At some point early next year, Nintendo will announce its next console, code name: the NX. Not much is known about it currently, but long-circulating rumors and reports indicate that it will be a handheld console capable of connecting to a TV. In other words, it won’t match Sony and Microsoft’s consoles in terms of powerhouse graphics or number-crunching capabilities, but it’ll still look good enough to play in your living room.
Knowing these details, The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that the NX will use cartridges instead of optical discs. At first glance, this can seem like a nostalgia play (Cartridges! Just like your N64 or SNES!), but it’s not really that interesting. That’s because “cartridges” in this case means solid-state memory. Nintendo’s DS and 3DS systems use SD cards to carry games, which technically count as cartridges. If you were hoping to blow in the slot again to get games to work, that ship has sailed. Also, why do you want that?
Using solid-state memory for their next system is really a no-brainer. Optical discs can carry more data, but they need to constantly spin, and they transfer data more slowly — they’re antithetical to the idea of a handheld console.
Nintendo has said it’ll release more info about the mysterious NX later this year.