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Apple Patent Hints At Game Controller-Related Features

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Posted on July 26, 2012 AT 05:18pm

A new patent filing by Apple has appeared online today, one showing some interesting connections to video gaming.

Patent US2012/0188052 A1 is for:

Systems, methods, and devices for simplified control over electronic devices are provided. For example, a method for controlling a variety of electronic devices using another single electronic device may include receiving control information associated with a controllable electronic device via near field communication, determining a control scheme for controlling the controllable electronic device based on the control information, and controlling the controllable electronic device using the determined control scheme. The control information may be received from a near field communication interface of the controllable electronic device or from a radio frequency identification tag associated with the controllable electronic device.

So, basically, a patent that deals with using near field communication to easily connect a device that acts as a means of control to a device that needs controlling.

Why is this interesting at all? Check out the following sections from the patent filing document:

FIG. 6 is a schematic of a video game controller for the standalone media player of FIG. 4 or a video game system.

FIG. 44 is a schematic of a control initiation operation for controlling a video game system.

FIGS. 45A-C are schematics of screens that may be displayed for controlling a video game system.

Okay, first, off, no—Apple is not trying to patent Sony’s Dual Shock. That illustration is just there to serve as an example of a game controller.

What’s interesting is that the document runs through examples of connecting and setting up a controller with an Apple-related device, with the specific example being an Apple TV media device.

This patent filing certainly isn’t only about videogame-related uses, but one can’t ignore the fact that rumors have been flying for a while now that Apple might take the step needed to turn the Apple TV into a gaming system. Get iOS apps and games up and running on it, put some sort of method in place for giving people a controller to control said games, and you’ve got a most interesting situation.

Of course, this filing isn’t just for connecting a controller to the Apple TV—as one of the above illustrations shows, you could also potentially use a controller on an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. However, that isn’t nearly as fun to speculate about!

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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