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Nintendo's Supplemental Computing Devices patent almost granted, issue fee paid

Fredrik

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Achievement Unlocked: getting the real point of more frequently released iterative consoles ;).
Nah. I'd say it's more about not becoming a joke compared to PCs now that most games are on PC too with controller support and big screen mode etc.
But it's definitely sneaky. I bet there are people screaming about PS3 costing $599 among those whom are now considering buying a Neo. Add PSVR too and this generation has almost taken console gaming to the same price level as PC gaming. :/
 

Instro

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I think we're looking at this all wrong. I don't think the SCD is a supplementary CPU+GPU at all. I think it's a storage device and sharing platform that lets Nintendo use customer bandwidth to improve it's own infrastructure, while offering benefits in return. It's a distribution platform with some fringe cloud computing benefits, if it exists at all.

Adding additional horsepower to your console sounds great in your head until you have to sort through all the marketing confusion that would come from it. Having a cloud connected hard drive that stores all your games and any other media Nintendo sells, can receive remote commands to download things while your console is off, plus lets you opt-in to a P2P system to speed up other peoples downloads in exchange for credit towards games? Well, that might be a more interesting consumer product.
Yeah, people really shouldn't buy into the idea that this is going to increase hardware power.
 

Stilton Disco

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I think we're looking at this all wrong. I don't think the SCD is a supplementary CPU+GPU at all. I think it's a storage device and sharing platform that lets Nintendo use customer bandwidth to improve it's own infrastructure, while offering benefits in return. It's a distribution platform with some fringe cloud computing benefits, if it exists at all.

Adding additional horsepower to your console sounds great in your head until you have to sort through all the marketing confusion that would come from it. Having a cloud connected hard drive that stores all your games and any other media Nintendo sells, can receive remote commands to download things while your console is off, plus lets you opt-in to a P2P system to speed up other peoples downloads in exchange for credit towards games? Well, that might be a more interesting consumer product.
What you just described sounds an even harder thing to market and sell to people as a worthwhile investment, while also being a lot of stuff that their competitors already do and would have very little benefit to the casual consumer.

An upgrade you slot into a console to make it more powerful though, that's an easy thing to understand even if you don't know how it works, and means they can sell a base model with the promise of not needing to buy more than a relatively cheap add on for it when you want to the latest, prettiest games years down the line.
 

Fredrik

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Hand held console. Get home and plug into box under TV for better graphics and performance?

I don't know but hope its this
While I like this idea I don't see how much the graphics and performance could improve this way unless Nintendo go crazy and start focusing on specs on their handheld all of a sudden.

My vote goes on an exansion module of sorts, possibly with an extra display output too for 4K resolutions if that isn't already included in the base NX console.
 

Schnozberry

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What you just described sounds an even harder thing to market and sell to people as a worthwhile investment, while also being a lot of stuff that their competitors already do and would have very little benefit to the casual consumer.

An upgrade you slot into a console to make it more powerful though, that's an easy thing to understand even if you don't know how it works, and means they can sell a base model with the promise of not needing to buy more than a relatively cheap add on for it when you want to the latest, prettiest games years down the line.
There's no way an add-on that lets you play the latest and greatest games will be relatively cheap. Plus, no one will program software for it.

I think an external hard drive that has the minimal processing power necessary to unlock bonus features for a reasonable price is a much easier sell than buying an upgrade for your console. Plus it fits nicely into Nintendo's track record of including the bare minimum of storage in their consoles. The benefits to casual customers will be cheaper games. That's an easy sell.
 

Terrell

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No, not quite.

There's no way an add-on that lets you play the latest and greatest games will be relatively cheap. Plus, no one will program software for it.
So Neo and Scorpio aren't a thing? Or do you see them also getting no software support?

I don't think you're understanding this idea: the SCD is released, and rather than selling the old console with it, they update the console, as well.

So every time new hardware is released, Nintendo can say "and previous owners can get the same benefit for XXXX less by buying this instead". And every iteration would have an SCD that brings the prior iteration in line with the current one.

