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(Pocket-lint) - Nintendo looks like it might return to the concept of novelty controllers, by updating its Poké Ball Plus controller at some point in the future. 

The controller was introduced for the release of 2018's Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and Pikachu!, as a simplified way of playing the game, with only one hand needed to control your on-screen actions, and motion controls built in. 

The Poké Ball Plus went down well, too, potentially because its simplicity worked really well with the pared-back tone of the Let's Go games. They took the Pokémon games back to basics in some ways, and integrated some simpler mechanics for new players to enjoy.

Now, a range of patents filed in Japan indicate that Nintendo might intend to make a new version of the controller. It's just released new games, Pokémon Sword and Shield, to tremendous sales figures and critical success, so the time might be right to capitalise on the franchise's popularity. 

The first Poké Ball Plus is not supported by these newer games, and it's unclear whether new versions would be for the existing entries or to tie in with forthcoming releases. 

In reality, the patent designs look very similar to the existing version of the controller, with an analogue stick to move your character, and a button on the ball's top to interact with the world. It would seem that any improvements would be down to the arrangement of internal components. 

Patents, as always, should be taken with a pinch of salt, and are far from a guarantee of production. Still, don't be surprised if Nintendo has plans for another Poké Ball Plus. 

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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.