An FFC filing that details a Super Nintendo-style wireless controller for the Nintendo Switch has been unearthed by members of the Resetera community. Seen in the federally mandated sticker placement diagram above, the controller unmistakably matches the silhouette of the original SNES controller, albeit with what appear to be either ZL and ZR buttons on top, or SL/SR buttons as part of the standard joy-con railing system.
The filing lists the controller as model number HAC-042, which is consistent with previous joy-con numbering conventions. The associated frequency tests submitted with the filing give the controller’s internal battery as model HAC-006, which is the same 525 mAh lithium ion battery found in stock joy-con controllers. All signs point to this being a wireless SNES joy-con, folks!
It’s important to note that an FCC filing is very different from a patent. A patent is basically calling dibs on an idea, and that idea doesn’t necessarily have to work or even exist in physical form yet, you just have to be able to convince the government that you’ve had the idea thoroughly enough to lay claim to it. That’s why news outlets always advise caution when patent filings for really unlikely and/or amazing things crop up — just because something has been patented, that doesn’t mean the inventor has any plans to make it a reality. They just need to be able to say “hey, this was my idea first” if anybody else tries to make it a reality.
An FCC filing, on the other hand, is a preparatory step that companies must take when planning to release a product that somehow communicates over federally regulated radio frequencies, and is therefore an implicit statement of intent. In order for this filing to even exist, Nintendo had to manufacture prototypes of the controller, and then pay for a third-party testing company (in this case, SPORTON INTERNATIONAL INC. EMC & Wireless Communications Laboratory in Taiwan) to verify that the prototypes functioned as intended and did not perform in such a way as to illegally interface with radio frequencies beyond what is allowed. Nintendo then sends the completed tests and a diagram of the federally mandated sticker to the FCC, and says “hey, we wanna sell this and we’ve done all the paperwork.”
When this new controller might see the light of day is anybody’s guess. Nintendo’s filing requests that pictures of the prototype device be withheld until February 6 of next year, at which time — presumably — the controller’s existence will no longer be a secret that needs keeping. We also don’t know if this thing will only be available to Nintendo Online subscribers, as was the case with last year’s NES controller joy-cons, seen above.
This SNES controller’s existence also implies, but in no way verifies or guarantees, that SNES games are headed to Nintendo Online’s library of available classic titles. Nintendo might just think that people want to play Kero Blaster with a SNES controller, and like, yes, but we also want to play Super Bomberman and Primal Rage with one too.