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Will Game Cartridges Make a Comeback? 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-we-don't-have-to-blow-on-the-contacts dept.
sk8pmp writes "With the cost of solid state memory going down, will we see the return of the game cartridge? Or will digital distribution reign supreme and transition our entertainment into the cloud? This editorial explores the beginnings of the cartridge vs. disc battle of the '90s and theorizes a second one in the future. 'Imagine if you could marry the vast spaces of discs with the blazing fast speeds of solid state memory. Can you say "no more load times"? You pop the game into the top of the console, so the game is sticking out the top like in ye olden times, and you could see the sweet artwork on the front of the cartridge. The nostalgia is killing me!'"
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Will Game Cartridges Make a Comeback?

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  • I dunno (Score:5, Funny)

    by jmknsd (1184359) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:08PM (#32132386)

    Blowing into a USB port just isn't the same.

    • Don't blow (Score:2, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)
      Blowing is a horribly inefficient way to clean cartridges. It's not much better than just pulling out the cartridge and reseating it, and over time, the humidity in your breath can make the problem worse by attracting more dust. If your console's cartridges don't have those idiotic tiny plastic teeth *cough*DS*cough*, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab [pineight.com] instead. It's fairly close to the method used in the official NES cleaning kit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What is this NES you speak of?

        The only way to clean your Atari 2600 cartridges is to blow in them. Wiping is for butts.

      • Re:Don't blow (Score:4, Informative)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:29PM (#32132790)

        Practical experience reigns of theoretical in this case. As 25-35 year old can tell you, you could pull and reseat NES cartridges till the cows came home and they wouldn't work. A blow from the side though (and usually a 2nd cartridge wedged into the unit to hold the loaded one against the contacts tighter) would get it going in a jiffy.

        Seems the NES was the only system with this problem though (no doubt due to their goofy front-load spring-loaded design). SNES, Genesis, N64, etc worked every time you tossed a cartridge in.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          Seems the NES was the only system with this problem though (no doubt due to their goofy front-load spring-loaded design). SNES, Genesis, N64, etc worked every time you tossed a cartridge in.

          As I recall, the top-loading NES [wikipedia.org] didn't have a problem either.

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            Indeed. They were somewhat rare though, having come out pretty late in the game (IIRC it was either right before, or even a little while after SNES debuted). I saw them on shelves for a while, and I know one person at school that had one, but most everyone was still using the old gray boxes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Not every time. Once you get pissed off because someone beat you to choosing Oddjob, and in your Soda-fueled rage you kick the SNES into the TV, it no longer worked, and you had to reseat the cartridges a lot.

          That didn't happen to all you guys?

          • by Pojut (1027544)

            Not every time. Once you get pissed off because someone beat you to choosing Oddjob, and in your Soda-fueled rage you kick the SNES into the TV, it no longer worked, and you had to reseat the cartridges a lot.

            That didn't happen to all you guys?

            Not with an SNES. With an N64, sure...but not an SNES :-0)

            We had a rule, though...you could pick Oddjob if you wanted, but whatever your kill count was at the end of the round, we got to punch you that many times.

            • by WCguru42 (1268530) on Friday May 07, 2010 @08:03PM (#32134216)

              We had a rule, though...you could pick Oddjob if you wanted, but whatever your kill count was at the end of the round, we got to punch you that many times.

              We had two rules when playing GoldenEye. 1) Quit your bitchin. 2) Don't break the controller. Everything else was fair game.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Chyeld (713439)

          That's because the problem in those cases were not the cartridge but the connector in the console [gamespy.com].

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hldn (1085833)

          what you had to do was instead of pushing the cartridge all the way in, only slide the cartridge in far enough to clear the edge and then push it down. no need to wedge it in with another cartridge.

        • Humidity (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          A blow from the side though (and usually a 2nd cartridge wedged into the unit to hold the loaded one against the contacts tighter) would get it going in a jiffy.

          Seems the NES was the only system with this problem though (no doubt due to their goofy front-load spring-loaded design).

          As the proud owner of a still-working but quite wonkey NES, and I can tell you that you are correct on both counts. In reverse order:

          The connector does in fact suck, and makes poor contact because of the spring design. This is b

      • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:59PM (#32133142) Homepage

        Blowing is a horribly inefficient way to clean cartridges.

