Little is known about Nintendo's next hardware project: NX. The company has been surprisingly tight lipped on the topic, something that is unusual for them. Traditionally, Nintendo has been more than willing to discuss hardware specs, features and plans up to a year from launch. This time, though, all we know for sure is that the NX will release in March 2017.
That does not mean that we have zero information; it's just everything is based on rumor and conjecture. This week's addition to the rumor pile comes from a reputable source: The Wall Street Journal. In their report, they add some legitimacy to the rumor that Nintendo will return to a cartridge-based game system. While this might sound insane initially, there could be some good reasons for this decision.
Obviously, the first reason Nintendo might consider this is it is their heritage. When we think of cartridge systems, most people immediately think of the NES. It would be fun to see a retro-style Nintendo system that plays modern games. But there are technological reasons for this decision, as well. Flash media prices have decreased significantly over the past few years. Today, you can go to Amazon and buy a brand-name huge microSD card for almost nothing, and that is retail prices. Nintendo, purchasing flash memory wholesale, could get it far cheaper.
In addition to unit price, the process of producing the games on flash is cheaper and easier than discs. Plus, with a cartridge system, it is far harder to bootleg a game. With a disc, duplicating a burn is fairly easy. With a cartridge, you have to have the hardware to read the image, duplicate the memory and then build it into a matching cartridge, which Nintendo will not make publicly available, unlike CD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
For Nintendo, this seems to be a slam dunk for price, ease and intellectual property protection. For consumers, it would give a fun, retro feel to a modern Nintendo console to return to its roots.