In this generation, it seems companies would do just about anything to be on top. From stealing, or mimicking ideas that are popular. A recent patent published by Sony looks to be somewhat similar to Nintendo’s WiiU.
In 2009 the patent filed, almost 2 years before Nintendo’s Wii U was showcased at 2011’s E3 Expo. According to a portion of the patent’s description:
“A portable electronic device comprises a display facing in a first direction, a video camera facing in a second direction substantially opposite to the first direction, a receiver operable to receive supplementary image data from a remote image source, the supplementary image data comprising an indication of where a supplementary image is positioned with respect to a reference image, and in which the portable electronic device is arranged in operation to display a captured image from the video camera on the display of the portable electronic device, and when the captured image comprises all or part of the reference image as displayed on a separate display, the portable electronic device is arranged in operation to display the supplementary image positioned with respect to the reference image, instead of the corresponding part of the captured image.”
However seeing how the Wii U’s camera (which faces frontward) and its use in self portraits in games and for gestures, it looks as Nintendo may be able to slip out of a possible patent infringement lawsuit, not to mention that images displayed on the Wii U’s gamepad is used to interact with the screen as opposed to a direct visual overlap that is described in the Sony patent.
Sony and Nintendo are heavy competitors in the gaming industry, but I don’t think Sony would try to sue Nintendo over something this petty. I believe Sony would want Nintendo to proceed with their console which will bring them the motivation to improve their next PlayStation console.