Documents have come to light today indicating that Nintendo have renewed the trademarks for their fifth-generation console, the Nintendo 64, suggesting they may be planning to release an N64 Mini console in the near future.
The legal papers, posted to Japanese resource J-Platpat (Japanese Platform for Patent Information) indicate the renewal of the legendary Nintendo brand. The exact reason for this is as yet unknown, as companies will routinely file this kind of paperwork to avoid the expiration of their trademarks and intellectual property.
This is a fairly standard business practice and occurred last year as the Japanese games titan trademarked the classic appearance and aesthetic of the original Game Boy, likely to prevent bootleg products or imitation merchandise (such as tote bags and umbrellas) from entering the market.
However, one logical explanation is that they could be gearing up for the worldwide release of a possible N64 Mini unit, and this would corroborate Nintendo’s renewal of the same N64 trademarks in Europe last year. What supports this thinking is that the trademark papers specifically codify elements including a “TV game machine” (an accurate description of the Mini consoles) and related peripherals for the unit.
This would follow a certain pattern if this was within Nintendo’s master plan, as they helmed the release of NES and SNES Mini models in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Another less tantalising conclusion is that Nintendo could potentially be readying a Switch store to coincide with the launch of Switch Online, ensuring that some of the company’s most popular titles, such as Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are ready for download in all regions without fear of any legal tie-ups.
Nintendo’s intentions are, as of now, unclear, but gamers should be granted more information at their E3 press conference, Nintendo Treehouse, which starts on June 12th.