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.