The USPTO published a patent that was filed by Nintendo, which outlines the company’s plans to extend emulators for its handheld systems, namely the Game Boy, on other devices such as mobile phones and even on seat-back displays in aeroplanes.
The patent, which is actually a continuation of an ongoing patent, was made public last week. It was filed in June.
The patent doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be seeing Nintendo games on your next flight, however. As TechCrunch points out, Nintendo could just be protecting its IP without having any actual interest in releasing a product to consumers, especially since a similar patent was filed back in 2000.
In fact, this could just be a way to crack down on third-party emulators. Nintendo has taken a strong stance against piracy and emulators, which let people play its games on unsanctioned devices. It has a long tradition of safeguarding the playing experience, starting with the “Nintendo Seal of Quality” back in the 1980s when the first Nintendo Entertainment System came out.
Nintendo has also notoriously been adamant against offering its full games on mobile devices.
In a Q&A with Re/code’s Eric Johnson, Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime said, “It hasn’t changed our philosophy, which continues to be that we believe that it’s best for the gamer and the consumer to have gaming experiences that are unique and differentiated, and part of the way we deliver that is with our unique and differentiated hardware.”
Still, the patent could be a huge step in the right direction for Nintendo. By releasing its own emulation software to allow people to play its games on mobile phones and via seat-back displays, it could give a boost the company’s software sales, which have been dwindling due to poor Wii U sales. But the company recently announced it’s on track to report an annual profit for the first time in four years. A little boost in the mobile space couldn’t hurt.