After its release in 1996, Nintendo 64(N64) sold millions of consoles and also millions of its first game. The games were quick loading, challenging, and very entertaining. But where there were many positives there were also negatives. The cartridges were unable to hold as much content and graphics as the competing compact discs could. The competition soon won the battle and discs made cartridges obsolete. But is that enough to say that discs are better than cartridges for players, or are they just better to marketing? Due to no experience with other gaming consoles, the following statements refer only to PlayStation and Nintendo 64 games.
It is easy to see why it could be said discs were better for marketing. Discs do not cost as much to create as cartridges do and yet consumers are still charged the same price, sometimes more for discs. It is also easy to see that gamers were excited by the idea of better graphics and more content. But it could also be said that gamers were not given much of a choice because discs soon took over and there were no new games being made on cartridges. No matter how long time goes on gamers will always get excited over something new. So with the idea that no more cartridge games were going to be new, many gamers had to break down and buy PlayStation 2 or Gamecube so that they could continue to have the newest games.
PlayStation 2 games were filled with excellent graphics and content that cartridges never had, but once again there were negatives along with the positives. There was no longer a chance for nonstop game play as games now had to load, sometimes slowly, before the user could play. Discs were subject to scratching just by being played. Eventually the disc would stop loading, sometimes completely, due to scratching. If this happened before the user completed the game they would be tempted to buy another copy of the same game just for the sake of finishing what they started. Once again this made the disc seem better for markets than for consumers.
Nintendo 64 cartridges needed little to no time to load. This made nonstop game play available. Also, the cartridges were durable and lasted for years, sometimes over a decade long. Gamers did not have to worry about the game no longer loading or skipping. There was no need to run out and buy the same game again just because it became too scratched up. Most game cartridges that were being played back in the first few years of production are still fully playable today. The same cannot be said about discs. The average disc, even when taken good care of, does not last longer than five years. The average cartridge, if taken good care of, can last longer than a decade.
Another great quality of N64 games is that they are entertaining on a more long term basis. Many of the N64 games that were made within the first few years of production are still being enjoyed today by their owners. PlayStation 2 games do not have the same result. This is because with N64 it was never about the newest game on the console or trying to complete a game before it got scratched. N64 games were all about entertainment. PS2 gamers became so worried about the challenge of completing the game before it was too late that they forgot to allow the game to entertain them as much as a game with no worries does.
Even though cartridges became obsolete in production, they never became obsolete in popularity. Gamers who enjoy entertainment more than having the newest game in production still enjoy N64 even though there has not been a new game made for it in almost a decade. It is easy to assume that had cartridge games continued to be made that they would still be bought by millions. But, of course, the world is more about marketing than entertaining. By making cartridges obsolete, game producers knew that they would be able to sell more and more games for higher prices while keeping production costs lower. So in the end it is easy to see that discs were excellent ideas for marketing, but may not have been so excellent for consumers.