Nintendo is Dropping Disc Support for NX

Nintendo doesn’t understand gamers. Nintendo has archaic online policies. Nintendo is dying.

These are all sentiments that frequently fly around gaming forums any time the 125-year-old gaming company is brought up. No, that’s no typo. Nintendo was founded in 1889, and many people forget how innovative the company has been, even in recent years.

Admittedly, the Wii U has been a bit of the flop, but the company seems to be hard at work on their next console, codenamed NX, and recent US patent was filed that indicates the company may be completely nixing an optical disc drive.

US PATENT #20150231511

Forum members on NeoGAF stumbled across a US patent filing application (20150231511) that was filed by Nintendo Co., LTD.

A lot of the information inside the application is pretty boring to read through. It describes what most people would believe to be a typical console. But the first first point of the article gives away one of the most interesting pieces of information in the entire document:

“A stationary game apparatus, comprising: 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, wherein the game apparatus is not provided with an optical disk drive.”

The “stationary game apparatus” could mean a lot of different things. Maybe stationary means the user won’t be carrying it around with them like a handheld. However, the last sentence states that the console will be missing an optical disk drive, which means one of two things: either Nintendo is going back to cartridges, or they’re moving to a completely online format.

Another interesting find shows that the controller will include a display unit, which sounds like the gamepad for the Wii U.



NeoGAF commentators made a few interesting points: this patent doesn’t have the NX named in it, the patent isn’t reflective of a final product, and this isn’t the first time a console manufacturer has considered ditching the optical drive.

Fans were vehemently against Microsoft’s initial decision to omit a disk drive in the Xbox One. Not everyone has access to the internet, not everyone has a blazingly fast connection, and plenty of people have data caps. Console manufacturers also have a nasty habit of limiting hardware storage to officially branded hard drives, and charging obscene premiums for these products, so all of this makes sense.

Fan reception about Nintendo’s patent has remained neutral so far.


Nintendo’s plans to keep a display-based controller is odd since third party developers rarely made use of it, and support seemed forced at times, even in some of Nintendo’s first party games. This may be a move to maintain backwards compatibility, it may be a brand new controller, or it may be a sign that Nintendo will finally combine handheld with console.

All of this is pure speculation, however. Nintendo said they won’t be willing to talk about the NX until sometime in 2016. Regardless, things are beginning to get interesting with the NX. Nintendo was the first to introduce motion controls, maybe they’ll be the first to lead us into a completely digital world.