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A newly uncovered patent filed by The Pokémon Company, the branch of Nintendo responsible for the fantastically popular pocket monster franchise, hints that a new handheld device which brings Pokémon-style battles and contactless technology together may be in the works.

Filed in March this year but kept under wraps until today, the joint patent by Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Ambrella – a game developer responsible for a number of Pokémon spin-off titles – refers to a device which makes use of NFC (near-field communication) wireless technology not unlike that used in Nintendo’s recently announced Amiibo figures for 3DS. The device was reportedly invented by Norio Matsumura, a director who has had a hand in a number of Pokémon games.

As well as providing the above concept sketch, gaming news site DualShockers lists excerpts from the patent itself:

“An example system includes: a contactless communication unit for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium having a contactless communication function; a data acquiring unit for acquiring data stored in the data storage medium by the contactless communication unit; a display processing unit for displaying at least one content stored in a content storage unit and a content according to data acquired by the data acquiring unit on a display unit as selection objects; a selection accepting unit for accepting selection by a user for a content displayed by the display processing unit; and an information processing unit for performing information processing pertaining to a content, which is an object of selection accepted by the selection accepting unit.”

It should be noted that the patent does not in itself refer to Pokémon. The inclusion of The Pokémon Company and Ambrella, however, not to mention later sections’ discussion of such things as character growth (or levelling up to you and me) and the collection of toppled enemy characters, is very telling.

While it’s true that not every patent filed comes to fruition, it certainly sounds like there’s a good chance that we’ll see a Pokémon-themed device of some sort sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Source: DualShockers, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Image via DualShockers