It has been previously rumored that the hybrid console Nintendo NX will be using cartridges, departing from the discs used by the Wii U and following the footsteps of the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device.
A new report has now surfaced that further confirms that gamers will be popping cartridges into the Nintendo NX.
According to sources of the Wall Street Journal, while the video game industry prefers using discs to physically distribute games due to the lost cost of the medium and the high amount of data that they can hold, Nintendo has decided to use cartridges for the Nintendo NX.
The main problem with using cartridges to physically distribute games is that they are able to carry less amounts of data compared with discs. The game discs used by Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One are capable of storing up to 50 GB of data, and even then, further installs are required to be made on the hard drives of the consoles. It is unclear if Nintendo NX cartridges will be able to hold as much data.
However, cartridges also come with several advantages compared with discs. Chip-based cartridges have developed to be increasingly viable over the recent years because of the advancement in flash memory technology, which has increased their speed and capacity. As companies including Toshiba and Samsung continue to compete in the industry, cartridges could very well soon rival the capabilities of discs.
In addition, games in cartridges load much faster compared with games in discs, with discs also much more prone to damage such as breaking and scratching compared with cartridges. Cartridges also present a harder challenge for pirates who would be trying to copy the games.
With the Nintendo NX being a hybrid console that can function as both a portable gaming device and a tabletop system, the smaller size of the cartridges would also be better for the console compared with the amount of space that a disc reader would take. In addition, it would be harder for gamers on the go to carry around delicate discs compared with packing cartridges.
Lastly, there is also the nostalgia factor, though along with the stated reasons above, giving the Nintendo NX a retro feel by using cartridges can simply be considered a bonus.
The Nintendo NX, as a handheld console, will feature its own display with controls on either side of the screen. As a tabletop system, the device can be connected to a television, with gamers able to detach the controls to use them as controllers.
Recent rumors regarding the Nintendo NX claimed that the detachable controllers will have basic motion control support, similar to the Wii Remote Plus, and will have multiple vibration levels to mimic different movements.