        That's why you suck.

      • by Killall -9 Bash (622952) on Friday May 07, 2010 @05:10PM (#32133220)

        If your console's cartridges don't have those idiotic tiny plastic teeth *cough*DS*cough*, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab instead. It's fairly close to the method used in the official NES cleaning kit.

        true story:
        >
        Once upon a time when I was 14, I wanted to clean the connectors on my NES cartridges... reading the NES instruction booklet, and the booklets of the individual games, I learned that I shouldn't use water or alcohol to clean with, because these solvents may damage the circuit board. So instead of a $.99 bottle of alcohol, I paid $10 for a tiny bottle of cleaning solution with a crappy applicator, because it had the NINTENDO seal of approval. Ingredients contained in the cleaning solution: alcohol mixed with water. FUCK YOU NINTENDO.

  • I don't see how cartridges ever went out of style. Nintendo DS games come on cartridges. PSN on PSP downloads games to a Memory Stick PRO Duo. Wii downloads games to SD. And there are even still new NES games coming out, like Sivak's Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril and ProgAce's Bio Force Ape vs. Dur Butter.
    • by julesh (229690) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:26PM (#32132738)

      I don't see how cartridges ever went out of style. Nintendo DS games come on cartridges. PSN on PSP downloads games to a Memory Stick PRO Duo. Wii downloads games to SD.

      Of course, these are all platforms where either (1) media size is critical or (2) writability is critical. Also small game sizes helps. The fact is that memory cards are much more expensive per GB than Blu-ray discs, and therefore unless there's a *major* advantage to offset this cost BD is quite clearly the way forward for any new game system. And except for handheld devices and downloadable content, I don't see it.

      • by Syncdata (596941) <syncdata71@yahoo . c om> on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:50PM (#32133102) Journal
        You just nailed it.
        There could be a thousand different reasons why Rom chips would be superior to an optical disk, and in the end it would not matter. Disks are cheap to burn, and you don't have to worry about commodity price fluctuations. Price to manufacture is the only concern that trumps all others. 60 dollars per new game is high enough, and game companies are not going to decrease their margins on games, nor will distributors or retailers. Any increase in price will be passed to the consumer. Let's face it: We all hate load times. But we've gotten used to them.
    • by vxice (1690200)
      Because CDs wear out faster than cartridges. Since cartridges don't scratch up as easily weather you want to play the game a hundred times or a thousand times you pay the same amount. While with CDs when the CD gets so scratched up you can't use it any more you either deal with not playing the game any more or you go and buy another copy. With CDs companies can charge less per disc and sell to more people but if you really love the game you end up paying a little more to play a little longer.
    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:31PM (#32132834)

      And there are even still new NES games coming out, like Sivak's Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril and ProgAce's Bio Force Ape vs. Dur Butter.

      Apparently you're confusing "went out of style" with "completely ceased to exist".

      Just because I can find a green leisure suit on an internet site somewhere doesn't mean I will still look normal walking down the street in it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        And there are even still new NES games coming out, like Sivak's Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril and ProgAce's Bio Force Ape vs. Dur Butter.

        Apparently you're confusing "went out of style" with "completely ceased to exist".

        Just because I can find a green leisure suit on an internet site somewhere doesn't mean I will still look normal walking down the street in it.

        Well, what dya know! [google.com]

    • by J-1000 (869558)

      I don't see how cartridges ever went out of style. Nintendo DS games come on cartridges. PSN on PSP downloads games to a Memory Stick PRO Duo. Wii downloads games to SD. And there are even still new NES games coming out, like Sivak's Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril and ProgAce's Bio Force Ape vs. Dur Butter.

      First, I think SD and Memory Stick cards are disqualified because they are merely storage devices. The term "game cartridge" implies that you buy it off the shelf with a game already on it.

      Second, even N

  • I'd bet for net delivery (DRM or not)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Actually, they feel the net has an outdated look and feel to it. Plans next year are to upgrade to the intermesh.

