Forever on the hunt for its next major innovation, Nintendo has filed a patent for a "Massively Single-Player Online Game".
According to the patent, which was filed last year but published recently, such a game could be a single-player experience in which players' actions affect the environment and characters in their world and that of other players.
This, says Nintendo, would make for an online experience without the issue inherent in multiplayer gaming. The privacy this provides would be appreciated by "those who want to play games that are more dynamic, not-based on Al and not-pre-scripted like multiplayer games, however, don't want to 'deal' with other people".
It details single-player worlds that are linked online, so a player can build a house in a place where they found rubble and, form then onwards, other players would find that house (without ever seeing the builder). Or a player could tell a character some information and that character in another player's world would pass on that info.
It also speaks of a reactive economy system in which items that are rare or highly desired by the player, such as a purse in a fashion-style game or oil in a trading game, would increase in value.
Traditional multiplayer elements, it adds, can be incorporated, allowing players who have 'friended' each other to jump into each other's worlds and play together.
Sounds familiar, right? Animal Crossing 3DS, anyone?