If you have a Nintendo Switch, you’ve probably realized that there’s not a whole lot of internal storage. So, to get around that, many just buy the physical copies of games so they don’t fill up their Nintendo Switch so fast. Well, some physical copies of games, like Doom, have additional downloads on top of the cartridge.
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The physical copy of Doom includes the single-player version of the game, but if you want multi-player it’s an additional 9GB of storage needed. Oh, if you wanted the digital copy of Doom? Well, it’d take up just over 22GB itself. The Nintendo Switch cartridges come in three sizes, 8, 16, and 32GB variants. Most manufacturers choose to use the 8 or 16GB versions because they are more affordable and they can keep games at normal prices.
Companies are getting great at compressing games, as Doom on PC requires 55GB of free space and is only around 22GB with all components on Switch. But, there’s only so much you can compress. With Xbox and PS4, you have Blu-ray disks that can hold 50GB (and 100GB if dual-layer), so storage isn’t a big issue there. Those systems also ship with 500GB-2TB of internal storage.
Due to the size that some games require, new releases like L.A. Noire are $10 more on Nintendo Switch than on Xbox One or PS4. You could always just download L.A. Noire, but that would take up 29GB of space. That’s more than the Nintendo Switch ships with available, as after the system takes its storage you have 25GB of free space.
I purchased Zelda Breadth of the Wild digitally because I had just got my Nintendo Switch and was impatient. That took up half of my internal storage instantly, and the DLC’s take up even more. All I had on my Switch was Zelda and I went to download Rocket League and was given a warning that I didn’t have enough storage and had to clean it up. I had one game installed, what?
Thankfully I have dozens of microSD cards around from various cameras and older phones so I was able to expand it easily. But, to save us from having to worry about internal storage being taken up, Nintendo was supposed to launch 64GB game cartridges (an upgrade from the current 8/16/32GB versions.) Sadly, they’re delayed until 2019. But what does this mean for us as consumers?
Well, if you like larger titles, it means they’ll likely be delayed. Many games take up more than 32GB that the cards provide and game developers generally hate making customers download day 1 updates because they couldn’t fit it in one medium. Game developers also prefer to do physical and digital launches at the same time, so going digital only isn’t really an option.
But, there is still an option here, you can always add a microSD card to your Switch. These tiny storage devices are always dropping in price, and you can currently get a 128GB microSD card for $37 on Amazon. The benefit here is that when you’re done using it, this card can record at speeds needed for capturing 4K content, so it’s perfect for a GoPro, camera, or phone too.
There’s really not much we can do until 2019 here except to get a few microSD cards and understand we’re going to be downloading games on Switch more than at launch.