Diagram also indicates internal HDD and controller with a screen

Nintendo patent hints at disc-less NX

A patent filed in February may have revealed Nintendo’s plans for its mysterious new gaming device, codenamed the NX.

The patent application was discovered by Neogaf users and picked apart for clues about the new console, which was announced back in March and is due to be unveiled next year.

The biggest source of information is the diagram below, which shows that the NX may not include an optical disc drive. While that might initially inspire visions of a digital-only console, entirely dependant on downloadable games, there is a card slot that will take memory cards containing a first and second basic program.

Speculation suggests that the NX will use this card slot to let gamers play digital titles stores to flash memory or similar devices. Alternatively, though perhaps less likely, this could indicate that Nintendo will return to cartridges.

The diagram also shows an internal hard disk drive that will store games and save data, as well as the ability to connect an external HDD for more storage. This is a notable departure for Nintendo, which has used internal flash memory for both the Wii and Wii U.

Less of a departure, however, is the controller. While many were no doubt hoping for a step away from the Wii U’s tablet-like gamepad, the patent indicates that controllers for the new device will still feature a display unit or screen.

This is what the patent application has to say about the new device:

“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.

“In recent years, high-speed communication such as ADSL or optical communication has widely been spread. Such high-speed communication is utilized to allow a server apparatus or the like to distribute a game program to a game apparatus. When a game program is obtained through communication, a user can enjoy playing a game using a game apparatus without purchasing a recording medium such as an optical disk.”

Nintendo’s former president Satoru Iwata said earlier this year that the NX will be ‘a brand new concept’, and the platform holder has actually avoided the term ‘console’, suggesting the NX won’t be the Wii U successor people expect.

Check out the diagram for yourself below:

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