Wednesday, January 18, 2006

´V-Pocket´ patent discovered?

Nintendo seems to have plans for a controller or handheld console to connect to cellphones. Product_Number_18 has come across a most interesting patent on the Japanese National Center for Industrial Property Information (NCIPI) homepage. Go there, enter ´Nintendo´ in the top field and click on search. Then click on ´Index Indication´. Choose the third entry entitled ´2005 - 253709 PORTABLE GAME SYSTEM´. Now click on ´detail´. It should be noted that the text is an automated translation from the Japanese original. In fact, there is a disclaimer in the beginning that proves the quality of the translation:
JPO and NCIPI are not responsible for any damages caused by the use of this translation.
So buckle up, put on your crash helmets and let´s try to get into the details of what is being claimed here. The abstract reads:
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a technique useful for improving the operability of a game and preventing sudden battery exhaustion at the time of carrying out a game in a portable terminal, especially in the case of carrying out the game of large power consumption.

SOLUTION: An auxiliary operation device suitable for the operation of the game to be mounted on the portable terminal is provided. In the auxiliary operation device, a rechargeable battery for supplying power to the portable terminal or charging the rechargeable battery of the portable terminal and a control circuit for controlling power supply or charging are incorporated. Power supply or charging is appropriately performed corresponding to the using conditions of the portable terminal and the state of the rechargeable battery.
This would suggest that one device hooks up to another device in order to supply it with extra battery power when its own batteries are drained. However, there are some intriguing pictures shown in the drawings section.

This shows a cellphone connected to a custom controller, featuring an SNES controller shape and a Gamecube controller button layout. However, I believe this is just meant to be a generic device. After all, the patent is entitled ´Portable Game System´, so it could very well deal with the DS, its new incarnation or a brand new handheld console. It could even concern the Revolution. I don´t think this is to do with the GBA, which can already connect to mobile phones for online play (albeit in Japan only), since this patent was filed March 2004 and doesn´t seem to be a mere renewal.

The claims seem to go beyond the abstract.
It is a pocket game system using the personal digital assistant which can perform a game program and has a message function with a remote place, (...) equipped with an operational control unit by the user at the time of the game program execution concerned (...). The game processing section for performing processing (...) advances a game based on the actuation data according to the actuation given by the control unit of said auxiliary operation equipment (...).

The 1st connection terminal (is used) for receiving transmission and reception of said auxiliary operation equipment and data, and supply of power (...). A wearing detection means (is used) to detect that the 1st connection terminal was equipped with said auxiliary operation equipment -- and when said wearing detection means detects, the power from said main power supply section is supplied only to said message processing section, and it has the power-source change control section changed to an electric power supply from the auxiliary operation equipment concerned to said game processing section (...).

The 2nd connection terminal (is used) for connecting with said 1st connection terminal and supplying transmission and reception and power of said personal digital assistant and data (...).
This is a brief simplification of the first claim, which seems to focus on battery supply, but is also concerned with some kind of data exchange. Naturally, this could only refer to the exchange of data relating to whether the second device is connected or not, but it could be more than that. After all, this patent is obviously showing a cellphone connected to a controller or portable gaming console. In the description under the ´Technical Field´ tab, this is specifically mentioned:
This invention relates to the pocket game system which combined the battery charger and the auxiliary operation equipment for games which were excellent in the operability of a game and are useful to performing the big game of power consumption, when playing a game about a pocket game system, for example using a personal digital assistant like a cellular phone especially.
This is obviously where the translation fails and without being able to read the Japanese original, we can only speculate about what this patent really concerns. However, the whole talk of ´personal digital assistants´ made me remember the ´V-Pocket´ trademark Nintendo registered some time ago. It was picked up upon by various websites, along with ´PCGP´, another rumoured trademark and logo.

If you want to verify the ´V-Pocket´ trademark, visit the Japanese Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) and click on ´Japanese Trademark Database´. In the field reading ´Trademark (for retrieval)´ enter ´V-Pocket´, click on ´Search´, then ´Index´. The ´Nintendo V-Pocket´ will be the only entry. It´s important to note that the ´PCGP´ cannot be verified this way, so I´ll disregard this for now.

SPOnG claimed to have found out what the ´V-Pocket´ could be about:
SPOnG learned from official Nintendo sources yesterday that the V-Pocket trademark concerns Nintendo’s licensing of the Palm OS based PDA software.

Nintendo will soon unveil a complete suit of personal organiser tools for its Nintendo DS platform, expected to be shown before E3. Nintendo believes that the functionality of the DS, combined with high-end PDA software, will give it an edge over Sony’s PSP, which is, and will remain a media-driven value-added console.

