Nintendo is reportedly planning to return to old-school game cartridges for its next home console, codenamed the NX. This is according to The Wall Street Journal, which cites anonymous sources familiar with the matter. However, it's not the first time we've heard this rumor about the NX, which will be launching globally in March 2017, and is expected to be some sort of hybrid device that works on your TV, but also as a portable console.
This is why cartridges make sense for the NX. Although this sort of storage was phased out decades ago for home consoles as optical media began to offer greater storage capacity, cartridges are Nintendo's best choice for its hybrid NX. Increased competition between manufacturers means flash storage has become faster and cheaper in recent years, and Nintendo itself still uses cartridges for its handheld systems like the 3DS. They have the advantage of being more kid-friendly (you can't scratch them like CDs), harder to pirate, and data loads fasters on them than on optical discs.
Cartridges are also more portable than fragile discs, potentially corroborating earlier reports that indicated that the NX would include a "mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use." Nintendo is still refusing to be drawn on what its mysterious new console actually is, but there’s more than enough information out there — including a patents for a strange elliptical controller that's also a touchscreen — for fans to ruminate on.