Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Wall Street Journal is claiming that games for Nintendo’s NX console will come on cartridges.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that the NX will use cartridges instead of the currently-much-more-common optical discs (Eurogamer made a similar claim in July), but if the console is also meant to function as a handheld, it makes a certain amount of sense.
The Wall Street Journal argues that the near-indestructibility of cartridges is something the family-friendly Nintendo is very interested in:
Industry watchers said cartridges were a reasonable choice for Nintendo’s next-generation system, code-named NX, because the company targets a wider range of consumers than Sony or Microsoft. Nintendo’s core fans include small children, who might scratch discs but find cartridges tougher to damage. Cartridges also allow games to load faster, are harder to copy and can be mass-produced faster than discs, they said.
The Wii U currently uses a Nintendo-specific flavor of Blu-ray, so if the NX were to use cartridges instead of discs, it’s unlikely that the NX would have any kind of backwards compatibility features, which have become a standard part of Nintendo’s consoles over the years.
Nintendo is widely expected to officially unveil the NX sometime this month. But bear in mind that even that is just a rumor at this point.