    • by tepples (727027)

      I'd bet for net delivery (DRM or not)

      Your customers on a satellite, 3G, or down-under Internet connection can't transfer more than 5 GB per month. So if you go download-only like the PSP Go, you may have to limit a lot of games' download size like Wii Shop Channel does (WiiWare games are no bigger than about 43 MB).

  • Sounds like cartridges would be a good thing in AU, if this article [slashdot.org] is any indication of where property rights are going with respect to software.
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:12PM (#32132460)
    Downloadable content is the future, not bits permanently etched into chips or optical disks.
    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Consider the following:

      That eSata drive also has wireless capabilities that can download new media off wifi while its sitting there not being used/played.

      This eSata drive is part of a subscription model that delivers an endless series of games to you. When you are tired of the game thats on there, simply press a button and it starts downloading a new game.

      This eSata drive also has dongle-like capabilities which prevent you from operating the game without it, which keeps the honest people honest, just
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean downloadable content that you can't borrow, lend, trade, sell? I'd rather have my games on physical media.

      Also having a 60 GB download limit per month limits what you can download/buy.

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        You can always borrow/lend/trade your entire console. And if you are playing a game for which the download is free but you pay for access to the server (e.g. WoW), then the ability to borrow/lend/trade/sell the game itself is irrelevant. You can always borrow/lend/trade/sell your account on the server, but I don't recommend it.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Yes, I know I definitely want to download 20GB of assets over my broadband connection, instead of just popping in a nice optical disc or the latest solid-state storage. I mean, who doesn't want to wait days and days and days while maxing out one's bandwidth cap? Genius!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Downloadable content is the future, not bits permanently etched into chips or optical disks.

      Not only is that choice of words inaccurate from an archival data management standpoint, it highlights a weakness that only downloadable content has: It can vanish at any time without warning.

      I heard there were some Kindle owners pretty upset about that. [cnet.com]
      Imagine if Sony could delete games off your PS3... whether you purchased them legitimately or not.
      What makes anyone think they don't have that ability right now?

  • Cart loaders make piracy insanely easy on the Nintendo DS.

    If you have a system that reads from a proprietary disc format (as opposed to common one like DVD) then you make piracy a little more difficult.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Knara (9377)
      Eh. It only delays the inevitable. "A system that an attacker has physical access to is already compromised" doesn't just apply to computers.
      • Why bother locking your doors? If an burgler can walk up your car or home, they basically have full access to it!

        If the next Xbox had no support for DVD discs, and games were on a proprietary write-once disc that you couldn't read, nor write to from a standard PC, it would seriously curtail piracy for that console.

        • Re:Depends (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Xtravar (725372) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:28PM (#32132772) Homepage Journal

          Many people accidentally leave their doors unlocked, garage doors open, etc. In fact, you can easily open anyone's garage at any time. Or break their large bay windows.

          But you don't see people being robbed all the time due to these facts.

          Locked doors are little more than security theater for our own minds. If someone *really* wants to rob you, they will.

        • I'd be surprised if Microsoft would be willing to drop any Blu-ray or DVD playback support from the next gen X-Box. Even if games were in a proprietary format, someone would find a workaround.

          Dreamcast used a proprietary 1.2 GB Disc format, but piracy was still pretty rampant because the system also read CDs (for music playback). Many games didn't fill the full 1.2 GB so they were easily ported to CD-ROM. Other games were made to fit on CD-Rom by dedicated pirates who would compress video or audio files

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Long enough delay is enough. Has the PS3 been cracked open yet? (and this one even uses roughly standard media for game delivery)

    • The format of the disk does not really add to security. The thing that provents disk copying right now is that a writable cd itentifies itself as writable (so that your burner knows that it can write to that disk). The XBOX just looks at the inserted disk and if it is a writable disk, it throws an error. The firmware hacks for the xbox work by tricking the drive into telling the OS that *ALL* disks are pressed, read only disks.

      That being said, there is no such mechanism on a USB drive that can identify
  • by Heytunk (1559837)
    If it means a end to scratched disks, next disk requests and load times I welcome our old overlords.
  • by Delusion_ (56114) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:13PM (#32132480) Homepage

    ...for solid-state media, for my tastes. It has connotations of low capacities and clunky housings.

    But it does bring up a good question - what's the next media format? Is Blu-Ray, DVD, and CD the last family of media formats (since they can all be read by BD devices) before we go to all-online distribution? I suspect that we're done with cheap universal physical media formats in the near future.

