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Nintendo filing hints at new direction?

Or not, as it turns out...

An apparently new filing from Nintendo with the US patents office has offered some tantalising clues concerning the firms future direction, or so online reports assumed, suggesting a U-turn of epic proportions on the online/convergence front, if the details of the submission are anything to go by: "an existing video game system...modified to include additional communication and storage capability via a modem and hard disk drive." The hard drive in question "permits downloading from the Internet of entire games."

We'd assume normally that such capability would require an entirely new device, however the 'existing video game system' bit mystifyingly suggests an enhancement to the GameCube (perhaps) or some other machine, in the form of a HDD (on steroids) of some description. Unlike Xbox Live and PS2 Online, which this patent sounds a little like, Nintendo's idea also incorporates television, allowing gamers to "receive a TV channel guide downloaded via the Internet, spot a program which the user desires to view and immediately access, via an IR input, the desired channel through the expansion device TV tuner." Which certainly sounds interesting, if a little off-key compared to Nintendo's usual 'gaming-is-all' song sheet.

But as GameSpot's teaser piece on the subject tantalisingly concludes - all such conjecture is misplaced and entirely out of context, the peripheral instead turning out to be nothing more than the 64DD expansion for the N64. A flop in 2001, and merely a continuation of the filing in 2004. Excitement over. But it certainly sounded good on paper, even if no one bought it at the time.