Something is brewing over at Nintendo! In addition to the strange rubber ring meant for physical exertion, they’ve just filed a patent that seems to be the plans for hinged Joy-Cons for the Nintendo Switch.
The patent was filed completely in Japanese but based on the images provided, it appears that the hinges on the Joy-Con allow users to bend the upper portion away from the player slightly. The left thumbstick, as well as the button pad on the right Joy-Con, will be the portions that are bent back.
Speculation is that the new design is meant to provide greater comfort for players, but the Joy-Cons still snap back to their typically flat design when detached to the screen for two-player gameplay. This could mean that this new design is suited towards players who carry the Nintendo Switch around as their primary gaming console and generally prefer single-player games.
There are concerns about the functionality of such a design, as the Nintendo Switch Lite already had to do away with the HD rumble and infrared motion camera due to the reduced size. With the addition of hinges, the Switch may lose more functionality.
In spite of everything, there is no confirmation that Nintendo will pursue the development of this new design and even if they do, it seems unlikely that it will replace the base design. Instead, it may just be a novelty Joy-Con, much like a new funky colour combination.