Designed to uplift the Nintendo Switch from merely a gaming device, the ‘Joy-Cam’ is a controller that snaps onto the side of the gaming console, giving it front and rear-facing cameras so you can capture photos/videos, play in immersive AR and MR, and even stream your reactions while you game. The Joy-Cam comes from the mind of UK-based designer, Liam de la Bedoyere, a tech enthusiast who believes the Nintendo Switch has much more potential than being simply a game console. Much like how the classic Game Boy came with its own add-on Game Boy Camera that could take rudimentary black-and-white low-res photos, the Joy-Cam gives the Switch photographic features, turning the console into a much more versatile multimedia device.
The Nintendo Joy-Cam has a large primary lens and a smaller front-facing lens built right into its design. Liam’s original idea was to give the Nintendo Switch DSLR-like capabilities with a large viewfinder, although it’s easy to also envision the Joy-Cam as a breakthrough augmented and mixed reality gaming device. The primary camera lets you see the world ahead of you on the Switch’s large OLED display, while also superimposing digital elements into the real world in what would truly be a Pokémon GO-rivaling experience. For Switch gamers who also like recording themselves while playing, the front-facing camera lets you stream your reactions too, providing a new easier way for Switch-gamers to stream to their audience. The Switch + Twitch combination feels so incredibly natural, doesn’t it??
Getting, however, to the Joy-Cam’s original purpose, it really turns the Nintendo Switch into a powerful camera, adding a fresh contender into the smartphone camera race. This time, however, modularity is the name of the game, as Nintendo can simply release newer, better camera controllers, allowing people to upgrade their lenses and sensors without necessarily buying a new device each time.
The Nintendo Joy-Cam’s hardware feels like an upgrade when compared to a smartphone camera too. Of course, it houses a MUCH bigger primary lens, as sleekness isn’t really a concern for gamers as much as it is for smartphone users. The Joy-Cam also comes with a selection-pad and a shutter button located right under your thumb, and an Autofocus/Manual toggle switch on the top, allowing you to either switch on the camera’s autofocusing abilities or rely on manually turning the focus ring on the lens to click incredible DoF shots with real bokeh. Lastly, a flash located right under the primary lens lets you shoot in low-light too, giving you all the features you need to go from gaming to photography. Could Nintendo inadvertently build the natural successor to the Phonebloks and Google/Motorola’s failed Project Ara experiment? Well, Liam de la Bedoyere shows exactly how to go about it!
Designer: Liam de la Bedoyere