A new US patent from Nintendo seems to suggest that a new system from the company – presumably the NX – can draw on other computing devices for additional processing power.
Patent application 20150343306 describes a system where a unit described as the ‘game console' can then connect – either via wire, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – with what are described as ‘supplemental computing devices' to increase the speed or quality of a user's gaming experience”.
What these upgrades are, however, is a little more mysterious. Are they N64 Expansion Pak style console-specific upgrades, or does it mean more general processing units such as PCs?
Furthermore, the patent suggests that users can connect to multiple supplementary devices via either wires, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The implication is that as well as being able to connect to several devices of their own, users can also set up their own hardware to be available to others over the internet.
It even points to a possible reward for those who do this, most likely in the form of some sort of digital credit.
The idea is that a user's system will connect with all available resources – be they local or further afield – and having tested their connection and latency then assign suitable processing tasks to that system, freeing up resources and increasing overall power.
While such a design would certainly introduce a number of complicating and variable factors into the user experience, it would also potentially allow Nintendo to ship a relatively low-power, and therefore low-cost unit, to gamers with additional power coming from the total user base's overall pool.
More news on the NX has been promised for 2016.