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Nintendo NX may bring cartridges back to console gaming

by Eric Frederiksen | May 5, 2016May 5, 2016 9:20 am PST

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Production rumors from one of Nintendo’s frequent partners has some thinking the company might be heading back toward cartridge-based games.

Chip manufacturer Macronix has been making the chips in Nintendo cartridges for quite a while, and a report from Japanese site Money-Link says the company is expecting a bump in second half of 2017.

The company, according to the translated report (via Screen Critics), is going to manufacture a new line of 32nm chips – much smaller than the 72 nm chips found in the 3DS cartridge. Macronix says that, because Nintendo is launching their new platform in March of next year, “orders should be placed in advance,” according to the translation. The company also says their sales are expected to remain unchanged before the launch of the new platform.

If true, this lends credence to the idea of the NX as a console-handheld hybrid. Optical discs that give console games so much capacity just aren’t a good fit for the small size of  handhelds. As Screen Critics points out, cartridges could cut down the cost and complexity of manufacturing the console in two ways. Optical drives are bulky, and hard drives are expensive. Cartridges would help to solve both of those problems. The system could be more powerful and easier to manufacture without costing the company as much money. Nintendo said they won’t be selling the NX at a loss, so this could be an important part of that.

All rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, but this is a very interesting one.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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