Some would argue "retail confusion", but that's easily resolved by making these SCD devices something that's bought exclusively through Nintendo or retailers online, instead of in-store, which would be selling base consoles only.
 

Stilton Disco

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There's no way an add-on that lets you play the latest and greatest games will be relatively cheap. Plus, no one will program software for it.

I think an external hard drive that has the minimal processing power necessary to unlock bonus features for a reasonable price is a much easier sell than buying an upgrade for your console. Plus it fits nicely into Nintendo's track record of including the bare minimum of storage in their consoles. The benefits to casual customers will be cheaper games. That's an easy sell.
It'd be no different from the PS4 to Neo situation, or 3DS to n3DS. All they'd need to get developers to do would be to program for the base model then add higher resolution and better texture settings for the module upgrades, with the option to also improve effects and frame rates and so forth if they wanted. However, it would have the advantage of being cheaper (though no, not 'cheap') than buying a whole new system.

Also, you're seriously underestimating how hard it is to sell anything other than better looks to the general consumer. Even extra storage is more confusing to most people, it's why we get ridiculous situations like people paying 100 quid for 16gbs extra internal storage on their phones instead of paying a tenner for a 32gb sd card, or Sony selling their 1tb PS4 to people whose 500gb version is full.

But stuff like 4K being better than Full HD which is better than just HD, that's something you can sell to people. They won't know what it actually means, but they know higher is 'better' and will spend money on it. Having a a full HD or 4K expansion pack you just slot in to make everything 'look better', people will get at least a rough idea what those things mean, even if they do more than just bump the resolution.

I do fully expect them to have fuck all internal storage though, but I can't see them pulling an Xbox 360 proprietary storage move with being able to expand it, both because there's no innovation in that, and even with a processing boost, it's not going to be a big enough or marketable enough gimmick to build the system around.
 

geordiemp

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No, not quite.

So Neo and Scorpio aren't a thing? Or do you see them also getting no software support?

I don't think you're understanding this idea: the SCD is released, and rather than selling the old console with it, they update the console, as well.
Neo plays Ps4 games, its just a bigger CPU and GPU. Same with Scorpio.

Most powerful CPU or GPU are a single board, for many reasons you seem oblivious to, but mainly GB/s bandwidth to all the components.

So unless Nintendo has a > thunderbolt new interface thats maybe 200 Gb's with 192 or more physical connections....... then there is no way you are adding together processors or GPU's, or unless they have defied the laws of physics and computing.
 

Stilton Disco

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Neo plays Ps4 games, its just a bigger CPU and GPU. Same with Scorpio.

Most powerful CPU or GPU are a single board, for many reasons you seem oblivious to, but mainly GB/s bandwidth to all the components.

So unless Nintendo has a > thunderbolt new interface thats maybe 200 Gb's with 192 or more physical connections....... then there is no way you are adding together processors or GPU's, or unless they have defied the laws of physics and computing.
External GPU's already exist, and there's no reason Nintendo couldn't have a proprietary interface that's specifically design to facilitate such a thing. Say what you like about the WiiU, and I personally like to say it's total wank, but the zero latency, rock solid 60fps wireless streaming that thing can do is far more unique and industry leading than making a better external processor socket.
 

geordiemp

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External GPU's already exist, and there's no reason Nintendo couldn't have a proprietary interface that's specifically design to facilitate such a thing. Say what you like about the WiiU, and I personally like to say it's total wank, but the zero latency, rock solid 60fps wireless streaming that thing can do is far more unique and industry leading than making a better external processor socket.
http://www.macworld.com/article/1158145/thunderbolt_what_you_need_to_know.html
A Thunderbolt channel can provide up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of data throughput—and each Thunderbolt port includes two channels. Thunderbolt is also bi-directional, meaning it can transmit and receive data at the same time.
10 GBps is not enough to add a GPU though

However, Nintendo may have their ow Alienware type really big PCI ribbon cable interface, however, cant see how that would be cheap. Intrigued.

