Back in August of 2016, Nintendo filed a bunch of patents with the Japanese patent office for a variety of Switch Joy-Con designs. Recently, Nintendo has also filed patents for bendable, hinged Joy-Con controllers, but let's look at some of the earlier Joy-Con ideas (spoiler: there's a chonky one).
The Switch's Joy-Cons are the topic of much conversation and controversy, thanks to a drifting issue that has controllers detecting a directional input when the joysticks are not in use. The result? A lawsuit, one that now includes owners of the brand new Nintendo Switch Lite. LetsGoDigital mocked up the Joy-Con possibilities, which included one that has D-pads instead of analog sticks. Perhaps Joy-Con drift would have never been an issue if Nintendo went with this design - you can't have drifting analog sticks if you don't have any analog sticks (insert exploding brain meme here). Even though drifting may not have been an issue with D-pads instead of sticks, it's likely racing and FPS games would not play well on the Switch, rendering titles like Overwatch and Skyrim obsolete.
Another design had a much more crowded layout, with smaller analog sticks, double D-pads, and two stacked buttons on each side. Splitting the buttons up between your hands might be confusing (as a new Switch player, I'm still struggling to hit 'B' in it's southernmost position, as I'm used to console "B" buttons).
Perhaps the most interesting Switch-that-never-was is one that features extra-thicc Joy-Cons, which would likely decrease hand cramping and/or feel like a more natural fit for those with larger hands. LetsGoDigital suggests it had analog triggers instead of digital ones.
Either way, these designs represent paths Nintendo didn’t take, and ones that are clearly in their rearview. With new patents being filed, a brand new Switch on the market, and more titles coming to the platform, the future of the Nintendo Switch seems set in stone.
Blizzard's hit game Overwatch for Switch release date is officially October 15. Wonder how it will play? Stay tuned.