The space required for Breath of the Wild amounts to more than 40 percent of the Switch’s 32GB internal storage. In reality, though, the percentage is undoubtedly higher. The Wii U shipped with a marketed 32 GB drive, but after formatting (3 GB), and minus the space taken up by the operating system (4.2 GB), the console had roughly 25 GB remaining to store games, files, and other applications.
We don’t currently know the size of the Switch’s operating system, but when you finish setting up the console, expect the available space to be less than 32 GB.
This is likely to cause headaches for players who have transitioned to downloading a large percentage of their games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Switch’s storage can be expanded with a MicroSDXC card. Theoretically, this means the storage can expand to the highest capacity card currently available at retail (512 GB). The price of a 512 GB card, however, is more than the cost of the console itself. Even 256 GB cards regularly go for more than $100. A 128 GB card is the more realistic option, but even then, the system will be full after roughly a dozen Breath of the Wild-sized downloads.
It is important to note, however, that Breath of the Wild will likely be one of the largest file sizes at launch and beyon.
For proponents of physical media, the Switch will be a great console. It’s Nintendo’s first home console since the Nintendo 64 to use cartridge-based physical games. This format will mitigate the need for the type of hefty physical game installs seen on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Still, there are concerns that game patches will nibble away at storage space, even for those who exclusively purchase physical Switch games.
We can only hope that Switch games will release in full working order, and that prices for high-capacity MicroSD cards drop in the near future.