May as well just make a GPU plug in slot like a PC...imo
 

Stilton Disco

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http://www.macworld.com/article/1158145/thunderbolt_what_you_need_to_know.html


10 GBps is not enough to add a GPU though

However, Nintendo may have developed a really big ribbon cable interface, however, cant see how that would be cheap. Intrigued.
Ribbon cables are still tried and true technology that could definitely be utilised for it, so that makes sense. Hell, even just PCI slots could be modified to work.

Also, I don't think cost is that big of a factor, potentially.

The base model is the cheap part, any expansion just needs to be cheaper than the equivelant competing console.

$100 for a base unit that's below the XO power wise and outputs modern games at 720p. Another $100 for the same games at 1080p with nicer textures, $200+ for a Neo level upgrade.

Then maybe a $500 hardcore enthusiast option around the time Scorpio comes out for true 4K, and a higher flop count, just to fuck with MS
 

geordiemp

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Did you read the article, did the 385 add GPU resources to the laptop or just take over duties ?

Add a GPU to an existing GPU so they are additive like SLI - Hell NO.

As I said, there is no adding GPU's together without a PCI type connection.

Ribbon cables are still tried and true technology that could definitely be utilised for it, so that makes sense. Hell, even just PCI slots could be modified to work.
Oh agree, a PCI ribbon connection is well known (Alienware).

But I cant see why you dont just plug the GPU in if its a console.

But then you are just making a PC with a proprietary PCI plug in for the CPU and GPU...
.?
 

LordRaptor

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Did you read the article, did the 385 add GPU resources to the laptop or just take over duties ?

Add a GPU to an existing GPU so they are additive like SLI - Hell NO.

As I said, there is no adding GPU's together without a PCI type connection.
Oh. Okay.
You're dismissing this as possible because you are focussing exclusively on GPUs and that they need to be in parallel as in an SLI or crossfire configuration.

A bit weird, as the patent is nothing relating to that, but okay.
 

blu

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http://www.macworld.com/article/1158145/thunderbolt_what_you_need_to_know.html


10 GBps is not enough to add a GPU though

However, Nintendo may have their ow Alienware type really big PCI ribbon cable interface, however, cant see how that would be cheap. Intrigued.

May as well just make a GPU plug in slot like a PC...imo
Contemporary desktop GPUs can run on a narrow a bus as PCIe v2.0 x2. Given that a PCIe 2.x lane is rated at 5GT/s, 10 gigabits per second is adequate, albeit not much.

Did you read the article, did the 385 add GPU resources to the laptop or just take over duties ?

Add a GPU to an existing GPU so they are additive like SLI - Hell NO.

As I said, there is no adding GPU's together without a PCI type connection.
Nothing in the patent implies the SCD GPU will work in SLI with the core GPU.
 

geordiemp

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Contemporary desktop GPUs can run on a narrow a bus as PCIe v2.0 x2. Given that a PCIe 2.x lane is rated at 5GT/s, 10 gigabits per second is adequate, albeit not much.

Nothing in the patent implies the SCD GPU will work in SLI with the core GPU.
If its a thunderbolt connected external GPU that takes over, a PCI express connection or a PCI type plug in, you could not defend that patent....does not compute in my head.

I guess patent is so vague nobody seems to get it.

Do you have an idea what it could be ?
 

LordRaptor

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If its a thunderbolt connected external GPU that takes over, a PCI express connection or a PCI type plug in, you could not defend that patent....does not compute in my head.

I guess patent is so vague nobody seems to get it.

Do you have an idea what it could be ?
Rösti;209926740 said:
Lastly, a small summary of the SCD patent:


  • Supplemental computing device(s) configured to detachably couple to a game console in order to provide processing resources for an increase of speed or quality of a user's gaming experience.
  • The supplemental computing device includes one or more processors, memory and one or more communication interfaces.
  • In some instances, the functionality of the device may be basic in order to keep a cost of the device relatively low. As such, the device may be free from drivers, video cards, user-control interfaces, and the like.
  • Users may share processing resources. Doing so can compensate a user in form of access to other supplemental computing devices maintained by other users, discounts on games, access to certain game content, points for redemption for digital or physical goods, social network badges, any form of value really.
More comprehensive descriptions are of course available directly via the patent text. Search 14/294704 here.
.

