If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you may have noticed that folks are spinning their gears contemplating the nature of a mysterious “game controller” application that Nintendo just filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Most seem to think it’s related to a rumoured, upcoming expansion of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service.
Let’s start at the beginning. Earlier this month, Nintendo insider and leaker Nate the Hate sparked rumours that Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games are coming to the Nintendo Switch Online service. Eurogamer later corroborated this speculation, saying other “retro platforms” were also headed to NSO. This has prompted folks to assume Game Boy Advance games are in the cards as well.
But then this week, Nate the Hate suggested again that not only are Game Boy and Game Boy Colour games definitely joining Nintendo’s subscription service, but that Nintendo 64 games are allegedly making their way to NSO, too. And later on the 16th, Twitter user SamusHunter2 noticed that Nintendo had just filed some sort of “game controller”-related application with the FCC.
The description doesn’t explicitly mention the Nintendo Switch, but the console’s peripheral model numbers all share the prefix “HAC,” which is also present in the new filing. Unfortunately, any parts of the FCC filing that would reveal product specifics are hidden. And while there’s nothing particularly spectacular to glean from the handful of currently readable PDFs, that didn’t stop hardcore Nintendo fans from going wild with predictions for what this apparent controller could be.
Nintendo officially submitted an FCC filing for a new controller (HAC-043) https://t.co/6Mm6mKWDH9
– We should know within 180 days (confidential ends)
– HAC-042 is SNES NSO controller
– Same battery as JoyCon and SNES NSO
– USB-C charging
– Some think it's N64 due to the labels pic.twitter.com/Uk5hDoYvzl
— Nintendeal (@Nintendeal) September 16, 2021
Couple the copious amounts of speculation with the fact that a few anniversaries for Nintendo products are coming up — Axios reporter (and previous Kotaku EIC) Stephen Totillo noted that NSO’s third anniversary falls on September 18, while the N64 celebrates its 25th anniversary on September 29 — and you can kind of start to see why people are expecting some retro-related NSO news. For his part, LootPots founding editor Jack Parsons sounds pretty darn sure that the new hardware mentioned in the filing is “mostly likely” tied to a new NSO offering. Nate the Hate also believes a price hike for the subscription service is imminent, too, to coincide with the service expanding its content offerings.
So, where does all this speculation leave us? If the Nintendo 64-on-NSO rumours bear out, it’s easy to imagine the “game controller” now filed with the FCC is in fact a replica N64 controller for use with the Switch. All speculation, of course. It could just be another Joy-Con. In any case, there seems to be a fervent call for a Nintendo Direct in either September or October, which is typically when Nintendo holds one. Given the multiple anniversaries converging, maybe Nintendo will indulge its fans and finally spill some tea.