There’s Already A Game Too Big For The Nintendo Switch’s Built-In Memory

There’s Already A Game Too Big For The Nintendo Switch’s Built-In Memory

The Nintendo Switch costs $469.95, and includes all kinds of stuff in the box. Today is a good day to remember that it does not include a microSDXC card, which you are absolutely going to need if you want to take advantage of the luxuries of 2017 and buy your games digitally.

Nintendo Japan revealed the required storage space for the digital download versions of some of the console’s launch titles (and games coming out soon after) earlier today, and while you’ll be able to squeeze a few of the smaller ones in there, others are going to push your system to its limits. One in particular is going to go beyond them.

Disgaea 5 is 5.9GB. That’s fine. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be just over 7GB. Again, manageable.

Breath of Wild is 13.4GB, which is over half the Switch’s available memory once you take the OS and other necessary files into account.

Dragon Quest Heroes, though, takes up 32GB. Or, more than the available memory of the entire console. So it will absolutely require a memory card at launch for Japanese buyers (the game hasn’t been announced for the West yet).

None of this is new, of course. When we spoke with Nintendo in January, they explained how the card and memory situation was going to work:

For those concerned about the 32GB of storage, how will that work for playing downloadable games? How will it work for DLC and patches?

The Nintendo Switch system has 32GB of internal NAND memory, a portion of which is reserved for use by the system. The system’s internal memory can be easily expanded as needed using microSDXC cards.

The SDXC standard supports up to 2TB of storage. (Note that 2TB cards are not yet on the market, but Nintendo Switch will support them when they are.) External USB hard drives are not supported at launch, but we are researching the possibility of supporting them in the future.

If no microSDXC card is used, everything is stored in internal NAND memory. If a microSDXC card is used, game save data is stored in internal NAND memory while data that can be redownloaded, such as digital games, game updates and DLC, is stored on the microSDXC card. Nintendo Switch game cards are non-writable; game save data is stored in internal NAND memory.

But we didn’t know the size of some of the system’s launch games last month, so the idea of using an external card seemed like it might be a luxury, or something you’d need later on down the line once you’d amassed a decent library of games. Now that we do know the size of downloadable games, and we see that at best you can expect to be stashing two to four of them on the internal memory at any time (or at worst $157 128GB SanDisk card (a 200GB card will set you back $298).

I’m not saying this to alarm you, or to point it out as some kind of scandal. The 3DS needed SD cards as well, and most of us are old enough to remember paying for memory cards for PlayStations and GameCubes.

Just remember that when you go to drop $469.95 next week, it might be a good idea to set some cash aside for an SDXC card as well.


  • Sdhc is also supported, so anything you’ve had in your new 3ds will work.

    You can pick up a SanDisk 128gb uhs-1 card for $75 at umart. They have the ultra-fast 200gb card on preorder for $119.

    • Yeah, I can get a 200GB Sandisk delivered for $100, or a 128GB Samsung card for $60, so the article is a bit misleading as to costs.

    • You make a good point that memory is getting cheaper…I think you then have to ask why wasn’t more base memory included??? Nintendo seem to be good at gimping themselves sometimes.

      • I suspect it was a matter of size in this particular case? They are fitting a modern console in a comparatively tiny case. Also remember that they like to keep costs down and the Switch is already touching their ceiling as it is.

  • This is the biggest issue for me., for the price I’d expect more space to come with the system. I’ll be using mine mostly as a portable and its going to be a pain to carry around other games rather than have them stored digitally on the system.

    • Yeah, go physical only and see how easy it is to change cartridges while the Switch is docked. I don’t find it a problem to carry Vita games with me on the go (I rarely change games on the go in any event).

      • Yeah, go physical only and see how easy it is to change cartridges while the Switch is docked
        You simply click the game in and out at the top while the system is docked, it literally couldn’t be any easier for physical media.

        If you want to go all digital then grab a 200GB card for $100, if you fill it with Mario Kart 8 sized games, then it works out at about $3 per game for storage, which if going digital is important to you is hardly a dealbreaker.
        No matter how much storage they included, anyone going all digital would probably fill it anyway, so this really seems the perfect solution to me.

    • To me the pricing of games on the Switch Store (or whatever it’s called) will be a huge factor for me along with the need to manage space on the system.

      I don’t want to carry around a shitload of losable, stealable, breakable cartridges- it’s 2017 and carrying around physical media that needs to be swapped is ridiculous. I don’t even buy non-digital games for my home consoles anymore.

      That said- I buy my Xbone games from the US Store, and regular sales mean I frequently get good deals on games even if I could get them cheaper if I was to buy physical copies.

      Nintendo, on the other hand, absolutely gouge their customers on price for online downloads. There’s 3-4 $30 games on the 3DS store and that system is what, six years old? Even games that are remakes of remakes don’t drop below $50 during a Nintendo sale!

      If they region lock the store or maintain those kinds of prices is going to make owning a Switch a very expensive prospect long-term.