Personally I suspect it is in execution going to be closer to wireless network clustering, where you opt-in to 'share' your device with any passersby and are rewarded with free VC games or whatever to do so; whether thats the equivalent of free wifi and GPS connections and P2P software downloads from anyone you pass by with those features available, or to full on clustered computing / streaming I don't know.

I don't think its describing a laptop docking station, but it could be.
 

blu

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If its a thunderbolt connected external GPU that takes over, a PCI express connection or a PCI type plug in, you could not defend that patent....does not compute in my head.

I guess patent is so vague nobody seems to get it.

Do you have an idea what it could be ?
I think nothing will run in SLI (a highly symmetrical setup, in its nature). I think the SCD will not rely even on a 10Gb link. I think the SCD/core communication will be highly asymmetrical and serviceable over multiple/redundant ethernet/wifi channels.
 

RPGam3r

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I'll say it sounds like a hardware unit, lets call it a handheld, could be placed on another piece of hardware, lets call it a docking station, to give extra processing power needed to improve a game being displayed on a TV.
 

Nanashrew

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I gotta ask, why would it be a handheld? It doesn't make any sense at all and sounds like a serious drain on the battery. Also why would a household need more than one or two handhelds when the patent also brings up the possibility of daisy chaining?

It's sounds impractical and a waste of internal space for a handheld and its battery. It sounds better as a standalone and stationary device so that all of the resources are made available to anything within the household and always powered on.
 

Hilarion

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I can't wait for all of the NeoGAF threads if this is the actual direction they go.

"Nintendo wants me to buy the NX and four SCDs in order to max out my games? That's over a thousand dollars, what the hell?"

"Have you ever thought about buying fewer than four SCDs?"

"I want the best experience, obviously!"
 

Schnozberry

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So Neo and Scorpio aren't a thing? Or do you see them also getting no software support?

I don't think you're understanding this idea: the SCD is released, and rather than selling the old console with it, they update the console, as well.

So every time new hardware is released, Nintendo can say "and previous owners can get the same benefit for XXXX less by buying this instead". And every iteration would have an SCD that brings the prior iteration in line with the current one.

Some would argue "retail confusion", but that's easily resolved by making these SCD devices something that's bought exclusively through Nintendo or retailers online, instead of in-store, which would be selling base consoles only.
I understand the idea, I just think it sucks. Neo and Scorpio aren't extra boxes you have to attach to your original equipment to see the benefit. They are new consoles that also play old games. If the SCD is essentially a replacement console, how is it any different than what Microsoft and Sony are doing with their upgrade cycle? Nintendo would be better off standardizing on one UI and just selling cheap consoles, with the promise of more powerful replacements coming every X number of years to keep up with technological advancement. It needs to be something more clever than daisy chaining a power boost to your console.

The SCD as a cloud computing and storage device could be an easy sell if it is priced reasonably close with other storage. It could also act as a cloud gateway to take your paused game states from your console and stream them to a handheld while you're on the road. Buying one and opting in to P2P networking could potentially get you access to a Games with Gold Service, or include a membership to a virtual console subscription when you allow Nintendo to use your bandwidth to distribute games. These are just the possibilities that came off the top of my head. I'm sure smarter people could come up with better ones.

I think people are too caught up at the idea of this being some kind of power boost for the console, and are ignoring some of the other potential of the patent.
 

Speely

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If the NX ends up being SCD-based and does it right, I will buy all the things. I don't even care. The patent suggests some cool possibilities.
 
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it just seems strange
Nintendo downplays specs all the time and they now have a patent for extra computing thingy
You're talking about the same company that made the N64 expansion pack and the N3DS. This is the same concept. Keep their base product cheap and low-powered, pay more for a premium product add-on.

Whether that's good or bad is up for discussion, but to me it seems like a very Nintendo thing to do. It's not about great specs as much as it is having an excuse/justification to keep costs down for the base product without add-ons.
 

