PS5 will use cartridges reveals unlikely new patent

Sony seem to be going old school when it comes to delivering games on the PlayStation 5, but what is the new cartridge really for?

If it wasn’t for the Nintendo Switch still using a form of cartridge, we’d worry that many younger games wouldn’t even know what they are. But, for some reason, Sony is bringing the concept back for the PlayStation 5.

It’s, presumably, not to store games on, but a patent was found on a Brazilian legal website by Dutch site LetsGoDigital, who are the ones that like doing all those 3D renders of the leaked PlayStation 5 devkits.

The cartridge design is by Yujin Morisawa, Senior Art Director at the Corporate Design Center of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Although we doubt it took him long as the image looks just like a normal games cartridge from the 90s.

Rather than who designed it, the burning question is what it’s for, as Sony has never used cartridges for anything in their home consoles and in these days of digital distribution they seem less relevant than ever.

Nintendo famously held out using them for as long as possible, sticking with the format for the N64, instead of using CDs, and inspiring Sony to enter the games industry after the aborted Nintendo PlayStation venture.

Cartridges were important to Nintendo’s profit line because only they could make them and that enabled them to charge third party publishers lucrative licensing fees to allow their games to appear on Nintendo formats.

Cartridges also helped stopped piracy and cut down load times to a minimum, but the latter at least is already going to be less of an issue on the PlayStation 5 because of its use of a SSD.

Or maybe the cartridge is some kind of hardware expansion – again, Nintendo used to be very big on things like the Expansion Pak – but that seems almost as retro as putting a game on a cartridge.

So to summarise: we have no idea what this is for. Do you?

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