    Music stores are pretty much on their last legs, as much as it pains me to admit that. When physical game software dries up (PC or console) It has the added supposed-benefit (to the software industry) of eliminating the second-hand software market, which is something the industry has been trying to quash for what, 20 years?

    • by Knara (9377)
      Re: Music stores. It's sad, because there's something very satisfying on a tactile level when you go through bins of records/cds (CDs less after they stopped doing the long boxes :( ).
    • I will be happy to see anything that looks like a CDROM go away. They are far too easily damaged. Put games on a thumbdrive for all I care. I just want reliability from media.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Delusion_ (56114)

        I never had a problem with optical discs for reliability. I really really don't understand people who can't keep CDs in good condition.

        CD-Rs I can kind of understand, since the reflective surface is applied to the top and often uncoated.

        • Try having kids. Then try buying those kids $40 wii games.

          Damn games barely last a week.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CronoCloud (590650)

            My parents taught me proper LP record/45 single handling skills when I was young, before that, no touching. You need to do the same in regards to optical media.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Sales of physical game titles are already being replaced by sales of prepaid cards for monthly access to game servers. Prepaid iTunes download cards are also available, but I don't think that is enough to keep a music store in business.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      For mass distribution of 50GB worth of mass-stamped content, BluRay is pretty good and gotten a lot cheaper than when the PS3 was first introduced. I think the "big name" games will still be on discs, the question is if we'll see anything more like a real app store for consoles. Yes, yes I know there's sorta something like that today but as a mainstream way of downloading games. Perhaps even as an alternative to discs.

    • by grumpyman (849537)
      Physical gaming media will not dry up in the near future - it's been brought up here in /. If the console makers won't let retailers to carry physical games, the retailers may refuses to carry their consoles altogether. The only way I can see happening is when e-commerce (online store) is so proliferate that there's a hugely reduced need for physical retailers for electronics/computers (e.g. when everybody knows how to use liondirect, oldegg..etc.).
  • Why don't you go get a Sega 16 if you are really caught up in the nostalgia of a cartridge. I for one am fine with the way things are going (optical disks or digital downloads to embedded storage). It's fast. It's easy. There's no time wasted blowing (the console). The future is here.

  • by adeft (1805910) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:13PM (#32132498)
    The medium switched to disks because they were cheaper to make, held more information, and worked. If cartridges take on these qualities, then there would be no reason to avoid them.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The medium switched to disks because they were cheaper to make, held more information, and worked. If cartridges take on these qualities, then there would be no reason to avoid them.

      Sooo... DVD-RAM?
      No reason not to put spinning discs in a cartridge.

  • I imagine the best size for a cartridge game being the size of an old TurboGraphx 16 game (http://www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/images/collection5/ar/DSC01409%20%28Small%29.JPG via google). I think SSD drives would be well suited for this. However, small games like SD cards are lost too easy. Remember, the gamer with kids can heavily influence this particular section of the gaming industry.
    • by Jer (18391)

      How small is too small?

      DS cartridges aren't very big, and it seems to be a fairly popular format.

  • What's not "digital" about CDs, DVDs or flash memory?

  • by PocketPick (798123) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:17PM (#32132554)

    'Imagine if you could marry the vast spaces of discs with the blazing fast speeds of solid state memory. Can you say "no more load times"?

    Cartridges will result in somewhat lower load times, for sure, but the complete elimination? I highly doubt it - The terrains of games like Oblivion and Fallout still take massive amounts of time to render in memory, and then display on the screen...The bottleneck is not necessarily the time required to simply extract it off the DVD or Blu Ray disk it resides on.

    As game creators push the limits further and further with the inevitable next generation of consoles, you'll find the limiting factor in how long it takes to get up-and-running has less and less to do with the choice of optical media vs. SSD.

    • by i.r.id10t (595143)

      So maybe the thing would be to have a cartridge with a large capacity split into multiple sections, one of which would act as directly addressable memory to hold maps, textures, and other non-changing data stored the way the host OS would expect to access it.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Yup. "No more load times" is only going to happen once solid state storage sizes are so huge that assets don't need to be compressed, and so fast that it's as efficient to access them from the storage as it is from RAM.

