Sony has patented a new design for a game cartridge that has PlayStation fans up in arms, rejoicing as some signal this as the beginning of Sony’s next venture into handheld gaming consoles. As suggested by PC Magazine, Sony and Nintendo typically competed with each other when it came to home consoles and handheld gaming devices, and with the success of the handheld / home console hybrid of the Nintendo Switch, it seems that Sony is showing signs that they are working on their own handheld / home hybrid gaming console.
Sony Interactive Entertainment, Inc. has filed a patent in South Korea for an ‘Electronic Game Cartridge’ (translated from Korean). The designs, which are registered on the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), were approved on October 5, 2018 (design app. no. 3020170056195 and design app. no. 3020170056196). While not much information can be gleaned from the images, there is a clear depiction of a slot for a small gaming cartridge, which could be similar to the small gaming cartridge type that is used for the Nintendo Switch. While we’re not going to call this a coincidence, it is interesting to note that sources have reported that in 2017, Sony filed a patent for a device that had a similar look to the Nintendo Switch, but as of yet, the public has seen no resulting products of that patent.
Because this is a design patent, there isn’t much of a detailed description in how it works, but the registration entry does mention that the material consists of synthetic resin and metal, and has a silver look to it. There is also a circular hole in one of the design images, which indicates that the device would have the ability to be easily carried around.
If it ends up being true, and Sony does end up releasing a new gaming console that uses cartridges, it would be very interesting to see why this movement back to cartridges, as gaming consoles have used discs for several years due to the fact that cartridges are generally more expensive, have limited storage capacities when compared to discs, and therefore, on its face, seems to not be a financially wise decision for any modern gaming developer to make when deciding what types of devices to produce their IP on.
We’ve previously discussed that just because a company files a patent, does not mean that they intend to use it. With that in mind, it would be wise to not get your hopes up, as Sony is still holding their position that they have no plans to produce a new handheld gaming device. Major development companies like Sony are constantly filing dozens of applications all over the world and registering dozens of new IP, most of which might not ever make it to mainstream production. So, once again, with every small glimpse we get into a new IP, we’ll just have to wait and see.