the” console, it would be “the portable” portion of the console.

            So the theory is, you’re at home with the full package. This thing has processing/screen/thumbsticks/rumble. It connects to a proper processing unit which is connected to the TV. You can navigate the home console, do basic browsing, play some novelty games but then also dock this into something else for fully fledged games requiring buttons (or there could just be a pro controller, same same really).

            But then you also take this thing with you away from home which it will act as save games, mobile experiences for NX titles, probably some streetpass style connectivity etc etc.

            It’s a lot of stuff packed into it, but this kind of setup makes sense.

          • Yep, I was thinking that my theory is conceptually similar to the dreamcast VMU setup.
            Main difference is that the removable portion wouldnt just be a cartridge with a screen, would be more like a DS or mid to low powered smart phone.

            If this is what happens, the irony of Nintendo doing something similar to what the Dreamcast is awesome 🙂

  • Just looking at the controller it has me not interested. Actual console tech better be impressive.

    • Yeah, if this is the controller it’s going to have to be something amazing to even get my interest, especially after the immense amount of regret I have over my Wii U purchase.

      • I was the same with the Wii U till I purchased Xenoblade Chronicles. Made the Wii U purchase worth it imo.

        • I was a big fan of Xenoblade, got my Wii U primarily for X but found it to be a massive disappointment coming off the first game. Threw away a lot of the elements I liked and doubled down on the parts I wasn’t as keen on.

      • Man, I have practically every Nintendo there is and I’m getting all sorts of do-not-want about this.

        If it is real it’ll have to be god damn incredible.

    • I’m the other way. What are those crazy guys cooking up? I am very intrigued. Nintendo may be many things but they are not completely stupid when designing a console that is supposed to last for many years. I can’t wait to hear more details.

      • Well if these rumours are true they didn’t do a very good job at designing a console that would last for years last time.

          • I just thought it was odd to say considering out of the big 3 Nintendo has the shortest console generations so the hardware that is relevant for the shortest amount of time.

            The Xbox went from 2005 to 2013 which was 8 years and the Wii U will have barely managed 5.

  • The colouring is different, but the basic shape — and lack of buttons — is similar to today’s shots:

    Actually, that one doesn’t just look like different colouring to me, it looks like it’s a screen displaying something. Circle pads in the middle of a screen? Odd.

    • Maybe he just meant one is a white unit and today’s one is a black unit. Very interested in how it will work.

  • There must be some serious haptic motor work going on under that screen (probably similar to the current MacBook Touchpad) to provide physical feedback for whatever the onscreen button config is.

  • I like it. If it is the real thing I can’t wait to try it out.
    If it is a hyrid console I’m expecting a pokemon launch title too Nintendo.

  • This looks exactly like the patent they filed ages ago:
    … But nothing ever looks exactly like the patents, and this rings alarm bells in my head.

    But a touch screen with fancy haptic feedback like the Steam controller was promising (haven’t tried it for myself to see how good it is) could be really interesting, and I wouldn’t be massively surprised if the controller did end up with similar tech to this.

    • Though they are missing those prongs for the hands. Big omission imo, in terms of comfort in holding the thing if this is in fact real.

      • Then, again, if these pictures are legit, these are dev-kit controllers, which are often as barebones as possible.

      • Nintendo having shit ergonomics has been par for the course since the N64 with the notable single exception of the gamecube controller.

          • I don’t think its fair to count a controller that doesn’t ship with the console and isn’t supported by all the games.

            Its clear Nintendo intended for us to use the dumb controller.

          • @pointzeroone Batman Arkham City, Lego City, Injustice and Zombi U for a start. Often if the game has a gimmick that uses the tray controller you cant use a pro controller.

          • Zombie U was all about the gamepad, Injustice works with pro.
            Arkham City and lego city both use gamepad in their gameplay design.

            But there is a lot of games now that let you play with just the pro.

        • Would pretty much agree, although they did change the Wii U’s gamepad from being completely flat-backed to having those prongs underside for your hands. So so glad they added those. Oh and also ditching the circle pads for actual sticks. And the Pro controller is pretty good too. Actually, the Classic Controller Pro was a pretty good improvement over the original as well.

          I’ve never had a problem with the N64 controller though 😛 But really hate the SNES controller, which… I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone speak ill of it.

          • The SNES and even the N64 controller they kind of get a pass because everyone’s controllers were bad back then (though IMO the 6-button Megadrive controller still feels okay in the hands). N64 was awful, you just played it when you were young and were more willing to contort your hands so you could use it.

          • I liked the SNES controller when I was a kid. In recent years when playing it though, I’ve been cursing it all the way. Not the 64 though, it does feel weird for a little bit after spending so long away from it, but so does the Cube controller.

