The Nintendo Switch is a marvelous console. Its innovative mixture of traditional console and hand-held gaming made it Digital Trends’ top overall product in 2017, but the system’s small size does come with a few shortcomings. Its game cards currently come in sizes no larger than 32GB, necessitating an extra download for certain titles too hefty to fit only on the card. This will be changing with the introduction of 64GB game cards, but Nintendo is reportedly not ready to release them yet.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo told third-party developers that it plans to delay the introduction of 64GB game cards until 2019.
The Nintendo Switch only features 32GB of built-in flash storage, giving players very little space to work with if their games require an extra download. A 128GB MicroSDXC card will set you back about $50 but will allow you to be more flexible in which games you buy physically and which you download.
Third-party games for the Nintendo Switch often come with extra downloads in order to enable certain features, such as the online multiplayer in Doom, or simply to finish installing the game, as is the case with LA Noire — the latter game requires an additional 13GB download after you’d inserted the physical game card.
Some physical game collections also only contain one game on the card itself. The recent Resident Evil Revelations Collection only has the original game included on the card, while its sequel eats up 23.6GB as a download. Bayonetta 2 on Nintendo Switch will also include a port of the original game, though this must be downloaded — when the game came to Wii U, it was included as a separate disc. With the trend of ISPs in the United States to cap data — and the recent repeal of net neutrality — this could spell trouble for players just looking to enjoy single-player experiences on their console.
Given the relatively tiny file sizes of Nintendo’s first-party Switch games, we have to wonder how much of this issue could be solved with better compression by those porting games to the system. Still, when the 64GB cards are finally release, it should all but eliminate the need for extra downloads.