Nintendo is delaying the delivery of 64GB Nintendo Switch cartridges to outside game developers until 2019, reports The Wall Street Journal, which cites several people familiar with the matter. The WSJ notes that Nintendo planned to make the 64GB cartridges available in the second half of 2018, but pushed the date back due to technical issues. The sources said the move has brought “slight disappointment” to some developers, especially US publishers who often need the larger capacity for their data-heavy games. The WSJ says those developers now “may wait” for the larger cartridges to be available before releasing those games for the Switch.
The Switch’s game cartridges currently max out at 32GB, less than the 50GB Blu-ray discs used by the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The Switch only comes with 32GB of internal memory but is expandable through microSD cards. Larger games on the Switch, like Doom,require a substantial download even if you buy a physical copy, because the entire game can’t fit on a single Switch cartridge. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for example, takes about 13.4GB to download to the Switch. Larger capacity cartridges would help alleviate the need for an extra microSD expansion card and the internet downloads required by these more demanding games.
Currently, users have the option of buying physical cartridges or downloading the games onto their Switch console. Notable game analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted that one disadvantage for users is that games which use the bigger cartridges will cost more. Gadgets360 reports that in Japan, Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 costs 1,000 yen more on the Nintendo Switch than on the PS4 because it ships on a larger 32GB cartridge (most Switch games come on 8GB or 16GB cartridges.)
For those who always ask why, blame the price of game carts that Nintendo charge to publishers.
32GB carts are ridiculously expensive. https://t.co/DthMIrWYl5
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 8, 2017
Earlier this year, Nintendo partnered with Western Digital to create licensed SanDisk microSD expansion cards in capacities of 64GB and 128GB, though cheaper alternatives are also available. Nintendo has posted strong sales of the Switch, selling 10 million consoles in nine months.