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(Pocket-lint) - The Nintendo Wii U controller could have had an autostereoscopic 3D display, much like the company's 3DS handheld. In one of the device's patents filed by the Japanese gaming giant, it is apparent that the no-glasses technology was taken into consideration.

"One or both the displays SD and MD may be a 3D display (eg., an autostereoscopic display) that provides stereoscopic perception of depth to a viewer," says US Patent 20120026166, filed by Nintendo on 26 September 2011.

The SD relates to a stationary display - the TV or monitor the Wii U console is plugged into - while MD stands for movable display - the controller itself. So, while we doubt that the final controller will differ from the non-3D version we saw and played with at E3 last year, that could still mean that the console itself will be capable of outputting three-dimensional images.

Another interesting note in the patent concerns HD compatibility: "One or both of the displays SD and MD may be so-called high-definition displays (eg., 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) or 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080i/1080p)," which means that, at one point, Nintendo was considering making the screen on the controller HD. Again, from our play at E3, that wasn't the case back then.

The final nugget reveals that the Wii U console could be able to play 3D movies: "Still additionally, the images displayed on the displays SD and MD may be from any source such as an animation engine, a video game machine, a simulator, or a video which is appropriately transformed or processed to provide displays from different perspectives," reads the patent. And it is that latter that opens the possibility of 3D video support.

We'll know more when the Wii U is officially unveiled at this year's E3 in June. It is expected to hit shops in the US, UK and Japan by Christmas time.

Would you like to have seen a 3D display on the Wii U controller? Let us know in the comments below...

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Writing by Rik Henderson.