Nintendo managed to make 3D gaming remotely mainstream with its 3DS line of handheld consoles, and now a similar feature may be coming to Nintendo’s home consoles. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently published a Nintendo patent detailing home console-based, eye-tracking 3D visuals that’s been almost a decade in the making.
The patent – which began in earnest way back in 2010, was filed in September 2018 by Nintendo and was published by the USPTO a few days before the time of writing – describes and illustrates how a game console can provide glasses-free 3D gaming through a TV.
This invention involves a sensor array placed atop the television, which is used for head and eye-tracking. The sensor array superimposes two images to create a 2D stereoscopic picture, rendered in such a way as to generate a 3D visual effect for the player.
While the system is designed to be used without a headset or accessory, players can use an additional marker attached to something on their head – glasses in the patent’s illustration, ironically – to improve the tracking even further.
Massively upgrading the 3DS concept
Nintendo’s 3DS console achieved glasses-free 3D visuals with stereoscopic images, but it lacked the head and eye tracking required to maintain the illusion as the player moved their heads and looked too far around the game scene. With this solution, that’s supposedly no longer a problem.
This patent essentially takes the 3DS approach to this type of 3D gaming, refines it and blows it up to a television-sized scale while working with any TV.
Nintendo hasn’t shied from experimenting with 3D gaming for decades, and clearly has a lot of thoughts about what gaming looks like in such a setting. It’s unknown whether this patent will ever come to fruition, but it’s entirely possible we’ll see this form of 3D gaming come to this or the next Nintendo Switch in due course.