While many people are going on diets to ring in the new year, video games are doing quite the opposite. Game file sizes are expanding, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down in 2018. That could be a problem for Nintendo Switch developers, because the Wall Street Journal reports Nintendo has delayed the release of 64-gigabyte Switch game cards to 2019.
According to the article, Nintendo had planned to roll out these cards in the second half of 2018, but had to push the date back due to technical reasons.
Current Switch game cards top out at 32GB, and that’s already a problem because game makers are hitting that ceiling. To get around the limitation, many big Switch games require massive additional downloads to play.
Buy LA Noire, and you can’t play it without a 14GB download. WWE 2K18 is worse, with a required download of 24GB. The physical version of Doom comes with the campaign, but if you want to play multiplayer, you’ll need to download it separately. Similarly, the game card for Resident Evil Revelations Collection contains the first game, but the second game? That’s a separate download.
Big games on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren’t such a problem. They both use Blu-ray discs, which can hold up to 50GB. But if a developer were to run out of space on a Blu-ray disc, it’s no great expense to add a second disc. That’s not the case with Nintendo Switch cartridges, which cost much more than Blu-ray discs. In fact, LA Noire costs $10 more on Switch than on PS4 or Xbox One because the Switch game card is so expensive.
What’s worse, Nintendo Switches only come with 32GB of onboard memory, which fills up fast when games require massive downloads to play. Which means just about every Switch owner has to buy an extra microSD card to add digital storage space.
According to the Wall Street Journal article, the 64GB Switch game card delay may cause some U.S.-based game publishers to hold back Switch games they had hoped to publish in 2018.