Plum

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Hand held console. Get home and plug into box under TV for better graphics and performance?

I don't know but hope its this
If it's this and Pokemon Go isn't a complete distant memory by then Nintendo should port the phone game to the handheld then create a new Pokemon Stadium type game on the home system. Make both free and have the Stadium game work with pre-caught mobile Pokemon and Nintendo would print money.

I'll take my payment by cheque, Nintendo.
 

Snakeyes

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Ribbon cables are still tried and true technology that could definitely be utilised for it, so that makes sense. Hell, even just PCI slots could be modified to work.

Also, I don't think cost is that big of a factor, potentially.

The base model is the cheap part, any expansion just needs to be cheaper than the equivelant competing console.

$100 for a base unit that's below the XO power wise and outputs modern games at 720p. Another $100 for the same games at 1080p with nicer textures, $200+ for a Neo level upgrade.

Then maybe a $500 hardcore enthusiast option around the time Scorpio comes out for true 4K, and a higher flop count, just to fuck with MS
I doubt they'll do tiered SCDs. The concept of modular upgrades for a home console has traditionally been a hard sell in the first place, and multiple options would make it even harder to market.

What we'll probably see if the SCD is used to significantly boost the console's processing power is something like this;

NX (Gen 1) - somewhere in the PS4/XB1 range.
NX (Gen 1) + SCD (Gen 1) - brings the NX in the neighborhood of the mid-gen refreshes.
NX (Gen 2) ≈ NX (G1) + SCD (G1). First gen NX is phased out.

Rinse and repeat. They might let you stack two SCDs for high-end performance but I don't think it'll go further than that.
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
I doubt they'll do tiered SCDs. The concept of modular upgrades for a home console has traditionally been a hard sell in the first place, and multiple options would make it even harder to market.

What we'll probably see if the SCD is used to significantly boost the console's processing power is something like this;

NX (Gen 1) - somewhere in the PS4/XB1 range.
NX (Gen 1) + SCD (Gen 1) - brings the NX in the neighborhood of the mid-gen refreshes.
NX (Gen 2) ≈ NX (G1) + SCD (G1). First gen NX is phased out.

Rinse and repeat. They might let you stack two SCDs for high-end performance but I don't think it'll go further than that.
The patent states this:

[0023] As described in further detail below, a game console may also couple to multiple supplemental computing devices to even further increase capabilities of the resulting game system. For instance, multiple supplemental devices may be daisy-chained to one another and/or the game console may be physically coupled or wirelessly coupled to other supplemental computing devices.
What kind of topology this daisy-chain may have is to be discussed.
 

Terrell

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I understand the idea, I just think it sucks. Neo and Scorpio aren't extra boxes you have to attach to your original equipment to see the benefit. They are new consoles that also play old games. If the SCD is essentially a replacement console, how is it any different than what Microsoft and Sony are doing with their upgrade cycle?
That you can pay significantly less for it?

Also, you clearly don't understand the idea, as you seem to think this precludes selling consoles with the new specs as a standalone, which I already outlined would be a likely part of the business model.

This is to prevent the problem Sony and MS will have with PS4s and XBOs after Neo and Scorpio are released: are people going to buy them when it obsolesces the hardware they just bought 3-4 years ago?

For people who didn't buy NX Mk I, Nintendo would release an NX Mk II. For those that did buy the Mk I, they now have a cheaper alternative to a whole new console purchase, which would save them money.

I don't know how much simpler I could make this so that you would understand it, because your response indicates that you clearly do not.

The SCD as a cloud computing and storage device could be an easy sell if it is priced reasonably close with other storage. It could also act as a cloud gateway to take your paused game states from your console and stream them to a handheld while you're on the road. Buying one and opting in to P2P networking could potentially get you access to a Games with Gold Service, or include a membership to a virtual console subscription when you allow Nintendo to use your bandwidth to distribute games. These are just the possibilities that came off the top of my head. I'm sure smarter people could come up with better ones.
Cloud computing has been a pretty hard sell to the masses overall, even by much bigger companies. I doubt Nintendo has the silver bullet that will suddenly make it marketable.
 

blu

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Imagine of the duct tape joke led Nintendo to this patent.
Well, they just had to combine that with conductivity and voila.