      And given that RAM access speeds are always increasing as well, and as storage increases game assets keep increasing to fill them up, I don't see this happening any time soon.

      And for small games that don't have these limits? I can download an entire iPhone or XBox Live game over my broadban

    • The terrains of games like Oblivion and Fallout still take massive amounts of time to render in memory, and then display on the screen...The bottleneck is not necessarily the time required to simply extract it off the DVD or Blu Ray disk it resides on.

      You’re sure of that?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FishTankX (1539069)

      I believe this is partially due to the variability of PC hardware. You can't just program the game to load on the fly due to the fact that you can't target a certain known disc speed. The person's hard drive could be nearly full (hence a commensurate reduction in seek time due to fragmentation) or what not.

      What I see happening eventually, is that every console will come with a high speed 32GB SSD as a loading cache. What will happen is that at the beginning of the game there will be a long load, and then in

  • I still play cartridge games now. Who wants to play Turtles in Time co-op?
  • It can bring down the cost of a console, but unless the cost of the cartage is close to that of a 2 layer blue ray disk, its going to be hard to convince.

    Still, if we have the technology to "stamp" rom cart's maybe we got something.

  • The ideal gaming platform would be one where not just the game but most of the electronics that have traditionally been in the console are also in the cartridge. Mass production of cartridges would keep that affordable to the end user. The console would effectively just be the power supply and monitor and controller interconnects.
    This approach has many benefits including:
    * New games could take full advantage of new hardware and general tech advances.
    * Games hardware could be custom tailored for each game.
    *

  • No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by proxima (165692) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:26PM (#32132736)

    I'm already annoyed at the Netflix app for the Wii coming on disc instead of stored to the flash (word is it may be licensing issues; the app works spectacularly, by the way).

    For really graphics intensive games, we'll still be seeing game sizes in the tens of gigabytes. Flash is cheap, but it isn't that cheap (nor is the cheap stuff particularly fast. SD card transfer speeds are pretty pathetic). For most games, I think there will at least be a download option, ala Steam. Instant gratification from your purchase, and it allows for smaller, cheaper games to become popular (World of Goo).

    The physical disc does have a few advantages - you can bring it to a friend's house and easily re-sell it. Still, a really nice system would simply be an "export to USB drive/SD card" option which temporarily disables the game on the console and puts a valid copy on the USB key. The USB key's copy is valid for a fixed period of time. Sales could, in principle, be done via electronic transfer (though game publishers will be thrilled to cutoff the used game market if they can do it legally).

    So I think we'll see the really big games continue to get distributed on optical media (it's cheap), and more games distributed both on optical media and download. Since this last generation of consoles, hard drives have gotten much, much larger and cheaper relative to average game size. The next gen consoles will almost certainly have 1-3 TB drives built into them, standard. But ROM cartridges or substantial use of flash cartridges? I'm not seeing it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zeropointburn (975618)

      I think you are on to something with the idea of electronic transfer. If the original publisher or platform company could handle the secondary market and take their cut, suddenly selling used games would be no problem. If Nintendo were to offer what amounts to an escrow service, where the buyer pays a small fee for the transfer and the seller gets the rest, and Nintendo gets to inspect both consoles to confirm the transfer, then they would have no argument against resale. Until someone like GameStop undercu

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I suspect the only reason they don't do it is that if they will open themselves up for antitrust action to prevent them from leveraging their monopoly on resale of products, under First Sale law in which you have the right to do that anyway. You arguably don't have this right with a game which you've only paid to play, as opposed to one which you've bought on physical media; But if they give you the ability, a court might make them let others resell, and then they have to not only lose that sale, but be for

  • It's funny to see people thinking in terms of Media. It's like reading the old science fiction (Niven, etc.) where they constantly refer to tapes and even have the characters writing things down (they have faster than light travel but no PDAs, right). The next popular media format is already here and making rapid inroads, it's called the Internet and it's available in high speed local wired flavours (you can get a home gigabit switch for $20-40 easy) and wireless (802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G, 4G, WiMax, etc.). I'm n
  • cardboard soap box. I can't take seriously someone who doesn't understand the euphamism and is too lazy to look it up.
    • What the hell are you talking about?

