There has been much mystery and speculation surrounding the Nintendo NX. With E3 just behind us, and no word from Nintendo about the console, many fans have been taking any rumors or information and running with them. Recently, leaks in the gaming scene have mostly come from trademark companies or behind-the-scenes product orders. One such leak was from Macronix, Nintendo’s usual 3DS cartridge materials go-to. Spotted in their finance reports, Nintendo is expecting a shipment of far too many cartridge ROM chips compared to their previous sales of 3DS games alone. Most of the original reports have already been taken down, but that doesn’t indicate anything much unless you really want to get conspiratorial about it.
This information, added to the patent Nintendo filed last year for a console without a disc drive, is driving the rumors that the NX will drop discs for cartridges like the days of old. I believe this would be a great move – most gamers are sick of loading, installing, and all the associated wait times of today’s disc-centric format. A return to cartridges could be a return to what made the old games great. Load times would be reduced significantly, if not completely wiped out, and you could get right into the action as soon as you put the game in the first time. I think many older gamers would love this, we’ve all come home from the daily grind to sit down and relax to…loading screens. Time is precious; being able to pop in and out quickly from games really helps with accessibility.
If done correctly, this could be a huge change to the market overall. Internet access and hard drives would still allow for DLC to be made and sold. These cartridges could even have re-writable memory to load DLC directly onto it, but more likely they would work in the same fashion as the 3DS currently does by downloading updates to your internal memory or SD card.
Collectors such as myself would probably appreciate this as well. It’s hard to find physical copies that are worth buying these days. Most manuals are straight forward with no story or background information, sometimes just one page. Cover art becomes more lacking in creativity as games become more realistic. Similar to the resurgence of vinyl collections for music in this mostly-digital age, I think physical copies of games on cartridges have a better chance of giving you something worth paying the bit extra for, instead of just a round piece of plastic you never see when using. Bigger boxes to display, maybe varying colours of outer shell or opacity, full-size manuals…there’s just much more depth to explore for special editions or fancy versions, instead of trying to pack it all into a tiny, slim Blu-Ray case. I miss the days of gold cartridges and big (physically large) releases.
If any company is going to do the unexpected, it’s Nintendo. Keep an eye out for more news in future leading up to the release of the NX in 2017. It’s sure to be something exciting.