Nintendo filed a patent back in February for a game console with no disc slot, and that patent is finally online for examination. Here’s the abstract (emphasis added):
An example system includes 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. The example system is not provided with an optical disk drive for reading out a program and/or data from an optical disk.
Of course, companies file patents all the time and that doesn’t guarantee that anything will ever come of it, but given that Nintendo announced its upcoming “NX” platform, a patent like this could give us a clue into Nintendo’s plans. For instance, popular speculation pegs the NX as being a unifying hybrid device that can blast games to your TV when you’re home, but lets you go portable and take your games on the go with no fuss. A system like that wouldn’t do well with spinning discs, so this patent would have a tangible application there.
While Nintendo’s patent ditches the disc drive, it retains a slot for physical memory like SD cards. That would also make sense because keeping a slot for physical memory is still necessary given that many people can’t or simply don’t like to buy games digitally, and it reduces the need for the system to have some crazy amount of internal storage.
But again, none of that is confirmed for the NX, so take it with a grain of salt. Still, I’d be very surprised if the NX shipped with a disc slot at this point.