Nintendo has long played to it’s own tune, content to wait to deliver the surprising news over it’s upcoming Nintendo NX console in it’s own time. Yet one it’s biggest partners may have let slip about one of the consoles more interesting features – the notion that it may be doing away with game discs all together and replacing them with ROM cartridges (Similar to the 3DS).
The speculation begins with Japanese Financial website Money-Link; which has indicated that Nintendo’s long time producer of ROM chips Macronix is expecting a bumper order from Nintendo in the latter half of this year for it’s products
“Macronix’s ROM chips are usually supplied to videogame console maker, Nintendo. Although the sales is in off season during the first quarter, the revenue is similar compared with the same period last year. Wu Miin suggested that as Nintendo had just announced it will release a new generation console in March next year, and the console will be launched at the same time in Japan, America and Europe, so ROM’s sales is expected to increase in the latter half of this year, and it will have a large growth potential.”
Macronix are Nintendo’s long time go-to partners for the mask-rom memory – the guys behind the 3DS’s cartridges. Typically this would be put down to the Nintendo 3DS cartridges – but the reality is that Macronix recently began testing on it’s newer line of 32nm ROM chips – the Nintendo 3DS uses 75nm (With a max of 8GB storage) so these new cards won’t be used for that purpose. Unless the company is savvy to a big 3DS game we’re not aware of, or they’re developing for Nintendo’s next-gen handheld, we’d make a strong bet that it’s all linked to the NX.
“Wu Miin noted that before the launch of Nintendo’s new platform, the sales of ROM is expected to remain unchanged in this year, but there is growth potential. In respect of NOR Flash business, market share in the global market has reached 21% last year, ranked second. It is expected to climb to first rank in a quarter next year. Macronix expects the sales of 75 nm, or below, NOR Flash process products will increase to 50% and more high-capacity products will be sold. Revenue of automobile sector will continue to increase.”
It points to a new product line, which the company gladly further offers more proof of in their recent financial reports. These make mention of Nintendo several times and even call out Nintendo’s new console in the process; discussing how this will result in bumper offers (Credit to Jim_Cacher for the translation);
The second paragraph in particular offers insight into how the company is expecting a bumper order from Nintendo for it’s NX console. Of course this could all be linked to the BIOS hardware and not the actual game cartridges – but Macronix is obviously gearing up for something a lot bigger than they’re up to right now. Given the density of the card they’re reportedly producing; we’d suspect they’re going to be put to more use than for BIOs on the NX (The new cards have reportedly got a capacity of 32GB).
The move to cartridge based consoles holds many advantages for Nintendo. It allows Nintendo to get rid of disc drives entirely while making the console smaller and quieter. Typically they add to the bulk of a console and by removing discs from the equation; Nintendo can also decrease the need game installs (Something that PS4 and Xbox One owners are all too familiar with) as the read speed of cartridges are ahead of Blu Ray discs. It should also be noted that Panasonic (The guys that usually provide disc drives for games consoles) haven’t been talking about the NX or touting their involvement in that consoles development.