Release Your Inner Snorlax with Nintendo’s New Patent

A lot of companies gamify health these days, using social media, movement rings, and weekly goals to promote healthier lifestyle choices. But when it comes to making sleep fun, who better to do that than Nintendo? The company received a patent for tracking sleep data and using it to control a game in June of 2021. Sound like a surprising entry to the sector? Nintendo has actually been filing patents for sleep since 2017 and has 21 patent assets. Most are for a game control system but some include hardware for controlling light sources based on sleep stages.

In 2019, Nintendo announced Pokemon Sleep, an app that would use the Pokemon Go Plus (a device that can be placed on the mattress) to track sleep and use it for gameplay. The game was originally scheduled to be released in 2020 but wasn’t, with no definitive timeline available. There are many reasons why game development may be delayed, but Nintendo is still actively pursuing patent prosecution, indicating a commitment to this technology. However, Nintendo’s patents don’t emphasize methods for actually detecting sleep. In 2013, Nintendo bought a stake in a Panasonic subsidiary to develop voice and facial recognition. Panasonic does have 40 patent assets in Consumer Sleep, including nine in sleep metrics, which may make it a good partner if Nintendo wants to accelerate hardware development. Keep up with Nintendo and other companies on the Consumer Sleep Patent Forecast®.