Details of a patent filed by NINTENDO for a console with no optical drive is currently hitting the news – Some websites are saying that it could be NINTENDO’s new NX console, however nothing is confirmed.
A lot of talk suggests that NINTENDO is going for a completely online only gaming future because the patent describes no optical drive and shows game delivery by network such as ADSL – However this is unlikely and is thrown out of the window as the same patent also describes delivery of gaming through card based source; So it could be SD CARD/3DS gaming or cartridge source with online play thrown in for good measure.
My theory on this is, since Solid State Drives are becoming cheaper we could see NINTENDO game cartridges using SSD technology with whopping great sizes, think 100gb card sizes just for starters! The speed of SSD would make it a much faster and greater storage medium for massive games compared to BLURAY.
We may even see a return to the retro NES/SNES style and look of cartridges (yes please!) with SSD technology in the cartridge combined with custom chip technology for enhancing graphics of certain games (Nintendo has already used custom chip technology in the past with classics like STAR FOX on the SNES, with SUPER FX chip, so this won’t be a new thing).
The diagrams also show that the console/device will have the ability to connect to optical drives or other devices such as external hard drives. This could mean complete backward compatibility and the ability to create a complete entertainment system from your NINTENDO console.
My theory on this is that it could be a PC like structured ability to upgrade the console also – We may be able to just plug in extra RAM, Graphics Card, PROCESSOR at some later stage in the consoles’ life and with the network technology described we could see a vast online service with games and entertainment streamed/downloaded to the console or used in conjunctions with the solid state technology (no loading times! Like the good old days of cartridge gaming!).
The beauty of combining solid state with optical disk based gaming (as the system does hint at allowing connection to other devices) will be that the bulk of the main game could be stored in solid state while additional level content, graphics, textures, sound effects and music could be loaded in either through online or optical discs or whatever the additional medium provided – and this could be loaded progressively in sequence while you play the game. We could see some great big epics coming back in the same league as FINAL FANTASY 7, and how that was perceived in the late 90s on its multiple discs as an epic.
However these patent diagrams may be entirely something else that NINTENDO is cooking up for us, maybe not the NX - And the NINTENDO NX we are about to see may be a total surprise to us yet.
Article by Suchet Budon