The Nintendo Switch seems like a novel idea at first glance, but the folks at Gamevice feel it’s a bit too derivative of their own hardware patents. As a result, they’re suing Nintendo, specifically in regards to the console’s removable Joy-Con controllers.
The Switch is certainly a unique gaming device, bridging television and portable gameplay with a single device. All you have to do to game at home is slide the console’s tablet into its dock and slide off the Joy-Con controllers and, boom, you’re ready to game. Want to continue playing on the go? Simply slide the controller back onto the tablet and take it with you.
Gamevice, the makers of the Wikipad, think that Nintendo’s design borrows too heavily from patents of their own. As being reported by Engadget, the company is not only requesting damages, but also a conclusion to the sale of Switch consoles. That’s a pretty big ask, which we imagine Nintendo is going to fight tooth and nail to prevent. Given the success of their Switch console and massive games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey, we figure they’ll be able to hire a crack legal team to address the matter.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Wikipad, it was Gamevice’s U-shaped controller that you could slide a tablet into. The device sported two analog sticks, face buttons, shoulder buttons and a D-pad, just like all major console controllers these days. The hook was that you could simply slide your tablet into the device and enjoy actual game controls, even if not a lot of mobile games really require that kind of control. Also, this was all going down about five years ago.
Still, it was a good concept that never took flight. Then, in struts Nintendo with their Switch and suddenly everyone is keen on the idea. That might have something to do with the fact that the Switch is an actual gaming machine and can also be played on the television, but we figure there are plenty of other reasons why the Switch took off and Gamevice’s own peripheral floundered.
Neither Nintendo nor Gamevice have offered comment on the lawsuit, which isn’t super surprising considering how the suit is still in the very early goings. We’re not lawyers or anything, but it sure seems like there are a lot of peripherals out there that basically function like the Wikipad, some of which hit the market before that particular device. Still, it all depends on what’s in the patents, the hardware itself, and if a judge thinks it’s all too close for comfort.
But, if the Switch controller is too similar to another device, where does that leave just about every maker of every standard game controller on the market that look and function almost the exact same? No, seriously, we’re asking. As noted above, we don’t have law degrees and would be interested in learning what makes Gamevice’s case more sound than other companies with other similar hardware. Feel free to drop your legal input, in the appropriate My Cousin Vinny impersonation, in the comments below.