The cartridge has been around since the beginning of videogames, and Nintendo's keeping them alive a few more years with its next handheld, the 3DS. But that'll be the last cart-based console, reckons Pachter.
The cost effectiveness of carts and the increasing value of internal flash memory coupled with a download-only system as proved successful by iPhone and iPad will soon be what ultimately kills our beloved carts.
As Pachter explains, flash memory costs around 2-3 dollars per gigabyte, which is pretty cheap. He goes on: "The Blu-ray disc holds 54GBs of information. The average Xbox 360 game is 7GBs, so you could put a high-def game, or seven, on a BR disc. That BR disc costs 70cents to make. To put 54GBs on [flash memory] it would be a couple of hundred bucks."
The current DS uses flash-based carts, but Pachter says: "I actually think Nintendo is going to migrate away from that. Think about the iPod as an example," he adds touting their some 32GBs of built-in flash memory.
He went on:" You may still have cartridges on the handhelds with the 3DS. After that with the next generation I think not, zero."
When carts do eventually die, what would you prefer; UMD-style mini discs, or internal memory only like iPhone and PSPgo?