A patent application for a new console by Nintendo has been published online.
The schematics show a lack of disc drive, instead having programs loaded on a memory card, much like older cartridge-based consoles. The application, made on 10th February of this year and published last week, was first discovered by NeoGAF and has left people questioning the future direction of Nintendo consoles.
The patent application states “In recent years, high-speed communication such as ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) or optical communication has widely been spread.”
“A user can enjoy playing a game using a game apparatus without purchasing a recording medium such as an optical disk.”
This may even point to the next Nintendo console being online only – with no physical media being needed. The last major home console to be produced without an optical disc drive was the N64, released in 1996, which used game cartridges instead.
While cartridges offered fast loading times, they had very little space. This mean the move into 3D gaming, using CGI video and voice acting was seriously limited, hence why they were replaced by discs. Nintendo’s insistence on using cartridges instead of discs was partly responsible for Square Enix moving the Final Fantasy series to the PlayStation – and the latter console’s success over Nintendo.
The largest N64 cartridge (used by games such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Resident Evil 2) was 64MB in size, and a CD holds 700MB. But a modern dual-layer Blu-Ray, as commonly used by the PlayStation 4, is a huge 50GB.