Nintendo has promised that it will not offer official information about the NX hardware platform until next year, but the company is still making official moves related to it that gamers are currently scanning for hints about what kind of platform is being created.
Recently, the Japanese company has filed a patent, according to NeoGAF, for a home console that lacks a traditional disc drive but includes a controller that has a display screen.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office registration explains that the device will have a classic hard drive disc that is designed to store "a program and/or data, a communication unit transmitting/receiving a program and/or data via a network, and a processor executing a program stored in the hard disc drive to perform game processing."
It's unclear how the team at Nintendo plans to get new content to the patented device, but they might be planning to rely more on the Internet connection that it will carry or maybe even on an entirely new type of storage.
The lack of information coming directly from the company might mean that the new patent is not linked to the NX but only to a version of the Wii U that might be introduced in the coming months.
The hardware has had disappointing sales, but Nintendo is almost obligated to continue to promote it until it introduces an entirely new generation of devices.
Both Microsoft and Sony are pushing a lot of new content for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 using the Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, so it might make sense for the new Nintendo device to entirely abandon the disc drive.
On the other hand, this might reduce its appeal with the public, especially if the company does not offer another physical option for those who want to use one.
Rumors from earlier in the year suggested that a final version of the NX would be created by Nintendo before the end of 2015, when a trial manufacturing run is supposed to take place at certain plants in China.
The full fabrication process is supposed to be started in the summer of next year, after the official announcement, with the launch of the device potentially coming in the fall of 2016.