GamePad Wii U

Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad allows for some interesting interaction between a TV and the screen on the controller, and now the publisher has secured the patent for a specific use of the technology.

Nintendo filed a patent for the Wii U’s “Panorama View,” which is what the company calls the controller’s ability to look around a 3D world while the television screen displays a forward-looking perspective of the action, according to Engadget. It’s the functionality that allows players to look through the GamePad as if it were a magic window that extends an image way beyond the TV and into a 360-degree space around you.

The “spatially correlated multi-display human-machine interface” patent lists Nintendo’s Genyo Takeda as the inventor. Takeda was a lead developer on the Wii hardware and previously worked as director on Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

This is a very specific patent since it only applies to technical solutions for 3D viewing that work with two displays, but it is potentially one that could cause troubles for potential future functionality on Microsoft’s SmartGlass (which expands a home-console gaming experience onto a tablet or smartphone) or Sony’s cross-play feature between the PlayStation Vita handheld and the PlayStation 3. Spatially aware applications for single-display devices like the iPad should remain unaffected.