Seriously though, they most likely got the idea from the global surge of cloud services, addressing the latency issue by bringing the remote side much, much closer to the user.
 

Fredrik

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It's like I'm watching the meme about X amount of GameCubes duct taped together become a reality.
If this is what you're getting out of this then look at Rösti's post above. It sounds like you can have your own server park of SCDs (whatever they may be, maybe your PC, phone, tablet, etc) which can be wired or wirelessly connected to the base console to improve the performance. Sounds interesting but I don't get how the games are supposed to be coded to take advantage of all that potential power but not look like or run like utter crap on a base console with no SCDs. Will it calculate the performance and set the resolution to 720p-1080p-4K and visuals to LOW-MEDIUM-HIGH-ULTRA automatically?
 

Dagobert Duck

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Rösti;211696305 said:
Update: On July 27, 2016, an Issue Notification was published.



Source: http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/view/BrowsePdfServlet?objectId=IR5L98UCRXEAPX1&lang=DINO

Issue date is August 16, 2016, then. It means in other words that the patent will be granted then.
If this will already be used for the NX, does that mean they can already produce the units right now or can they just start massproducing something like that, once the patent has been granted?

This is confusing...
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
If this will already be used for the NX, does that mean they can already produce the units right now or can they just start massproducing something like that, once the patent has been granted?

This is confusing...
Nintendo can choose to begin production of these units at any time, they don't need to wait for the patent grant. The USPTO says this about patent grants:

A patent grant is an intellectual property right granted by the U.S. Government to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.
Source: http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/electronic-data-products/issued-patents-patent-grants-data-products

Best is to wait though for patent grant before starting production of something as substantial as this, in order to avoid problems (litigation mainly).
 
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Dascu

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If this will already be used for the NX, does that mean they can already produce the units right now or can they just start massproducing something like that, once the patent has been granted?

This is confusing...
Nintendo can already make these things years ago, with or without patent. The patent will allow them to block others making or planning to make the same thing.
 

Stilton Disco

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With what we know know about it being a hybrid, but apparently cheaper than most expect, what's a realistic application for this patent that wouldn't break the bank?

More RAM for higher resolution textures, and a small cheap processor to help with upressing to 1080p maybe? Or would simply supplying more power from the mains still count?
 

Dagobert Duck

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Nintendo can already make these things years ago, with or without patent. The patent will allow them to block others making or planning to make the same thing.
So my guess is, that the delay was because of this. If they started showing that off beforehand, copying would be easily possible due to not having the patent yet, now they got it, they can show off what they have and Sony/Microsoft whatever cant just copy it...

Interesting...
 

Dascu

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So my guess is, that the delay was because of this. If they started showing that off beforehand, copying would be easily possible due to not having the patent yet, now they got it, they can show off what they have and Sony/Microsoft whatever cant just copy it...

Interesting...
Not necessarily. Even a competitor would bring out a such a device today, they'd be able to get it off the market again with their patent due in August.

The delay is probably more about software/hardware production issues, or because they're afraid of copying by competitors on different aspects which they cannot block via patents.
 

Squall5042

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Design wise I hope it looks something like the Wii, and slides into a dock at a striking angle.

The Wii is still one of my favorite console designs.
 

Stilton Disco

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So my guess is, that the delay was because of this. If they started showing that off beforehand, copying would be easily possible due to not having the patent yet, now they got it, they can show off what they have and Sony/Microsoft whatever cant just copy it...

Interesting...
I can't imagine it was Sony or MS they were worried about.

Sony aren't going to touch the mobile market again with a barge poll, even a hybridised one, and MS's approach to the mobile market is built around high end premium, professional devises, not mass consumer casual gaming.

Now all those cheap android gaming tablets and micro consoles that get churned out, the companies that make 'me too' devices with very fast turn arounds and low quality for a quick buck, that's who I think the cloak and dagger approach was for.