On the cards

The Wall Street Journal has given more weight to existing rumours that the Nintendo NX will shun optical media in favour of flash-based game cards.

Citing sources "familiar with the matter", the WSJ claims that Nintendo has made the decision based on "renewed attention" in the marketplace for chip-based storage options. Semiconductor firms such as Samsung and Toshiba are currently competing to create high capacity flash memory at lower costs, paving the way for relatively small cards which can hold an incredible amount of data.

The WSJ also claims that Nintendo is keen to use 'cartridges' ('game card' is a more accurate desciption) because of its traditionally younger audience - game cards are less likely to get damaged than discs. Cartridges also boast other positives, such as fast load times and robust piracy protection. Speaking to the WSJ, former Sony employee Atsushi Osanai pointed out that such cartridges are "no doubt today's best format to physically distribute games."

While the news that high-capacity discs are being ignored might sound like a shock, when taken in context with wider reports surrounding NX, the move makes perfect sense. Nintendo's new console will apparently be a hybrid system which connects to your TV but is also used as a handheld, and therefore small, robust game cards - like those used on the 3DS - are clearly the best option. Given the hinted portable nature of the NX, installing an optical drive would result in a larger unit overall, and carrying delicate discs around with you would be a pain. Sony used optical discs with its PSP console, but for its successor - the PS Vita - opted to utilize flash-based cards. With that in mind, such reports are not all that surprising.

The WSJ has approached Nintendo for comment, but the company declined to address the report. It has remained silent on the NX for quite some time, although many believe that will end this month - perhaps before the Tokyo Game Show, which begins on September 15th.

[source wsj.com]