Here's a recap. Last year, it was discovered that Sony had filed a patent in Brazil for a cartridge device of some sort. It resembles old-school game cartridges, or those you plug into your PS Vita, for instance, but its real purpose remained unclear. In November 2019, tech site LetsGoDigital created 3D renders of said device. The website deduced that the cartridge could be extra SSD storage for use with PlayStation 5.
LetsGoDigital did some more digging, and it turns out this same cartridge was patented in Sony's homeland of Japan much earlier. From these new documents, the tech site has pulled new images and quotes which corroborate its theory on the device. It's now sounding more likely that you'll be able to upgrade your PS5's SSD storage with these modular carts. Here's the quote on the subject from SIE Japan:
This is a recording medium which can record various data, such as a character, an image, an animation, a sound and a program. By loading the opening provided by the game console with the tip end part by which a variety of pins of this cartridge were provided, the various data recorded on this cartridge can be read.
In other words, these cartridges are built for data storage. It seems much more likely that you'll be able to plug one of these into your PS5 in order to expand the system's total storage capacity, which sounds much easier than replacing the built-in SSD altogether. As LetsGoDigital points out, the advantage of this for Sony, if true, will be that it can reduce the cost of the PS5 itself with a smaller amount of system storage. Players can then use these modular storage expansions as and when required.
Much more recently, Microsoft unveiled the full tech specs for Xbox Series X, and among the technobabble was the reveal of something that looks very similar to this Sony patent. In Digital Foundry's full report, it talks about a custom NVMe drive, which functions just as described above -- it's extra SSD storage for the new Xbox. John Linneman, who wrote the aforementioned report, reckons this technology will be echoed on PS5:
To us, this sounds like the real deal, but we obviously won't know for certain until Sony speaks up. It would be a smart way to keep manufacturing costs to a minimum as the company aims for a comfortable initial cost, but we're just going to have to sit tight on this for the time being. With Microsoft spilling the beans, we hope Sony will respond soon.
What do you think about all this? Are these cartridges going to help expand PS5's storage? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.