Nintendo may be working on a case that can turn a smartphone into a working Game Boy, complete with functioning buttons and directional pad, according to a recently published patent uncovered by Siliconera.
The folio case fully encloses a phone and uses a sheet of conductive material to transmit a finger’s touch to the smartphone’s capacitive screen, according to the patent, which was published in late September. A square window at the top of the case, above the directional pad and two buttons, turns the top of a smartphone’s screen into the screen of the classic Nintendo handheld gaming system.
The FCC approved a Nintendo wireless game device on the same date that the patent was published, though the FCC’s approval includes an approved 180 days of confidentiality so the images of the device are not included with the approval.
Given the timing of the confidentiality, it seems likely that Nintendo will be releasing the Game Boy phone case this holiday season, though the photos won’t be released until March.
A case designed to be used to play Nintendo games on smartphones falls neatly in line with Nintendo’s relatively recent push into the mobile space. Nintendo has seen some early success as it continues to push into the mobile game space. While “Super Mario Run” didn’t do as well as expected, other games like “Fire Emblem Heroes” and “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” did much better. “Fire Emblem,” a gacha-style tactical RPG, is doing especially well for Nintendo. It’s reportedly earned over $400 million in revenue since its launch in February 2017. “Pocket Camp” has reportedly made over $25 million since its debut.
This new case would allow Nintendo to tap into its vast back catalog of handheld games, a move that would also follow in the footsteps of Nintendo’s lucrative retro systems that it has been releasing over the past couple of years.