Nintendo has filed a patent for a console that is digital only, containing no optical disk drive whatsoever.
The patent was originally spotted by a NeoGaf user named Rosti, who posted the information he has regarding a Nintendo console. According to the official patent filing’s abstract, the device “is not provided with an optical disk drive,” suggesting that the console will be entirely digital.
The patent, originally filed in February 2015 before being posted yesterday, shows games being stored on a hard drive, and it also mentions ADSL or optical communication. This means the Nintendo NX could be 100% digital, but it also could mean that the publisher could opt for a subscription service or a game-streaming service (think EA Access but for every Nintendo NX game…definitely an interesting idea).
It could also mean that they’re just scrapping the disc model only, and the Nintendo NX would use cartridges similar to the Nintendo 3DS. In fact, that might actually be the more likely scenario, especially if the new console has a handheld peripheral with it of some sort where users could just take the small cartridge out of the NX and take it with them via the handheld NX. There’s also mention of an SD card slot, so what if Nintendo started selling NX games on SD cards? This would mean faster read times for games, and SD cards are dropping dramatically in price. With the hybrid theory floating around that the Nintendo NX will include a handheld system, an SD card or return to cartridges makes perfect sense.
We are, of course, skeptical of a Nintendo NX that is digital only, with the biggest issue being the inability to sell/buy used games. But if Nintendo were to implement a subscription service model that granted access to a catalog of their titles for the entire life of the console, it would be catch the ears of the gaming community and peak interest in the Nintendo NX.
Speculation mode running rampant. What are your thoughts on an all digital console?