Nintendo NX Cartridges Mentioned In Patent Documents

We have now heard a couple of times that the NX won’t use traditional discs and will instead be reliant on cartridges. This issue has cropped again by the USPTO in documents filed for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The document states that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will ship on both disc and cartridge. Clearly the Wii U version will ship on disc but the cartridge version of game remains unclear. We should know for sure later this year.



Thanks to those who sent this in.


  1. I have migrated to a nearly entire digital library, so it affects me very little. That said, if I decided to buy a game as hardcopy, I wouldn’t mind going back to cartridges. BotW could be put on a gold SD card or whatever it ends up being. It could be really cool actually.

    Guess we’ll see!

    1. I like the digital era as well, just find the game button on the menu and play… but cartridges are very cool, and if it were metallic gold, well, no one does nostalgia like Nintendo, so that would be awesome. My only caveat would be that BotW isn’t exactly, to me, a “gold game” so a metallic cartridge of another color like green or blue would be more appropriate even if people might think it would be a mistake

        1. Definitely. But cartridges are definitely better than discs for that reason too. Can have them stacked next to the console and what not… new ways to organize and display for those into that… way cool if it happens

            1. Maybe… I assume they’d be bigger to a slight degree but you are right, they will be significantly smaller than the past in all likelihood

      1. The problem with the digital era is that, as Nintendo or any other conpany switches off their online stores, you will lose access to the ability to redownload your game should something happen. If the file becomes corrupt over the years, or the harddrive fails or the flash memory has been written over too many times, the game will be gone forever. Digital is NOT the way to go if you care about game preservation and keeping what you payed for.

        1. I don’t pay for the game itself usually, I pay the experience, something that is not always worthy of keeping forever. I make the choice when necessary to go digital or physical. However, if I buy physical, I should be able to download the game for free to my system so that I can have that ease that comes with digital while still keeping the physical copy. In fact, for those that try and collect and not open games, it would be a nice gesture for that reason as well.

          I do feel you on that prospect however of losing things forever because digital is basically like having, nothing

        2. While that may be true, it doesn’t work that way for every game anymore. We have DRM for certain games that prevent you from playing regardless of whether you have a digital or physical copy. You don’t get to permanently keep every game now. Not to mention the increased prices that happen when the game becomes harder to find. So I think I’ll just stick with mostly digital and play as many games as I want while I still can.

          1. Well, guess I don’t need to buy any digital only or DRM protected games. I’ll stick with the well made games from the past 40+ years that will actually last through time. I’m not wasting my time or money with these shallow attempts we’re calling games that don’t even release on something tangible. I feel sorry for all of the children of the future who want to try out games that no longer freaking exist. We are lucky, we can go back and play Mario and own it in a cartridge or whatnot, but soon, thousands of games will rot away into digital dust.

        3. I’ve never had a digital game go corrupt on me yet, but I’ve had plenty of hard-edged like disks scratch or hardware break.
          Digital games can have save files backed up. On the 3DS, all your save files can be backed up to the SD. I don’t think anyone else can say o e way is fool-proof. And goddamn is it nice to not have to swap games out. :]

          1. Oh no, not yet, but flash memory is VERY flimsy because it can only be read a limited number of times. And, with Nintendo’s way of running things, as soon as we loose those files, and the 3DS or ehatnot can’t access the eshop anymore, we lose the games that we payed for.

      2. I despise digital games. It feels like something more for casual gamers. I’ll NEVER accept digital, except when I have no choice. But if games ever went 100% digital, I MIGHT stop playing modern games. And that would be a truly sad moment in time for me.

        1. Whatever you want. Most people are casual gamers so it makes more sense that it would move into that area if that is what you are insinuating. Despite that, it would seem that people who are more than casual would be into the latest tech, and the most up to date way to play a game is to have no physical disc. The disc or cartridge is just a delivery system… it is cool to own something, but it is just a material object and not that important to me. I still say, if you buy the physical disc, you should get a free download. That way someone can have the disc/cartridge and the materials that come with it in physical form while also having the ease of the entire game on the console.

    2. I’m slowly adjusting to the digital era, but there is satisfaction to owning a physical copy of a game that a digital copy cannot reproduce.. I don’t think I will ever fully support digital games. I want my children to be able to play all my old games ten years from now.

