Based on the design blueprints, it seems that the case's buttons will be placed over your smartphone's touchscreen and are meant to recognize and register any commands you might input.
This may look like a GameBoy, but it has a touchscreen device inside. Nintendo has filed a patent application for a Game Boy Casing for touchscreen devices, and what use is a Game Boy case without Game Boy games?
As the images below show, the case has been fitted with a capacitive D-pad and A-B buttons, meaning they could be used to control and interact with the touchscreen beneath. The patent describes how games will be viewed through this opening while the case is closed. This, paired with an app, would allow gamers to play single screen Game Boy games with a far superior interface than all touch.
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An additional cutout is also included for the smartphone's front-facing camera - could Game Boy Camera functionality be making a comeback?
Since the invention of smartphones, the phone case industry has been developing all types of cases, including ones that look like the first Game Boy. The decision to keep these parts of a user's phone available could be because Nintendo is intending this to be more than a novelty. Both titles are utterly addictive, and welcome additions to the Nintendo game library.
While the examples show the case being used on a smartphone, Nintendo has said it may not exclusively be used for just phones and "may be attached to other electronic equipment such as a tablet terminal that does not have a telephone function". "Pokemon Go" was a global phenomenon when it launched in July 2016 and "Fire Emblem Heroes" has grossed more than $400 million worldwide since its launch in February 2017.