My first introduction to gaming
on a console was the Atari 2600, and like several systems that would follow, it used game cartridges. These days, onboard storage drives, memory cards, and digital downloads rule the day, and there is no going back. Or is there? A curious patent filing from Sony may tip the return of the old school cartridge for the PlayStation 5
, but with a new school twist.
There is very little information to go on right now, just a patent with a mostly bare patent with a rough sketch of a cartridge. Much of the context is missing—does Sony
envision using these cartridges to store games like back in the day, or could they be simply be a way of expanding the PS5's storage with little fuss?
We don't know, though it's fun to speculate. The folks at LetsGetDigital
spotted the patent (PDF)
and promptly designed some nifty looking renders, based on what could materialize. The site envisions these being SSD cartridges, and took the liberty of designing renders showcasing 3TB, 2TB, and 1TB capacity models.
What's also interesting about this is that Sony has traditional shied away from cartridges. It's PlayStation consoles have all used optical discs, with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro
supporting Blu-ray discs.
The same folks who discovered this patent also found a separate one
for the PS5, and drew up renders
of those as well. It was later confirmed
by a developer that the drawings were in fact accurate representations of the PS5 Developers Kit (the launch design will likely differ). One thing that can be seen in the dev kit, though, is a disk drive.
Sony has also made a big deal about the transition to SSD storage in the PS5, as have some game developers. BoxFrog Games, for example, says load times the SSD-based storage subsystem in the PS5 significantly improves load times
, and Sony has demonstrated to the press
how much faster the PS5 is at loading games compared to the PS4.
None of this means we will actually see SSD cartridges for the PS5, but it is at least a possibility. How exactly Sony might utilize the form factor, though, is a good question. Perhaps these cartridges could store entire game libraries. The bigger question, will we have to periodically blow in them? Probably not, if you believe that it never actually worked anyway.