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This concept of a handheld gaming PC patent has almost all of the hallmarks of that little ol' gadget, the Nintendo Switch. Guess who submitted the invention? It's none other than Tencent.
Being one of the most financially valuable companies in the world has its perks. Founded in 1998, Tencent Holdings brought in $60.6 billion in revenue in 2020, which is an increase of more than 20% year-on-year. Not bad for a year where the pandemic saw countless businesses close their doors for good. Specialising in social networks, music, instant messaging, web browsers, anti-virus software, search engines, and even movie production, Tencent is in fact the world's largest video game vendor and has stakes in lots of well-known publishers and developers. It has full ownership of Riot Games, Funcom, and Leyou, as well as shares in Epic Games, Dontnod Entertainment, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and PlatinumGames.
And, as shown by this announcement, it has no intentions of slowing down. The patent itself was submitted in October of last year, noted by Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad. The untitled product is primarily made from black intersecting panels, with two sticks flaunting a blue shade underneath. This blue is copied on the D-Pad and the X, Y, A, B buttons on either side of the screen, and on the buttons that look like a keyboard and the button that looks like the Microsoft logo. The screen does not detach from the controllers, and there are triggers on the back of the handheld. Moreover, the sides of the product are much chunkier than those of the Switch, but I'm willing to say that Nintendo's console definitely inspired this design. Tencent is certainly not the first to come out with a product that looks extremely like the Switch.
Tencent obtained a patent for a "PC Video Game Console" today, which was originally submitted in October 2020.
The images show that the console adopts a similar design to the Nintendo Switch, but has Windows 10 related buttons and would likely run Windows / PC games. pic.twitter.com/FFL9tW9J1r
- Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 19, 2021
So, when is a Switch not a Switch? Simple. When it plays PC games, which is what this device is intended to do. This would let Tencent distribute games like League of Legends, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Minecraft as well as its own PC portfolio to allow players to pick up and play on the go. What is most interesting about this development is that Tencent distributes the Switch in China. With its own handheld product, it could undercut the Switch and simultaneously offer many more games than that of Nintendo's platform. Yes, the Switch has lots of exclusives, but there's something to be said about continuing your PC playthroughs on the train ride home.
Ahmad correctly clarifies that this patent is not essentially indicative of Tencent's ambitions to enter the console arena, and as it would run Windows, it wouldn't wholly be its own thing. Still, it is a noteworthy bit of news from one of the biggest companies in Asia.
Featured Image Credit: Valve, Tencent