There's mounting evidence that Nintendo's NX console will use cartridges

By midian182 · 22 replies
May 6, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. The last video game console to use cartridges (excluding handhelds) was the Nintendo 64, which launched twenty years ago. But nostalgia fans may soon have a reason to rejoice, as recent rumors indicate that the Japanese company may be reviving the format for its upcoming NX system.

    The news comes from Japan-based financial website Money-Link, via Screen Critics, which states that chip manufacturer Macronix – the company that provides memory-related chips to Nintendo for its 3DS cartridges – is expecting a significant increase in orders from the firm.

    In Money-Link’s report, Macronix "suggested that as Nintendo had just announced it will release a new generation console in March next year, and the console will be launched at the same time in Japan, America and Europe, ROM sales are expected to increase in the latter half of this year, and it will have a large growth potential."

    Additionally, Macronix is testing a new line of 32 nanometer ROM chips, which are much smaller than the 72nm chips used in the 3DS cartridges, lending more credence to the rumors that Nintendo will move away from optical media with the NX.

    There’s also the fact that the upcoming system is said to be hybrid of a handheld and a home console; using discs in such a device would limit its portability. Moreover, Nintendo has filed a patent for a system that has a slot for reading memory cards but no disc drive.

    Nintendo has said that it won’t be selling the NX at a loss. As a system without an optical drive and a hard drive would save on manufacturing costs, it looks as if we really could see the return of home console cartridges in March next year.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I'll be surprised. I would love it if they used cartridges, but the cost versus and optical disc... I just can't see it happening.
    squirrle likes this.
  3. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    I wouldn't be surprised at all.
    Look at the data they can put on a SSD or MicroSD, and how reliable it is. (Well, usually).
    You can get the same digital quality as a Blu Ray Disc, if not better.

    Cost is the only issue here, but its give and take.
    It might cost a little more to make 64GB/128GB cartridges but they will save money building a console to run it.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
    squirrle likes this.
  4. Thrackerzod

    Thrackerzod TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +30

    Solid state media is dirt cheap now, especially when buying in massive quantities the way Nintendo would be.
    squirrle likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,343   +1,987

    And the real savings isn't as much with the cartridge as it is with the machine itself. Cartridge is a little more expensive because of the assembly & final testing, but in the long run it is barely noticeable since either can be produced for less than $1 per unit.
  6. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Yea, this is something I could see happening because the cost of small media and flash storage is way down. The savings then converted to the consoles not requiring massive HDD's, optical drives, and such will come down along with the fact that failure rates will drop from not having the optical drives and HDD's which are parts ripe for failure. I wonder how they will handle the internal storage (If its going to be memory cards as well) then for downloadable content and such.

    Sounds like an interesting device.
  7. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I agree that it is getting cheaper, but optical discs are even cheaper. We'll have to wait and see what they do
  8. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Plus the size and cost of a card reader (even a proprietary one) would probably be smaller/cheaper than having an HDD/SDD and/or Optical Disc system.

    I can't remember where I read it, but I heard a rumor somewhere they might handle the cartridge with two areas of storage: a read only ROM for the original game, and then a writable side for saved games, profiles/statistics, and updates. If they do handle it this way, they would need practically no storage on the console besides what is required for the Console's OS, OS updates, and cache storage for online material. Oh and I guess storage for virtual console.

    Edit: also, does anyone else have the sudden urge to play Mario Party? No? Just me? huh...
  9. andy06shake

    andy06shake TS Evangelist Posts: 451   +126

    I suppose rom storage has essentially come of age with regards to memory size and read/write speeds but Nintendo need to factor in the cost compared to the price of a DvD/Blu Ray disc. I can see there next console coming with inadequate store space because of the use of cartridges. When will they ever learn???
  10. squirrle

    squirrle TS Rookie

    Right, I've still got NES cartridges that work very well and you can play them forever unlike a disc that after so many uses they are no longer playable.
  11. squirrle

    squirrle TS Rookie

    A bluray disc is capable of handling 500 gig of data, period, and it cannot be written to later. I bought a 200 gig sd card for my phone from China for $12 US and the size of these chips is getting smaller and smaller so there is more opportunity for much larger than 500 gig carts for the NX.
  12. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    But you might have to blow on them a few times ;P
  13. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Addict Posts: 155   +82

    Your FULL of $hit. A Blu Ray is 25 GIG per layer with 4 layer max. That is 100 GIG
  14. The 200GB micro SD card is almost certainly a fake just like what you'll find all over eBay.
    It'll be a lower capacity card flashed to appear as something larger.

    Do some tests on it and see if it'll hold 200GB of data without corrupting. I'd be incredibly surprised if it passed.
  15. thedrelle

    thedrelle TS Enthusiast Posts: 61   +12

    Your response is inappropriate, especially considering your correction only serves to reinforce what the previous poster was saying.
    Drew Valadez likes this.
  16. Drew Valadez

    Drew Valadez TS Member

    Does this mean this is the goto cosole for those with little kids? I don't have to freak out so much about optical disc getting the $hit scratched out of them? Cause seriously, that was like the first selling point for me when I was reading this article. Games that can be kid-proofed and I don't have to make the "only I change the game" rule like with a DVD or blu-ray.
  17. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    Another advantage of switching to cartridge is that load times would be a lot faster and overall visual quality (pop-in, etc) because of improved real time speed make it a great idea. Disc based gaming has show it's obsolescence this generation due to every game having to be installed on the hard drive and the disc basically serving as just the DRM check. A hard drive, even the 5400 RPM drives in the Xbox and PS4 are faster than optical, but cartridge games would be faster than a hard drive.

    Cartridges would make the initial cost of the console less as well. No optical drive and maybe just some smaller on-board storage space for game saves and apps. Have an accessible expansion bay on the console to optionally add a 2.5" Sata drive if the user wants.
  18. charlesdjones1

    charlesdjones1 TS Rookie

    It's nice that everyone commenting are industry experts on manufacturing costs.. Don't know what I would do without 25 of the same comments "That's smart because the cost to manufacture memory is way down.." Keep it up everyone.
    SirChocula likes this.
  19. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    I sure hope they don't make another one so fast my gf dropped 400$ on a wii u in december.
  20. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 855   +121

    Optical media has terrible random access which is why games have to be installed.

    While they'll spend more on game cartridges, they'll save on internal hard disks and optical drives on the console.

    Meaning they can spend that money on higher performance. Hopefully we'll see the return of SNES type approach and go for incredible graphics and quality instead of gimmicky controllers and touchscreens.
  21. ArdvarkMaster

    ArdvarkMaster TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +14

    So does this mean NX will not be backwards compatible with WiiU and Wii? Or, if it is, will you need to make separate purchase of an optical drive?
  22. umbala

    umbala TS Maniac Posts: 197   +176

    "Nintendo has said that it won’t be selling the NX at a loss."

    That right there means the whole thing will auto-fail. You cannot make a console system that can compete on specs with other systems and also make you money. It just can't be done. It might be time for Nintendo to pack up their bags and call it a day.
  23. kuroiei

    kuroiei TS Enthusiast Posts: 93   +31

    Imagine cartridge demand / shortages - it's not a medium that would be easily copied. Amiibo again? And this works really good for Nintendo, as prices skyrocket in the aftermarket.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...