      1. That’s a good point, and I have kept all my old games and systems and comics for my kids, should I ever have any one day.

        However more and more games require instalation, patches, and even the Internet to play these days. How will kids play a disc game in the future if the servers are gone and the patches and necessary update and install files are no longer available? … I’m not sure hard media is the same anymore… You can’t just hand the game to a kid 20 years from now, and have them pop it into an old system. Some games require an Initial patch or update…. So.. IDK if it will be like the old days my friend.

  2. Hope it’s true. Not only for the fact that different feels fresh, but if cartridges actually are better /cheaper than CDs in terms of storage, it’s the best thing to do

    1. Instead of Nintendo spending money on discs for WiiU and cartridges for 3ds, why not just spend money on the cartridges, which load faster and are capable of holding larger game data over disc while being more durable, and have both platforms play the same media. This choice may actually save Nintendo money since they can just stop spending on disc media:)

  3. I seriously want to see a Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild NX bundle with all 3 Breath of the Wild Amiibos and a physical copy of the game along with an art book;D

        1. And then all who never got the bundle because they were sold out too quickly will look at you with the deepest of hatred in their eyes…

  4. That’s very interesting! Maybe it’s also a hint at the supposed dual nature of the new console being also a hybrid portable device, since those are normally associated with cartridges these days? Also interesting: What physical format could these cartridges have? I would love to see a NES/SNES form factor again, just for kicks+

  5. I would definately prefer cartridges over discs for games. The only thing I don’t like about it is that cartridge media likely means no disc drive which means no possibility of a blu-ray player. With xbox or PS I get a blu-ray player and avoid having to buy another expensive piece of equipment just for movies.

    1. This just proves that Nintendo is really focusing on gaming over anything else! I have a suspiscious feeling that when the NX is revealed Zelda isn’t the only main Nintendo IP that’ll be revealed, I think we will see a new Mario or Donkey Kong and Metroid released alongside the NX.

      1. I certainly hope it’s not. Some kind of Mario game is to be expected and if a new Metroid game isn’t being worked on right now someone deserves to be slapped.

            1. Samsung I believe, I’m on vacation right now so I can’t say for sure. It was like 30-40$, I don’t remember exactly.

      1. Nintendo doesn’t want Blue Ray. It’s cheap, yes, but they want things digital. Cartridges mean faster load times with games with bigger games. Consider games that run off memory cards, flash drives and HDD – no skipping, faster results, more room for bigger games.

        If true, I see this as a good move away from disc for Nintendo and a selling point. For PS4, the disc doesn’t do anything but offload the files onto the system. After that, you barely need the disc. It’s similar to a digital game. In truth, this might be a better result for the massive game that Zelda all ready looks like. 64GB memory cards are 20 a pop. The cost of games will be lower to produce for them, since disc, distribution, and artwork can be costly. Nintendo never did the DVD route, so this makes 100 sense.

        1. I know this, I don’t want Nintendo to put a Blue Ray player in their consoles. Its cheaper, faster, quieter, cooler, more electrically efficient, and space efficient to use cartridges rather than disks.

          1. This might be why there’s so much talk from third party that say they will support NX. They cost will be cut down considerably because disc, artwork, and disc case cost a lot of money than what people think.

        2. Cartridges are definately the way to go, but while I definately want and think the NX will be using cartridges, blu-ray discs are still cheaper. A 64gb sd card is around $20 while you can get 10 50gb blu-ray discs for about $25. Distribution of blu-ray discs shouldn’t cost any more than sd cards and there’s no reason artwork for the disc should cost much.

          Buying sd cards in bulk though would definately bring the price down, and like you said, sd cards can store more data.

              1. Yeah, of course. I was just pointing out that SD cards do not reflect the real price of software cartridges. I don’t know how much the price varies between both products, but I’d assume locking down flash media would make them comparatively cheaper since you’d be erasing the popular advantage it has over optical media: its re-writable capabilities.

                1. Ok, I didn’t realize it but the price I quoted for blu-ray was for write-once discs. The RW’s seem to be much more expensive. I’m wondering now what the exact manufacturing cost difference would be between cartridges and discs for games.

          1. You have to think about shipping. Shit is dirty cheap to ship a small stick then disc cases. Distribution is cheap, yes, but remember that it is a lot of time putting an ISO file or any data on disc. Carts are so easy and less time that Nintendo would give the industry a huge cut back on cost. I agree with your ideas 100 though.

