Above: Nintendo 64 game console
In 1995, Nintendo released their 64-bit game console called the Nintendo 64. This was a bit of a surprise for many reasons:
Above: Nintendo 64 Golden Eye
1) Nintendo never released a 32-bit game console that left many wondering if Nintendo was going the way of Atari and if they could come back with a new console.
2) Nintendo had also decided to stick to the cartridge format to reduce load times and because cartridges were less prone to piracy. And, for many users, the cartridge was a preferred medium. Ultimately, spinning media offers more storage space, but the load times are very annoying and can be very long even with modern consoles
The second surprise had many doubting the end product as many game developers walked away from development fearing that the cartridge would not have sufficient storage to produce high quality 3D games.
While the console did produce some top selling titles, the cartridge format did prove limiting. There was little room for voiceovers, let alone full motion video. While these were significant issues, Nintendo had a deep selection of game series to pull from and enhance of the 64-bit platform.
Above: Nintendo 64 cartridge motherboard
However, it is likely that the cartridge format will come back as the cost of flash memory is much lower now than it has ever been. While it may not be cost effective for the eight generation, it is likely that it will return for the ninth generation.
Above: Nintendo 64 motherboard
As a result, the console sold over 30 million units before being discontinued.