Sony files patent for new game cartridge, but don’t get too excited

Sony PlayStation Vita Slim review port

The PlayStation Vita hasn’t been directly supported by Sony for several years, with the company preferring to focus all of its resources on the PlayStation 4. However, it (briefly) appeared that game cartridges still had some place at Sony, if a recent patent filing was indication.

A South Korean patent filing, spotted by the Dutch website TechTastic, was made public this month, and it is for an “electronic game cartridge.” It doesn’t appear like anything we’ve seen from a video game system before, with a large round hole on one side and a port at the bottom of the other. It most closely resembles the block Apple wraps its headphones around when they’re bundled with an iPhone, and doesn’t appear that it will actually go in a system.

As one of our readers pointed out, however, the device also looks like a piece of the children’s toy platform Toio, which Sony first revealed in 2017. The piece in question plugs into the top, if it is indeed the same as the images in the patent.

Just a year ago, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House — now departed — said that there “wasn’t a huge market opportunity” for a dedicated handheld gaming system outside of Japan. The Nintendo Switch has managed to bridge a gap between handheld and traditional consoles with its hybrid design, but its games don’t rely on the same type of horsepower found in Sony’s own titles.

Still, we wouldn’t be opposed to Sony dipping its toes back into the portable market. Despite the commercial failure of the Vita, it was an impressive system capable of delivering stunning visuals and had particularly great support from Japanese and independent developers.

We’re hoping that cartridges could still make a comeback, possibly with the next-generation PlayStation. As of now, we know very little in terms of concrete information on the system, but Sony has confirmed that something is in the works. Microsoft has given about as much information regarding the next generation of Xbox systems, though it has been reported that there will actually be two different consoles. One will be a traditional system similar to the Xbox One, while the other will be a cheaper, digital-only system built to take advantage of Project xCloud.

Updated on November 27, 2018: Updated to reflect that the images could be the same as the Toio children’s toy platform.

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