A recently filed patent for the Wii U’s controller reveals a few hardware elements we didn’t know about. Most notably, the controller – which is said to be completely dependent on the Wii U console – appears to have built-in flash memory. The amount of this memory is unknown, which means it could be for anything from simply remembering the console the controller is synced to to more elaborate uses like storing Miis or game data. Maybe you’ll be able to take your controller to a friend’s place – an idea we’ve heard Nintendo has been looking into – and bring your save data with you for a multiplayer game? I’d love to hear your own ideas in the comments.
Lots more details and an image gallery after the break!
The patent also reveals the existence of a CPU and a magnetic sensor. The CPU, before you get excited, is only there to communicate with the console and to decompress the incoming image stream for the screen, but the magnetic sensor is a curious little feature we haven’t heard about until now. From what I can decipher in the patent’s legal speak, it is used to track the controller’s azimuth relative to the earth’s magnetic field – a fancy way of saying it tracks which direction you’ve pointed it in without relying on the TV-mounted sensor bar like the Wii Remote does.
And speaking of sensor bars, the black strip over the controller’s touchscreen isn’t just for show, but is actually a cleverly designed sensor bar of its own that comes into play when you point a Wii Remote at it. Very cool.
Lastly, we’ve got confirmation of what that mysterious port on the bottom of the controller is. As the patent puts it, it is “an extension connector via which another device can be connected to the [controller]. [...] The device connected to the extension connector may be any device, and may be, for example, a game-specific controller (gun-shaped controller, etc.) or an input device such as a keyboard.” In other words, it’s not an HDMI port like some people speculated, but serves a similar purpose to the expansion port on the bottom of the Wii Remote.