A couple of days ago one NeoGaf user posted a patent application submitted by Nintendo for a “Stationary Game Apparatus, Game Apparatus, Game System, Recording Medium and Speed Control Method”. It doesn’t sound so interesting, at least ‘till you check out the images of the patent. What is very fascinating is that the console will not have any optical disc drive. There was some talk in recent years about the future of video game consoles in which the possibility of removing optical disc drive was mentioned a couple of times.
Patent abstract says:“An example system includes an internal hard disk drive storing a program and/or data, a communication unit transmitting/receiving a program and/or data via a network, and a processor executing a program stored in the hard disk drive to perform game processing. The example system is not provided with an optical disk drive for reading out a program and/or data from an optical disk.”
And who else will do this if not Nintendo? Let’s be honest, they always have been a company that doesn’t chase the processing power, instead with every new console they offer us gamers something new and exciting. Motion controller on the Wii, tablet controller on the WiiU, 3d screen for which you don’t have to wear glasses on the 3DS, and with the NX they will probably reveal another never-seen-before feature. So, thinking about it, it is somewhat logical for them to be the first company to come out with a console without a disc drive. Today, almost half of the console game distribution is done digitally, there are a few services that allow you to stream games directly to you console/PC, and we should not forget about game streaming from PS4 to Vita, or from your PC to Shield console. Microsoft was also had some ideas about removing the disc drive from XBone, but that ideas never seen the light of day.
If we take a closer look at the image provided, it can be seen that the console will have HDD, something new when it comes to Nintendo, as well as support for external HDD and a (memory) card slot. OK, support for external HDD is logical, because if you’re planning to make a console without a disc drive you will make sure that the potential users have the option to upgrade memory capacity of the console. But a card slot? There weren’t any since the PS2, and they surely didn’t put that there for the purpose of saving games. This could be interesting, maybe Nintendo plans to enable support for the cartridges from previous consoles (DS, Nintendo 64, etc), or perhaps they actually plan to release new games for the console on memory cards? Who knows, but the presence of card slot doesn’t make very much sense.
In the end, we remember how the gamer community reacted to the possibility of XBone without a disc drive. They had gone mad and Microsoft realized that the time for that sort of thing just isn’t right. A couple of years passed, Internet became much faster (I mean, you can download digital version of GTA V that is 60 Gb large in a matter of hours), cheaper and available to almost any human who lives in relatively developed part of the world so maybe the next step in game console evolution is ready and if we look at the past, Nintendo always have been a company that made genuine breakthroughs in the video game world.
Written by Goran Damnjanovic, you can find him on Facebook.