Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 2, 2016

Email: Could NX carts be patchable?

Master Malstrom,

To my mind the main reason for wanting to use cartridges in a home console is it solves the slow optical disc access time problem. Currently Sony and Microsoft solve this problem by installations to a hard disc, which works but creates it’s own new set of problems (higher harware cost, lower hardware reliability, possibly running out of space, user needs to manage space like a PC, have to wait for install, etc).

On the other hand, as you have noted in the past, game software is becoming more like services which means patches and DLC which also means internal storage on the console is needed. The Wii U and 3DS both have relatively small solid-state on board storeage but that solves the above reliability problem while exasperating others. The Wii U lets you plug in your own external hard drive to get more storage, but that seems like a ‘worst of both worlds’ solution to me (I think 3DS storage is expandable with flash cards?)

But I have been thinking that, since mordern cartridges are basically flash cards anyway, why couldn’t the game and future patches and DLC all be stored on the cartridge itself? I’m not making any predictions here, I’m just wondering if there is some technical reason why this wouldn’t work. I guess the main downside is publishers trying to predict how big a cart needs to be at release. If it did work it would be awesome for consumers though.

Anyway I have not seen this idea floated anywhere so I was wondering what you thought.

Sure. Why not?

I think too much emphasis is being placed on the cartridges or the technical universe of the NX itself. I think more attention should be given to Nintendo’s account system plans. I think there is something going on there.


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