Nintendo eye-tracking patent hints at 3D gaming on the Switch

Nintendo Switch review

Nintendo may have abandoned true 3D gaming with the 2DS and the Switch, but it appears the company isn’t finished with the technology entirely. A patent application just published in January points to Nintendo’s potential plans to turn your television into the ultimate 3D gaming display.

Published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on January 24, a patent application for “Eye Tracking Enabled 3D Viewing” was filed by Nintendo back in September 2018, with the goal of providing a device that can see where users are looking in order to deliver the optimal 3D viewing angle.

The application, which stated it’s a continuation of other patent applications dating as far back as 2010, details the issues 3D viewing has run into on television sets. Instead of using a specialized 3D display or glasses, Nintendo’s approach is to place an eye-tracking device on top of a conventional display, allowing it to track users and give them the best 3D image.

In order to improve the tracking capabilities of the camera, users can wear a marker on their head. In the sketches shown in the application, a small marker is placed on the player’s glasses, though it looks small enough to avoid impeding their playability.

nintendo patent application 3d gaming nintendo3dtracking

“Viewpoint movement detection can provide collision-related game logic benefits such as allowing a player to dodge projectiles, giving a game character an ability to ‘see’ the player when not behind line-of-sight obstacles, and other advantages,” the application continued.

These advantages can already be seen on the 3DS, because it offers glasses-free 3D gameplay. Super Mario 3D Land, for instance, makes gauging jumps quite easy as it provides depth not seen on other systems, and it’s a feature that’s sorely missed in Wii U and Switch Mario games. On newer 3DS models, the system even tracks your position using its own camera, maximizing the “sweet spot” of its own 3D screen.

As with many patent applications, there’s a good possibility nothing will come of Nintendo’s 3D technology, and the images shown in the application are not new. However, with the 3DS reaching the end of its life, perhaps it will be time for Nintendo to seriously consider moving forward on the tracking camera.

Gaming

Nintendo Direct 2019: Here are all the biggest announcements

Nintendo revealed new information on multiple upcoming Switch games during its February 13 Nintendo Direct. Here are the biggest announcements, including information on Fire Emblem and Zelda.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Gaming

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.
Gaming

Nintendo 2DS XL vs. Nintendo 3DS XL: Which handheld reigns supreme?

The 3DS family of systems hasn't shown any signs of letting up in the age of the Nintendo Switch. With the New Nintendo 2DS XL in the picture, let's compare the newcomer to the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Gaming

Bayonetta 3 still in the works, set to launch on Nintendo Switch this year

Bayonetta 3 was notably absent from the latest Nintendo Direct presentation, raising concerns that the game will be delayed. A Nintendo executive clarified that the Nintendo Switch exclusive remains on track for a 2019 release.
Gaming

Over 16,000 Apex Legends cheaters have already been banned by Respawn

Respawn Entertainment revealed that it has already banned over 16,000 cheaters in Apex Legends in the less than two weeks since its release. The developer may be working on an in-game feature to report cheaters.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Gaming

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Gaming

A beginner’s guide to Far Cry New Dawn’s postapocalyptic Hope County

Far Cry New Dawn is yet another entry in Ubisoft's popular open world shooter franchise. But while it may feel quite similar in motion, the progression system is changed in a lot of ways. Our beginner's guide is here to help.
Gaming

Learn to scavenge like a pro with our Far Cry New Dawn crafting guide

Far Cry New Dawn revolves around the hunt -- the hunt for materials to craft new weapons, vehicles, and other useful items. It's easy to miss out on great opportunities to find new materials if you don't go off the beaten path.
Gaming

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Gaming

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.