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Split directional pad and share button rumored for Nintendo's NX controller

The Nintendo NX is expected to release worldwide in March 2017, but we still know very little about what the console is set to bring to the table. There has already been plenty of speculation about its controller, and now a new report suggests that the peripheral will represent a serious break from tradition.

Sources familiar with the design of the NX have stated that its controller will use a split directional pad, according to a report from Let’s Play Video Games that follows up on rumors from earlier in August. This is unusual, as Nintendo hardware dating back to the NES has typically used a solid pad.

Indeed, it was the patent that Nintendo took out on its directional pad that prompted Sony to pursue a split design for the PlayStation controller back in the 1990s. The patent expired in 2005, meaning that other companies are now free to use a solid directional pad as they see fit.

Related: Nintendo NX rumor round-up: A portable console with detachable controllers?

It’s strange to see Nintendo changing its approach after sticking with a split directional pad for decades. However, this isn’t the only way that the NX controller will apparently take a leaf out of Sony’s book — the pad will also feature a share button, much like the one that’s present on the DualShock 4.

Like its PlayStation equivalent, the NX’s share button will facilitate the posting of still images and video to services like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It will also be used to publish content to Nintendo’s proprietary Miiverse social network, and save files to an external memory device in order to transfer them to a PC.

Rumors and speculation will continue to swirl around the NX until Nintendo offers some official information, but the good news for fans is that the company is likely to deliver details sooner rather than later. It’s only a matter of months before the NX is set to launch, so it seems safe to assume that Nintendo will pull back the veil before the end of 2016.