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Nintendo patent application shows no optical disc drive in new console

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Nintendo has filed a patent application for a console that has no optical disc drive, kicking up all sorts of speculation among enthusiasts of what the company's next piece of hardware could look like or do.

The filing, made in February, was published on Thursday. Its schematic diagrom (pictured) shows a card slot, into which a memory card containing programs is inserted. The filing also shows an internal hard drive and the means of connecting an external one.

NeoGAFfers, who first spotted the filing, ruminated that the presence of a memory card and a slot could mean the return of a cartridge-based console for the first time since the Nintendo 64, nearly 20 years ago. Of course, it's not clear what programs would be on such a memory card, or its size, whether this console would download games from a digital service to its internal drive, or whether it may even stream them.

Nintendo in March revealed it was working on a new console, for now called the NX, when it announced a partnership with the Japanese mobile games company DeNA. That partnership focuses on a membership service encompassing existing Nintendo hardware and the new console as well as smart devices and PCs.

Since then, Nintendo's former president, the late Satoru Iwata, repeatedly fended off queries about the NX by saying the company would not be discussing its plans for the console until next year. Nintendo's last official comment on NX came in early June, when the company denied a report that NX would use the Android operating system.

The full patent application, with images, may be viewed here.

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