It turns out Nintendo isn’t the only company intent on merging handheld devices with home console experiences. A patent uncovered by Games Beat, shows Sony had a similar concept in mind way back in 2010.
The patent – awarded the incredibly lengthy "position-dependent gaming, 3-D controller, and handheld as a remote” moniker – refers to a touch screen device that would operate similarly to the Wii U. According to the accompanying information, the device would be able to track its own location as an “input to a video game” and render “an avatar on a mobile device such that it appears to overlay a competing user in the real world”.
The patent continues:
Using the mobile device’s position, view direction, and the other user’s mobile device position, an avatar (or vehicle, etc.) is depicted at an apparently inertially stabilized location of the other user’s mobile device or body. Some embodiments may estimate the other user’s head and body positions and angles and reflect them in the avatar’s gestures.
Seeing as the patent only refers to the hypothetical controller as a “handheld device” it’s difficult to know whether the gadget in question is simply a PlayStation Vita or perhaps a separate game controller designed for a future console.
Our guess is that, as with so many patents, this listing is just Sony covering its back. Only this time, it appears Nintendo pipped them to the post. Interesting stuff, nonetheless.