N64 was the future of videogames storage

N64 was the future of videogames storage

Back in the middle of the '90s Nintendo made a choice that changed the course of its history: cartridges over compact discs.

Nintendo 64 has been the last home console to use this type of format, but the reason I was thinking back on it was that we might be going to see a bright future for cartridges. The main reason Nintendo "lost" that generation was because CDs had more storage space and were cheaper. That's it. Cartridges had faster loading times, which in terms of user experience is not a tiny detail.

In 2016 cartridges had their production price reduced by nearly 90%, with a cartridge that costs something between 0.90$ and 2.5$. From a storage perspective SDs and similar have reached incredible solutions and have nothing to fear from Blu-ray discs.

Loading is still one of the cartridges' pros, so what I am thinking is that Nintendo actually made a choice ahead of its time. CDs and optical solutions were just a phase. We have lived in a world were videogames cartridges reigned supreme, and in the future they will get their crown back.

Handheld gaming had the opportunity to stick to cartridges thanks to the fact that storage was not a problem. PSP tried the UMD solution, failing to replace what is the best format for videogames.

We have lived in a world where videogames cartridges reigned supreme.

Home console market is moving towards digital solutions, but if a physical format must be found: cartridge is the way to go. NX is going to have cartridges, because time has come. We have the right combination between price point, game size and loading times.

On top of that consoles can be cheaper without an optical disc drive, which represents a cost in terms of price, space and cooling.

I would not be surprised if in the future PC gaming will be moving towards cartridges solutions like it is already doing, with faster memory.