Previously, it was reported that Nintendo’s upcoming console – still code-named as the ‘NX’ – will use cartridges again as the medium for the games. It’s a rather questionable decision, considering discs are now the norm. For those of you doubting whether Nintendo will really use a medium which is less capable of carrying large amounts of data, it looks like you’re going to have to start convincing yourself that it’s very much a reality.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, which was sourced from “people familiar with the matter”, Nintendo really “plans to adopt cartridges for its next-generation videogame console”. It’s interesting to see how the distribution of games will be affected by this decision, considering that discs – the medium used in today’s consoles, including the Wii U – are much cheaper to produces, not to mention more capable for data storage.
Of course, Nintendo isn’t a newbie in the cartridges business – in fact, the 3DS still uses cartridges. Prior to the GameCube, Nintendo also used cartridges for their home consoles. When you consider that the NX will be primarily a handheld console, with the ability to dock into a TV for home use, it’s not all that shocking that it will use the games medium similarly used by all their handheld consoles. After all, it’s a lot less of a hassle to pop cartridges on the move than discs. (Well, that’s assuming the NX cartridges are more portable than, say, the bulky ones used by the N64.)
The more cause for concern is whether a cartridge’s limited data storage will affect the quality of the games the NX can put up. Will Nintendo omit gameplay features that would otherwise make a game more complete just to lower the game’s size? And will third-party developers, whom Nintendo is reportedly forging stronger connections with, consent to having such limitations? Unfortunately, these questions can only be answered once the NX arrives next year.