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Thread: Could video game cartridges make a comeback?

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    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    Default Could video game cartridges make a comeback?

    Cartridges are better than optical media in every other means except for storage capacity and maybe cost. That's why in the mid 1990s, most consoles went to CDs, and now we use Blu Ray. But is it maybe time to give the venerable cartridge a second chance? I'm not talking about something like an SNES cartridge (although SNES kicks ass). Today, solid state media has come a long way. We put memory cards with many gigabytes in our cameras often, and they are cheap; I got a 16 gigabyte card for less than 10 dollars a couple of months ago. Is it possible that this type of solid state media could be used for video games, encased in a plastic casing much like the cartridges were for durability?
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    Cherry (Level 1) PizzaKat's Avatar
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    I believe the next Nintendo console is going this route. I've read a lot of rumors that they will not have an optical drive. As you mentioned a lot of storage can be kept on SD cards nowadays. No discs would most likely cut down on power being used and may be less expensive, well thats my take from reading articles online. It would be neat to have cartridges designed from two decades ago

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PizzaKat View Post
    I believe the next Nintendo console is going this route. I've read a lot of rumors that they will not have an optical drive. As you mentioned a lot of storage can be kept on SD cards nowadays. No discs would most likely cut down on power being used and may be less expensive, well thats my take from reading articles online. It would be neat to have cartridges designed from two decades ago
    You're right that's supposedly the plan. Go with cheap large sized memory cards like the 3ds does but bigger. They make good profit on those as the memory is cheap. NX is going that route and rumored to sell an add-on disc for wiiu backwards compatibility. I'd call it very likely mini carts are the safer future for just what you said topic mstarter. Look what a usual retail markup sdhc card goes for. I would imagine a decent 64GB card at 30 probably has a company cost blank of a third of that to bring to market. That size alone trumps optical sized games we get.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    I could see it, both for the reasons listed and a few more. For one, faster access speed reduces/removes installation requirements and loading optimization needs. Even more important, though, is reduced hardware fault from laser issues and excessive heat. It should lessen warranty claim losses and lessen hardware costs to help get away from the lack of profit margin in console sales. Lastly, cheap solid-state memory is one step closer to designing a purely digital device, and may help to continue to blur the line to all-digital content in perception. A small card/cart slot added to what is basically a digital streaming box is hardly a design concession, yet allows for ease of sale in areas with poor infrastructure for that distribution method and the patching and dlc options of an installed game.

    There's little to no downside there.

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    Pretzel (Level 4) jonebone's Avatar
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    Going to cartridges, no way. Before you know it all physical media will be abolished and it'll be digital only. Then people will be talking about the "Good old days" when games used to come on a physical CD / Blu Ray disc...
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    I could see it, both for the reasons listed and a few more. For one, faster access speed reduces/removes installation requirements and loading optimization needs. Even more important, though, is reduced hardware fault from laser issues and excessive heat. It should lessen warranty claim losses and lessen hardware costs to help get away from the lack of profit margin in console sales. Lastly, cheap solid-state memory is one step closer to designing a purely digital device, and may help to continue to blur the line to all-digital content in perception. A small card/cart slot added to what is basically a digital streaming box is hardly a design concession, yet allows for ease of sale in areas with poor infrastructure for that distribution method and the patching and dlc options of an installed game.

    There's little to no downside there.
    If there's room, some patching could probably be downloaded straight to the cartridge, which will help save hard drive space.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Well jonebone is right, to a point, at least for now.

    The industry ultimate goal is download only. They want 100% price control, 100% availability control, 100% control to edit/remove anything they no longer want to support/have out there anymore. The problem is these current systems were designed with it in mind and future will be as well, but until the largest most profitable world regions have a steady gigabit line as the standard like it is in Japan, they won't. They know a lot of people will not tolerate downloading some 40GB file over a DSL or slow cable modem taking a day or more to do so due to local/network limiting or issues. They do not like physical media because they can't control it and they can't re-sell it either because people actually do own their games when they have it in hand. Taking that away they get all the control and they want it but the internet isn't there for it yet. What my brother told me was cute, the game makers claim if physical media is gone to make up for it prices should drop by 1/2 on games out of the gate since the piracy risk is effectively killed and all the pricing involved in tooling discs, cases, ink, paper, boxing, packing, shipping, and the rest are out of the equation. But given the filthy tactics we've seen with on disc (or other shenanigans) with DLC, IAP and the rest I seriously doubt it. Once you remove the barrier and are a monopoly connection with your console there's no reason to lower the price since the resale market is dead.

    It is true they could ultimately choose to support both as solid state mini cards are very cheap, fast, instant due to no download, but they're a cost overhead. It would be a non-issue cost wise to allow the slot, most current phones/tablets have them already for microSD cards. I would imagine in another 20years physical games/movies will be gone, or at least a secondary later release option for those who have to be stuck in regions/areas that can't get good broadband service and have to rely on wireless and satellite/towers propped up in the area to carry the feed.

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