The OLED display in the Switch OLED is so good honestly Nintendo should probably just re-use it for a Switch successor. It's honestly probably the first time with a Nintendo portable I've gone "wow, this screen is amazing" instead of "well this just good enough I guess". OLED display just makes colors pop so much more and blacks are inky black, which is perfect for Nintendo's games especially, and yeah this tech is just getting cheaper and cheaper because it's used in so many other devices these days. It's actually the one thing I noticed with Steam Deck is the lack of an OLED display is definitely noticeable.
It's a good price-sensitive panel, but it's not the best OLED has to offer... Far from it.
Nintendo can take things a step further than what you have seen on the Samsung OLED panel in the Switch.
10-bit, HDR would be a massive upgrade. 120hz perhaps? Or maybe variable refresh rate technology?
But we need to keep in mind that consoles aren't high-end devices that use high-end parts, so I would hope the next console has at-least a 900P panel.
Regarding CD-drives I mean by the mid-90s basically every PC being shipped had this kind of a CD drive, I wonder if most people even knew what company made their CD-drive, a lot of PCs just shipped with a "generic" brand less CD-ROM drive.
The thing is, it may be a no-named branded CD Rom drive, but a lot of the internal components that make up the drives are made by different manufacturers... Or different brands may use identical components.
I.E. OSI Optoelectronics might produce the Photodiode optical sensor in a Sony -and- Pioneer optical drive.
Which is why brand loyalty in electronics tends to be silly... Often components are sourced from the same manufacturers.
My CD drive in my PC (circa 1994) growing up I think was made by Creative. But there were so many CD-ROM manufacturers, even companies like Pioneer, Yamaha, etc.
My guess would be that Nintendo if they didn't want to work with Philips they would have probably turned to NEC or Panasonic (who they did work with on the GameCube). NEC had a history with Nintendo as early gen Famicom/NES games were coded on NEC computers and NEC had made CD drives for game systems before (PC Engine/Turbo Grafx 16). Nintendo even considered buying the PC Engine/Turbo Grafx 16 chip I believe to be the NES successor. But even more than that the N64's 64-bit CPU was the NEC VR4300. So NEC was already invested in the N64, I'm sure they would've been happy to make a CD drive for it if Nintendo asked.
There are plenty of choices available.
But in general, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft need to weight the cons/benefits of every design on offer by manufacturers and opt for the one with the greatest benefit to their end console design that fits a price budget. And that is the key thing... Price.
It's why IBM was chosen as the defacto CPU core in the 7th gen, but fell behind in the 8th and 9th gen as more cost efficient and performant CPU designs became readily available in a consoles limited budget.
In saying that... Carts do have some massive technical advantages over optical drives... I.E. SSD type access latencies which means streaming and random reads are a thing, reducing the need for data to be pre-loaded into RAM. - I.E. Just send the texture from cart to the 4kb texture cache and bypass the RDRAM entirely.
I think we'd be surprised how chaotic and (not sure if this is the right word) unprofessional Nintendo was with hardware design in the 80s/90s.
It was very much a fly by the seat enterprise and Yamauchi was often all over the place and Nintendo's own internal teams were at each other's throats.
There was a lot of crazy things going on. We'd like to think there was a lot of logic to decision making, but in studying Nintendo (and Sega too) of the 80s/90s you start to realize there was a lot of egos and frankly pig-headed management decisions that were all over the place.
For starters, how did Nintendo ever even sign the initial contract with Sony that gave them licensing fees for CD based games on a SNES CD-ROM was insane. Did no one bother to read the document before they signed it? Did they properly vet it? I don't think their legal department at the time (they signed this deal in 1988) really was up to snuff. Someone had to have been fired over that gong show. By the early 90s they realized they had signed a terrible deal and had to weasel out of it, my question is why would you even allow to be put in that bad of a spot in the first place.
You would think that might be a one off thing but Nintendo did the exact same thing with the Game Boy, they had an agreement with Citizen to make the screen and they then reneged on the deal after Citizen had been told the deal was theirs and went with Sharp instead, spurring Citizen to go work with Sega on the Game Gear.
The SNES I believe had its CPU scaled back almost at the very last minute on Yamauchi's orders. The GBA's display was changed very late in development for a terrible version of the screen too.
The decision to go cart-only with the N64 I'm sure was filled with a lot of stupid politics that didn't make sense. There's a lot of egos at Nintendo and Yamauchi encouraged the dev teams to basically be hostile to each other too in vying for his love/attention.
We kinda forget, Nintendo wasn't really always a game company, they were a random small Japanese company that got thrust into making video games and home video games in particular due to the unexpected success of the Famicom and really was making up the rules as they went along in many instances.
Cartridges had some advantages yes, although Nintendo also demonstrated that Super Mario 64 was able to run on the 64DD with fairly minimal load times ... the 64DD had disc read speeds about roughly in line with a 4x-8x CD-ROM drive. The timing was kind of bad too, CD-ROM prices plummeted in 1996 and especially 1997 and 4x CD drives were all over the place by 1997, if that had happened maybe even a year earlier maybe it would have been more obvious to Nintendo. Because CD-ROM was basically became the epitome of cheap tech, ironically the 64DD was almost certainly more expensive hardware than what a 4x CD drive would've cost by the end of '97. We saw also, Sony had no problem basically cutting the price of the Playstation to match any price cuts Nintendo did because the price of the CD drive became negligible as 1997, 1998 wore on. Every time Nintendo tried to cut the price of the N64 to give them more market traction, Sony would just respond by cutting the Playstation's price too.
Last edited by Soundwave - on 26 October 2022