            1. I’m saying for the NX. If the NX were to have an optical drive, which seems unlikely at this point, it could potentially support a blu-ray option.

          1. 5 hours it took me to get fall out 4 onto my ps4 from the disc and that update I need from online. Carts would kill this stupidity in great lengths

      1. My laptop is pretty old and doesn’t have a disc drive. I really haven’t used it since I finished school. I’d like to get a desktop pc, but that’ll be a bit further down the road.

  6. Although cartridges are cool (I love them!), in the end of the day, it does not makes any difference when it comes to both 1st and 3rd party proper support.

    It’s true that 3rd parties ignored the existence of the Wii U, but Nintendo itself did not supported it as it could be. I hope, at least, the NX can have a longer lifespan, and a better 3rd party support when compared to the Wii U.

  7. It would make sense to compare this patent to other games that were patent to see if the wording is the same. This could be the standard wording.

      1. I meant compare it to Wii U games to see if it was standard wording. If it says it for Wii u games then this says nothing.

          1. Good job! That makes sense to make an assumption on. I think site sometimes forgot to do the checks and balances of rumours, speculation, and assumptions.

  8. If this is true then Nintendo could be setting another trend. Cartridges have far more data storage than discs and are cheaper to manufacture and more efficient so this makes a lot of sense as to why the Wii U version of BOTW will make an easy smooth transition to the NX. So long as Nintendo doesn’t make the licensing fees too high it will be a great idea and it could be the reason why some 3rd parties are already showing interest. The NX being an handheld/home console hybrid platform makes complete sense if cartridges are indeed the media format but sadly it could mean that it won’t be backwards compatible with the Wii U but Nintendo could and should offer an cloud based service very reminiscent of PS Now. We will see but going back to cartridges will be very beneficial for Nintendo for a lot of reasons

    1. I’d rather see something more like XBone’s backwards compatibility where if you already own the game, you can download it for free on to your system. That’s one area where I think Microsoft is doing things better than Sony.

      1. There’s not going to be Backwards compatibility. Dudes were saying to catch a Wii u while you can. They are killing Wii u, so why tell people to buy it? It means they won’t support it anymore and that also means backwards compatibility too. And that also means disc are not their business anymore. Cartridges and even a possible way to use 3DS carts to play with NX and mess with date through mobile phones and your DS? That’s game changing.

          1. I know, bro. I’m just saying that Nintendo is dropping hints really seriously about not doing backwards though. It makes no sense to do it though. Wii u wasn’t the greatest with games, so no point in putting a drive for it. Wii either. If NES and SNES works or you get a SD for the games to play though, that’s just smart money making

              1. That’s probably why they said they will port it over. If you think about it, Splat has passed its time for DLC. The game was said to not continue to be supported through DLC. They still keep making DLC for it. Makes sense if they are porting it to the NX and that Wii u and NX splat will work together online. Also says, if true regarding a splat port, it means the nx control will simulate a screen somehow.

  9. If they make a Gold SD card for LOZBOW I’ll lose my shit!
    Man I’m squealing like a young girl.
    That thought got all kinds of rocks off.

  10. Cartridges are the way to go. Think about it like this: Not only are your games more durable and will last much longer, but they will also extend the life of your console (less moving parts). In addition, save files will be stored safetly within the cartridge! No failing harddrives! Also, imagine if developers allowed DLC to be downloaded directly onto the cartridge itself. This would benefit all gamers as DLC would no longer be a bunch of random files that can be lost with failing harddrives and memory cards, and could be stored for future gamers to enjoy right there in the game itself. I, for one, truly hope that this is the path being taken. I am tired of flimsy discs and disc drives. I am tired of harddrive issues in regards to save files. I welcome this change.

  11. If NX has a universal account system with cross buy, cross save, & cloud storage for games, I’m getting this game digitally on NX because it’s Zelda (unless it’s Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks because those games’ gameplay control gimmick sucks as I want to play a video game, not a god damn mobile game.) So whether it’s a disc or cartridge matters very little to me right now as I’m more concerned about whether NX will have a universal account system or not. I don’t trust Nintendo Account yet because it hasn’t been implemented onto the actual Wii U or 3DS yet so I don’t know what features it will bring to a console or handheld yet.

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