It’s worth noting that the logo offered for V-Pocket reflects the aesthetic employed in Nintendo’s DS branding.
So, in conclusion, the above patent could relate to the DS connecting to cellphones, using both their power supply as well as going online. This would fit with the rumours about the ´V-Pocket´ PDA software. Obviously, this could relate specifically to the DS´s new incarnation, which will be unveiled shortly, I have been told by Nintendo. Or, perhaps, this patent relates to some kind of new controller or handheld console we haven´t seen yet. It could even somehow concern the Revolution. Either way, it´s interesting stuff.

Thanks to: Product_Number_18


banKai said...

hey falafelkid,
directly taken from gamefront

18.01.06 - In der heutigen Ausgabe der japanischen Tageszeitung Sankei Shimbun hat sich Nintendo-Präsident Satoru Iwata über die Revolution-Konsole geäußert.

Über den Auslieferungstermin von Revolution sagt Iwata, dass er auf keinen Fall das umsatzstärke Geschäft zum Jahresende verpassen will. Die Konsole sollte deshalb in den USA bis 'Thanksgiving' (Erntedankfest, ca. Ende November 2006) erscheinen, um auch die Unterstützung durch den Handel zu haben; ein genaues Datum nannte er nicht.

Auf der E3 im Mai 2006 will Iwata eine fast fertiggestellte Konsole zeigen

so thanksgiving for the US.. may this be a hint that europe will get it in 2007 ? because of this 14 week timeframe for their "worldwide" launch

Anonymous said...

how shortly?
in february or in may?

Falafelkid said...

Hi Bankai. Thanks for the comment. I have already got a rough story about this saved and will post it in a few hours.

Hi Anonymous. I was told by Nintendo in December that the DS would get a make-over sooner rather than later. I expect that means before E3, which would leave D.I.C.E. or GDC as possible forums for the presentation. I am sure Nintendo will use a big fair to make an announcement like that. That way you can be assured of maximum press coverage.

ssj2119 said...

Falafelkid you got an aim s/n?

Chris said...

It would be great if the remake of the DS had PDA-capabilities. The two screens and the touchscreen-function make it perfectly suited for things that are difficult to do on usual portable gaming consoles or even on PDAs. For example you could have a whole website on the lower screen and by moving the touchpen over it you can determine which part of the website is shown magnified on the upper screen.

Are there any infos about when the remake of the DS can be expected? "which will be unveiled shortly, I have been told by Nintendo" sounds good :)

Falafelkid said...

Hi ssj2119. Currently my AIM nick is ´Jungredakteur´, since I am at my girlfriend´s in Frankfurt. Normally, I use ´Avantgarbe´, though.

Hi Chris. Concerning more concrete info on the DS redesign read my first comment. I have not been given any more info.

Darth Aero said...

About the DS redesign, I have the feeling it will ressemble the Revolution. Maybe they will reveal both the Revolution's final design and the new DS design and they will combine aesthetically.

Matthew said...

About the "VPocket". I'm not surprised in fact I could say I saw it coming. I heard awhile back that Nintendo would be working with a cellphone company to offer media/games or even their own cellphone so this seems like the next step. I doubt I'll buy it since I dislike cellphones but should be an interesting market for Nintendo.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Darth Aero. I think you are absolutely right. The new DS will definitely resemble the Revolution. Nintendo is well aware of the criticism concerning the original DS design and are keen on rectifying that. Also, connectivity between those consoles is a given. Hence they will resemble one another. Good point.

Anonymous said...

The Nintendo Revolution will be released definately in 2006 in Europe, that has been confirmed by Nintendo of Europe several days ago. Hope that ends those silly speculations "Oh it will slip to 2007 in Europe", that gets boring.
And iwata did only say before thanksgiving, not ON thanksgiving. that could even mean that it comes out in summer, who knows?

norebonomis said...

it would be awesome if the new DS could connect to my bluetooth phone wirelessly. i would even pay to upgrade my cell service to a data plan if i could get online with my DS. holy shit.

emmiranda said...

Hi, I've been reading all your blog some time ago (and I mean all), and i've to say it's very interesting.

One note. The PCGP logo refers to the Japanese Pokémon Trading Card Game. The letters are for "Pokémon Card Game Players". You can check it here: . I'm a player here in Mexico of Pokémon TCG and that's why I'm sure what's that.

And about the V-Pocket or the Cellphone... I think those are things that maybe we'll never see, because Nintendo has the habit to patent all they do, they can be very well experiments they've done to supply of external energy power a NDS or GBA, or they can be very well things that are developing for the next GBA, don't you think?, i mean, you can see that battery is a huge factor on portable devices, i think the next GBA will use more energy, but as well there'll be more powerful batteries, but what about an extra external battery to keep playing?

Anonymous said...

what is the chance of the next gameboy being announced at e3?

HereticPB said...

Looks like how the Revolution controller connects to the shell??

Urian said...

If any of you knows spanish, please translate this post for Falafelkid:

Now I have no time, but I believe that is insteresting.

Anonymous said...