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What made Nintendo go with flat cards rather than optical discs for Switch?

Switch Media game cards

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#1 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 12:38 PM

Its no longer a secret that the Switch uses flat cards that somewhat resemble vita game cards in size. My question is why did Nintendo go ahead with this route for their Newest console? What exactly was wrong with the Nintendo optical discs used by the Wii and Wii-U? What happened!?



#2 CRTGAMER OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 12:51 PM

Faster access time and the portability.

#3 Punisher5.0 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 12:53 PM

Not too mention that optical media is on its way out.

#4 PhilipTheWhovian OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:02 PM

Optical discs are easier to pirate and rising in costs. Also, it's probably a way of separating themselves from the rest of the consoles. In addition, physical media as a whole system is (unfortunately) declining in popularity. Nintendo is a business, which we shouldn't forget, and in some cases keeping the business going needs to be more important than nostalgia.



#5 Retro-Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:32 PM

What???

 

LOL.

 

Try stuffing a DVD drive into a Switch. It's pretty easy to see why the optical discs wouldn't work in that application.

 

I would guess that the decision to use "cartridges" was a very practical one dictated by a variety of things, ESPECIALLY the tiny size and portable nature of the Switch handheld unit.

 

Besides, the durability and costs for hardware that uses solid-state cartridges, compared to an optical drive for reading disc-based media, was likely a very important factor as well. The optical drive would be more expensive, likely less durable, would likely use more battery power, would take up too much room in the handheld (room that could otherwise be used for something like a larger battery), would add hardware costs to the device for something like a door to access the drive, etc.

 

I've always thought the UMD drive in the PSP was super cool in a tech-gadget sort of way (literally like having a miniaturized Playstation, complete with discs!). However, the limitations of the little discs and the mechanical complexity of the drive were some drawbacks to the PSP system. Nintendo knows the Switch will likely be handled/abused by less-than-careful kids, so a delicate door for inserting disc media probably isn't the best approach for avoiding warranty repairs of broken products. 

 

Finally, the storage capacity for things like SD cards is increasing and getting cheaper every day per gigabyte of storage. So, those little game cartridges for the Switch will likely just get cheaper and cheaper for Nintendo, and allow them to put larger and larger games onto them. 


Edited by Retro-Z, Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:59 PM.


#6 omegadot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:48 PM

With the switch being portable I'm not sure how optical discs were even an option.



#7 Retro-Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:58 PM

With the switch being portable I'm not sure how optical discs were even an option.

 

Most definitely an option (for instance, the PSP used optical discs).

 

However, the cartridges used by Nintendo are a MUCH better option for 2017. Even Sony moved away from the PSP's "UMD" disc setup when they introduced the Vita.



#8 omegadot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:00 PM

 

Most definitely an option (for instance, the PSP used optical discs).

 

However, the cartridges used by Nintendo are a MUCH better option for 2017. Even Sony moved away from the PSP's "UMD" disc setup when they introduced the Vita.

 

 

Sure, it's possible, but it's not an option really worth working with.



#9 Zap! OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:10 PM

How much data can a Switch card hold? Since it looks like an SD, is the maximum capacity similar (512gb right now, with 1tb soon)?



#10 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:28 PM

Trolling trolling, trolling.

 

Yeah, let's add a BluRay drive to an already Lynx sized handheld.  Moving parts, fantastic. :lol:



#11 Retro-Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:34 PM

 

 

Sure, it's possible, but it's not an option really worth working with.

 

Yes, that's exactly what I've been saying.

 

Like CPUWIZ said, this thread does seem like trolling...


Edited by Retro-Z, Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:35 PM.


#12 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:52 PM

Trolling trolling, trolling.

 

Yeah, let's add a BluRay drive to an already Lynx sized handheld.  Moving parts, fantastic. :lol:

 

And it's not going away. The rotten apples are spoiling the bunch :(



#13 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 3:49 PM

 

Most definitely an option (for instance, the PSP used optical discs).

 

And everyone would always complain about the shorter battery life, longer load times,  and less durable umd discs. I'm glad Nintendo learned from Sony's poor choice.