      • Considering how expensive it still is to manufacture square/rectangle shaped screens, I just cant see this Stewie Griffin head-shaped screen controller being any kind of affordable, let alone adding a console that run it along side it. Take into consideration the two gaps in the screen for the thumbsticks.

        Look at the Wii U – standard shaped screen on their controller and has been blamed for the continual high price of the Wii U

        I don’t think the first time we will see mass-adoption of this technology will be done by Nintendo. They still cant get network access right

        Also there is no Nintendo logo or branding on it. Highly unlikely the Big N would ever release a product without front panel branding

        • Also keep in mind the smartphone-like design is not something Nintendo would go with. Even without the experience gained from the Wii U replacement gamepad issues Nintendo are smart enough to avoid a controller with a screen that’s so easily smashed.
          This seems like concept art to go with the patent not an actual Nintendo design. If someone said this was a very early prototype to see how it handled that might be believable, but I can’t imagine they got to this point without realising that they were wasting their time putting the sticks inside the screen. Best case scenario the touch inputs from having your palms constantly on the border doesn’t interfere with anything but they’re still spending heaps of money on an intricate design that’s almost always going to be covered in smudges. Past this sticks will be the functional zone in which case just make it square with a frame like the Wii U gamepad.

      • The first guy has come out and said it was done in 3D graphics
        The guy who made the shots above confirmed its done with a 3D printer

    • I think with the last photo (the one at the end of this article) people managed to determine it wasn’t photoshop. Doesn’t mean it’s a real NX dev kit of course but it is an actual photo of something that exists.

  • I know a bloke who honest-to-god didn’t know there were any 3D Mario games after Super Mario 64.

    These ‘fakes’ (if it is….) are fun and all but it’ll fool a lot of otherwise savvy folk who still think the Wii is state of the art. Maybe not fool, but like my mate, create enough smoke that people who only pass a glance at Nintendo these days think ‘not touching that lol’ and be completely unaware when the actual thing launches.

    And he still won’t notice when the new 3D Mario comes out for it!

  • I reckon it looks pretty cool. Yeah it doesn’t seem to have real buttons on the face, but I’m not going to write it off because of that just yet.
    Call me crazy, but I’d prefer to actually try using the thing before calling it a failure.

  • Really hope the final version isn’t touchscreen buttons… Like to be able to feel where the buttons are under my fingers without having to look down at the controller during stupid QTE’s or something.

    • If this is the handheld side of things (i.e. a 3DS replacement or something) then it’s not such a big deal since you’d be looking directly at it anyway. Although I have trouble keeping my thumbs in the right place when using the SNES emulator on my phone, and I am staring directly at it when I’m using that, too.

      If it’s a controller that you’re supposed to use while watching your TV then it will be complete and utter shit because, as you say, you won’t be able to feel the buttons under your thumbs so you’ll always be taking your eyes off the screen to find where the buttons are.

      • That’s actually a good point. Even with the idea of a hybrid console they may be planning a dock to extend the controller (like @fenix mentioned) or even just having something like the Wii U’s pro controllers to be used as the main controllers when playing at home, with this thing just used as a portable device + second screen controller which could work alright.

        Still not sure how comfortable this would be to use but interested to give it a shot (I thought the Wii U gamepad looked horribly uncomfortable too until I tried it).

    • I think this could be the “main” controller that’s geared for casual navigation / games, and could have portability baked into it as well.

      I also theorise that this thing docks into a larger control for proper inputs when gaming, just my thoughts 🙂

    • Vooks said the other day it seemed fake too as Nintendo’s prototypes/dev kits are never that high quality but the photo itself seems legit, so someone has at least gone to a lot of effort either way.

  • This really just seems like something someone could mock up with imported parts to be honest. Also as a gaming device, the oval configuration and small controls seems rather impractical for allot of markets, or does Nintendo expect people to loose a huge amount of weight/size to become slendermen in order to use this device?

  • Well, I’m actually interested. If I want to play a serious game with physical controls I’ve got my PC, if I’m looking for an interesting and different experience I’ve got my 3DS. If this thing does things differently than what I already have (and it certainly looks like it will) that can only be a good thing in my book.

  • This controller looks like something which could be attached to a mobile Virtual Reality Headset kind of like the Samsung Gear VR. Judging from the shape of the controller and the fact that the majority of it is comprised of a display makes me think that what is presented in these images isn’t its primary intended use.

    Nintendo have always been innovators in videogame technology. This would be a golden opportunity for them to redeem themselves from the commercial failure of the ‘Virtual Boy’ and to show off Nintendo’s unique flavor of innovation and versatility in today’s VR market.

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