For a while Nintendo felt like the top dog of the stylus world, back in the days of the DS and 3DS, portable games consoles that made styluses part and parcel of their experiences and offerings.
That's diminished, though, in the age of the Switch, incredibly impressive hybrid console that it may be. Still, Nintendo doesn't appear to be done with styluses by any means, after announcing the launch of an official Switch Stylus earlier this month.
That affordable touch-sensitive pen will launch in February, but it looks like there might be more to come, with the eagle-eyed team at LetsGoDigital having unearthed a new patent from Nintendo to add stylus features right onto users' existing Joy-Cons.
The shoulder-button attachments that come with each Joy-Con when you buy or unbox it have so far been useful to make it easier to hold the miniature controllers, and to press the shoulder buttons that they enhance. Nintendo's designs add a further complication by effectively adding the nib of a stylus onto the top of the attachment.
This means that the Joy-Con itself can be used as a stylus on the screen of an undocked Switch console, when convenient — or with a Switch Lite if you have a spare Joy-Con for the portable-only version. Nintendo's designs show that this could mean the stylus attachment could also be more carefully controlled using buttons on the Joy-Con, as well as taking advantage of the controller's HD rumble to give enhanced feedback during use.
Given the impending release of the standard Switch Stylus, there's no guarantee at all that this design will actually see its way to shop shelves, but it nonetheless fleshes out the impression that Nintendo still sees significant advantages in styluses for its consoles.