Nintendo Switch next-generation controller could offer hands-free gaming

Did Nintendo just confirm it's building new Joy-Cons?

Nintendo Switch 2
(Image credit: Nintendo)

For the first time, Nintendo has alluded to next-generation hardware – something it has vehemently denied that it has been working on until now. The Japanese gaming firm has talked about plans to rethink its controller.

There's no shortage of rumours around a second-generation Switch range, including a more compact version of the console that cannot be docked and played on a HD TV – a so-called Switch Mini – as well as a more powerful Switch with a high-resolution OLED touchscreen. However, this is the first time we've ever heard anything about an upgraded controller.

Nintendo hinted at plans to debut a more advanced controller during its latest Annual General Meeting, or AGM. This is an opportunity for investors and shareholders to ask representatives from Nintendo questions about its recent designs, future plans, and more.

"Looking at this year’s E3, it seems like the mainstream for video games is the same as it has been for the past 30 years, namely, looking at the screen and playing with controller in hand. How do developers regard this, and do they think it will continue?," one investor asked the Japanese company.

Nintendo executives Shigeru Miyamoto, Shinya Takahashi, and Ko Shiota all took a run at answering the question. However, it was Miyamoto – the 66 year-old video game designer behind the likes of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda – who provided the most intriguing tidbit in his response to the question.  

"I also believe that we should quickly graduate from the current controller, and we are attempting all kinds of things," Miyamoto revealed.

Nintendo Switch 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

"Our objective is to achieve an interface that surpasses the current controller, where what the player does is directly reflected on the screen, and the user can clearly feel the result. This has not been achieved yet.

"We have tried all kinds of motion controllers, but none seem to work for all people. As the company that knows the most about controllers, we have been striving to create a controller that can be used with ease, and that will become the standard for the next generation."

With the Joy-Cons used to control the Switch, Nintendo bundled in a slew of different technology, including an IR motion camera that can record movements (a key component when building Nintendo Labo sets), as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope to enable Nintendo Wii-like motions with the controller, and finally, a precise vibration motor, known as HD Rumble.

According to Nintendo, HD rumble is so realistic when you move and tilt the Joy-Con you can feel the ice cubes clanking around – and even tell how many cubes there are, almost as if you’re actually holding a glass in your hand.

Whether Nintendo plans to bring more functionality to an upgraded controller for its Nintendo Switch is unclear. However, the company has previously suggested that its Switch will be around much longer than typical console generations.

So, it's possible that Nintendo Switch owners will be able to buy next-generation Joy-Cons to upgrade their existing hardware in future.