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Did the controller for Nintendo’s next console just leak? [updated with more images]

Last year, I reported on a patent for Kotaku, filed by five designers at Nintendo, that appeared to contain the blueprints for the controller on Nintendo’s next console. Code-named the NX, rumors have circulated since 2014 that Nintendo’s next console would be a hybrid, fusing elements of both traditional consoles like the Wii U and portable hardware akin to the 3DS.

Updated on 3/23/2016 by Will Fulton: Two more photos leaked on Reddit today, adding legitimacy to the first image and giving a clearer look at the device.

Now that we’re getting closer to this year’s E3 press expo, however, it should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to see actual leaked photographs of the hardware that’s expected to be announced around that time. While these haven’t been confirmed by Nintendo itself, and more than likely never will be, Reddit user Idriss2Dev has posted an image, allegedly of the NX’s official controller, leading to retaliation from the gaming company’s most dedicated fans.

It’s a rather convincing image, especially when taking into account the graphic we saw in last year’s patent. It appears to bear the LCD (or OLED) display shown before, though notably absent now are the ergonomic grips, leading to a number of complaints on Reddit.

Related: Report: Sony preparing to launch 4K-capable “PS4.5”

“It looks too ugly and [uncomfortable] even for the crazy Nintendo of recent years,” writes Reddit user Balduf. “If [it’s] real Nintendo has finally lost it.”

Perhaps as a concession, a few features seem to have been added since the patent’s emergence as well, including a front-facing camera, a connector on the top for charging, and what look to be two speakers on the front in addition to a built-in mic. The on-screen buttons, nevertheless, still remain present.

All in all, the controller is not conventional by any means. When compared to Nintendo’s current Wii U gamepad option, the removal of real, physical buttons might be a letdown to traditional gaming enthusiasts. That said, let’s not forget that even the Wii U has a Pro Controller option.

Still, this is a leak from Reddit, so any reports on the image should be taken with an endless serving of salt grains.

It’s not clear yet when we’ll see an official NX reveal from Nintendo, but if past hardware announcements are any indication, E3 2016 would presumably be the appropriate venue. And, with Wii U sales still lower than any other current-generation console, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to assume Nintendo’s next console will see a hard launch later this year.