Nintendo NX Going Disk-less? Patent Suggests Digital-Only Console

A Nintendo patent was recently spotted that may give a hint the console maker is going with the Nintendo NX. Surprisingly, an optical disk drive is not included while other information suggesting Nintendo is going with a near digital-only console to replace the Wii U.

The Nintendo filing with the U.S. Patent Office was dug up by NeoGAF members revealing the configuration of what is possibly the Nintendo NX. The patent refers to a “stationary game apparatus” repeatedly, which indicates that this is for a home console and not a handheld console.

“The example system is not provided with an optical disc drive for reading out a program and/or data from an optical disc,” the patent reads, emphasis mine. “An example system includes an internal hard disc 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 disc drive to perform game processing.”

Possible Nintendo NX Console Patent Diagram

The patent diagram shows the complete absence of an optical disk drive as well. An internal hard drive is present though along with the ability to connect an external hard drive. A memory card slot is included too and the text of the patent implies that this will be for some form of an SD memory card.

The Nintendo NX is rumored to be brand new concept that allows players to move freely between a home console and handheld. This can only be supported by moving away from game disks and towards digital downloads.

It is possible Nintendo could still sell games on memory cards as it does today with the Nintendo 3DS. This would allow users to retain a physical copy while being able to freely move between both systems. That’s just speculation for now, but it is difficult to see Nintendo completely abandoning a retail presence and going completely digital only.

One benefit of going without an optical disk drive is saving on space. The Wii and Wii U both are relatively small console with the majority of their bulk coming from the disk drive. This should also help with cooling.

Possible Nintendo NX Controller Patent Diagram

Interestingly, the second screen concept introduced with the Wii U is not being abandoned, based on the patent documents. The diagram for the controller lists a display unit which indicates the Nintendo NX controller will have a screen of some kind.

The tablet-like Wii U controller was an underutilized and expensive component of the Wii U that prevented Nintendo from dropping its price to remain competitive. We will have to see if this ends up in the final version of the console and if the console maker takes steps to correct previous issues.

Of course, this could also be an indication of a disk-less version of the the Wii U and not the Nintendo NX. We’ll have to wait and see.

Suppliers are reportedly gearing up production for a 2016 release of the Nintendo NX. Do you think going without an optical disk is the right move? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via U.S. Patent Office, Shutterstock]