#14 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 5:08 PM

You don't want an optical drive in a portable system.  Mechanical drives take a significant amount of space, add weight, are slow, use considerable power, and are not reliable over the long-term.  Discs are also easily scratched or damaged in other ways.  

 

I've always preferred physical media over digital downloads, but clearly we are headed towards consoles where games are delivered exclusively via the internet.  I would not be surprised if the next Playstation and Xbox consoles eschew optical drives.  

 

 ..Al



#15 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 5:44 PM

Trolling trolling, trolling.

 

Yeah, let's add a BluRay drive to an already Lynx sized handheld.  Moving parts, fantastic. :lol:

 

 

And it's not going away. The rotten apples are spoiling the bunch :(

I find it pretentious that the two of you think I'm always trolling with the threads I make. Especially you, Cpuwiz. Cut it out!



#16 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:05 PM

 

Cut it out!

 

:lol:

 

I'll ask Albert to move you from the troll status to moderator.



#17 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:20 PM

 

:lol:

 

I'll ask Albert to move you from the troll status to moderator.

Seriously, STOP IT. Not everything I do is a troll. I was just wondering for real as to why they did that for the fully developed Switch. But by all means, keep on being a damn presumptuous and begrudged patron.



#18 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:21 PM

Not too mention that optical media is on its way out.

Sad but true.



#19 omegadot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:32 PM

Sad but true.


Why sad? What do you like about optical media?

#20 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:39 PM

Why sad? What do you like about optical media?

You don't have to rely on drive space all the time, the underside is shiny, and its(usually) easier to get a hold of blank units than that of cartridges and some cassette formats. 



#21 Zap! OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 7:38 PM

 I was just wondering for real as to why they did that for the fully developed Switch.

 

Because Blu-ray-type optical media sucks in 2017. It's slow and holds a minimal amount of data compared to SD cards. Now, whether or not the Switch's cards hold as much as SD cards is to be determined. I asked the question above, but didn't get an answer. 



#22 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 7:39 PM

Kind of a silly question to ask why not to use optical on a portable system.  Wasn't the UMDs on the PSP lesson enough?  Endless slow loading screens.  If you move it around enough or gets bumped it can skip and jack things up.  They're not that cheap as proprietary discs with their little caddies to kind of protect them add costs yet they still can get scratches and dirt in them more so on the go meaning more failure rates being possible.

 

The cards of the Switch currently for sale to developers are 32GB** and that still will get you a profitable game at the $60USD high point.  They can get larger, but not offered due to expense at this time.

 

Given the size of a blu ray disc is 25GB (or 50 in those that are double sided) is this really that big of a problem?  Seems to me you can get a 32GB card for $60 or buy a PS4 game for $60 too using up the same space.  The disc is prone and open to being damaged.  A tight little Switch/Vita sized game card needs to be severely stressed, twisted, dunked (and then powered up), or set on fire to ruin the things.

 

Small memory cards are cheap these days.  Look at the huge mark up on microSD cards.  Even those big 'deals' you get at amazon say on a 64GB microSD for $30~ they're still probably doubling their money.  Sure that costs more than pennies to the dollar on a blu ray disc, but the trade off is durability, access speeds, and longevity of the media.  Also notice how there's nothing new really beyond blu-ray and how long we've sat on it?  They're trying to get rid of it, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't just force all movies to be downloads that they'd go with little cards like the Switch uses instead.

 

** Dragon Quest Hereoes 1+2 is a 32GB card game.  Both these games were separately released on current systems on one disc a piece.


Edited by Tanooki, Sun Mar 5, 2017 7:40 PM.


#23 Gregory DG OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 7:42 PM

I'm glad they've dropped optical discs. Makes the console smaller and no drive reliability issues.



#24 0078265317 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 11:34 PM

Plus cds scratch and break easily.



#25 Punisher5.0 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 6, 2017 12:43 AM

At first I was concerned what the load times would be like using these "carts". Especially after the some what lengthy load times on some Vita games. It seems like Nintendo went with some fast medium.





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