      It was Jordan Montreuil’s opinion piece. He put out his soapbox and he stood on it. What’s your problem?

  • You pop the game into the top of the console, so the game is sticking out the top like in ye olden times, and you could see the sweet artwork on the front of the cartridge.

    DS games are like a microSD format, and are tiny. I don't think we'll see a return to bulky Atari or NES-style game carts.

    More likely, downloadable games will be the future anyway. And they'll be rented content, tied to servers, and DRMed to the point that you in no way actually own the game unless you're actively paying for it and you

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:33PM (#32132864) Journal
    Cartridges are still mostly pointless.

    Consider: If Flash is cheap enough to distribute games on, it is cheap enough to build large mass storage devices into consoles with. Further, since a console is a one-time purchase, and its internal mass storage is re-usable, while a catridge's Flash has to come right out of the margins of the game, it will always be the case, no matter how cheap Flash gets, that a console can have a much larger mass storage block than a cartridge can. Simple economic reality. Unless the singularity strikes, and the numbers are "Catridge: a million bazillion petabytes, too cheap to price" and "Console: a trillion bazillion petabytes, too cheap to price" this difference will always matter.

    Cartridges don't really offer any anti-piracy advantage anymore: again, because you have to fit into the margin of the game being sold, you are pretty limited in what security measures you can bake into the cartridge itself. Clones will be pouring out of China and onto ebay within moments. Any moderately robust system-level DRM is going to be in the console. And, if optical media really scare you, it is still cheaper to come up with a slight variant(Blu-Ray disks with embedded RFIDs or something) than it is to ship a cartridge. Downloads, of course, offer trivial per-download uniqueness opportunities.

    Now, that said, I do suspect that the institution of playing/executing from optical media will die out in fairly short order(except for "watch once" stuff like movies. Optical media offer shitty latency, long load times, and are often pretty noisy. HDDs are faster and more capacious. SSDs are faster still, and capacity is climbing. I strongly suspect that most people would rather have a "15 minute 'install' consisting of dumping a disk image to internal storage, possibly in a compressed form that the console offers hardware accelerated decompression for, followed by fast level loads forever" to "Instant play, and 90 second level loads forever". Or, with a little cleverness, somebody could probably whip up a hybrid model: "Instant play, initially a touch slow as the disk image is dumped in the background, followed by gradually increasing speed as more and more reads take place from fixed storage, rather than optical disk".

    Downloads, of course, will go to internal fixed storage(or external mass storage devices) no matter what.
  • Or the consoles themselves could simply have a solid state internal hard drive for buffering. It could easily be the case in 10 years that the console could be equipped with a 1 TB solid state hard drive and all games are just copied onto this when you first load it.

  • Ignore all the pooh poohers here...cartridges are so much better than discs in so many ways (other than storage capacity, but with solid state, disks would be up against some very stiff competition...no pun intended).

    For one, you can trust clumsy 6 year olds with them. They're way more resilient than discs. For another, solid state memory is getting so fast it's like playing your game right off your hard drive, instead of spinning a platter at a ridiculous speed (and all the heat and mechanical issues
  • Yes, Please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zero_DgZ (1047348) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:31AM (#32136308)

    Given that cartridge based games seem to last about a bazillion times longer than optical disk and in most cases are much more durable, I would favor a return to cartridges. Especially considering I have Atari VCS games that still work perfectly ('70's) and PSX games that despite being carefully stored and handled do not due to data layer oxidation and other factors (early 2000's...) I think the results really speak for themselves.

    Cartridges can be repaired and are much more resistant to abuse - a cart with a cracked case will still work (possibly with the addition of some duct tape) but a cracked optical disk is invariably toast. Cartridge shells can be replaced, contacts can be refurbished and cleaned, and also very importantly - game save data can be kept on the cartridge, with the game. No more "my memory card is full, but I don't want to lose any of my 100% completion RPG saves!" sort of scenarios. Also, cart mechanisms can be made with no moving parts, or at least parts that need to move during operation (loading and unloading are different stories) leading to lower power consumption and higher reliability. Hands up anyone with a Playstation of any generation with either a dead laser, spindle motor, or both?

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