  • If you’re paying $157 for a 128gb card, you’re an idiot. There’s aussie suppliers on Ebay selling UH1 128gb cards for like $55

  • Why? Just why??? Storage space is necessity. It seems a little bit (very) consumer unfriendly for Nintendo to not really think through the space games require. Especially when those storage options are more expensive and less efficient than external hard drives. I hope this console succeeds for those people who love Nintendo and what the company offers, but I just really don’t see it happening

      • Yes and no, obviously if there was a built in hard drive, the size and portability of the console would change, which completely changes what and who the console is intended. So in that sense no, but I think straight out of the gate, the option to use an external hard drive when being placed in its docked state maybe should have been implemented. It would allow more accessibility and cost affordability to those investing in the product

        • It would also make things far more complicated though, having to deal with storage that is suddenly no longer available on undocking, and people would probably be expecting an easy way to transfer things between the dock storage and the internal storage. Waiting for the transfer of a tonne of gigabytes before you can undock is somewhat of the antithesis of what they’re going for with the Switch.

          • Yea true, I do see the other issues that arise from that kind of solution to storage, and im not debating this from a point of trying to rain on Nintendo’s parade, it’s from a point of there had to be a better way of benefiting both the company and the consumer and providing ample space. I guess it’s just a matter of available technology and the price tag.

          • I think they have though. Especially since no one seems to be able to come up with a better solution than what we’ve got, from what I’ve seen in articles like this – which do seem like they’re trying to rain on the parade. Feels like it won’t be long before you see them complaining that you have to pay any money for the console at all. Although that does seem to be a common sentiment among the comment sections anyway. But er… back on point 😛

            There’s so many things I don’t like about what Nintendo’s doing right now, but this is one that I really don’t see the problem with. I don’t have any interest in downloadable games so the 32GB will likely be more than ample for people like me – I still have 10GB free on my Wii U and that’s even with that Humble Nintendo Bundle I grabbed for some reason and am yet to touch any of the games of. The largest game file in my system is the data for Smash 4 at 3GB, a couple of other things are around 1.5GB or so but most other things are only tens of megabytes. So long as devs are kept on a tight leash in terms of patches and whatnot (as I really hope they would be), then pretty much the only reason to expand would be if you were to go digital only.

          • Pardon my ignorance on the matter of file sizes, but I didn’t realise the game data for Nintendo games was actually quite minimal :/ if majority of them are between 1.5-3GB than i agree it’s more a non issue really. I would have assumed game data would have been closer to that of the Xbox1 or PS4, not on par, but closer than what they are. 🙂

          • Oh this is just the extra content, not the full game size. Those larger ones there are the games with substantial DLC, I don’t know what a typical game size is. The digital games I did get (which aren’t available at retail, save for FAST Neo though that’s more an oddity) are all around 1GB or less.

    • At least it uses standard storage cards rather than proprietary storage like the Vita. But yeah, it should probably either have more internal storage or come with a card. Maybe some retailers will bundle a discounted card with the console?

      • Would be nice, I just feel it’s such a massive oversight. Even with my PS4 storage space is a real issue, especially when it comes to Digital games or hell even just physical copies once you have updates and patches applied on top of that, removing a game and wanting to replay it at a later point becomes a chore and test of patience.

        I want inventory management to be in the bloody game I’m playing not in the console itself?! 😛

        • Yeah, I’m the same. I keep thinking that I should delete Battlefield 4 to free up some space now that I’ve moved on to BF1. But it’s 75gb, which will take forever to download if I ever want to play it again.

  • To be fair I think it’s actually two games – Dragon Quest Heroes I and II.

    Still, 128GB would have been far better, even on a “deluxe” edition or the like.

    • It’s pretty worrying though when you think about the size of current-gen games. Having to buy extra storage would definitely cut into sales of big games (assuming they even get ported to Switch in the first place).

      • I think they’re banking on storage being so cheap by the mid-end of the Switch’s life, that it will all be a wash in the end. Again, not that it excuses anything, but I can understand if that’s their strategy.

  • This is almost as bad as Sony was with the OG Vita. The only difference is that at least you get ‘some’ internal memory and you get more bang for your buck with the non-proprietary memory cards.

    Still pretty bad though.

    • It’s nothing like Sony. They have a decent amount of included memory, and you can expand it further with a very common MicroSD. It’s basically the exact opposite.

      • The ‘decent amount’ of included memory is more than likely going to get taken up with patches and DLC. If you want a realistic amount of memory to go digital you are looking at paying substantially more than the RRP for the Switch. Paying $470 for a Switch and paying $520+ for a Switch that you can download a reasonable number of games on are significantly different propositions. In other words, it’s exactly like the Vita, just the scale is different. You wouldn’t be downloading 32GB games on a Vita, but you can pay $200 for a Vita or $250 for a Vita that you can download a reasonable number of games on.

        • So obviously you don’t know much about the system itself, as thr system is $300. This article must have looked at the wrong price, because the one they reference comes with 3-4 PHYSICAL games. So in reality you will be paying less for the console and the storage than this article is stating is its base price. Also, If you think Patches and DLC alone will take up all the space, that is pretty ridiculous. The Vita also used proprietary memory made exclusively for that system that cost exponentially more than the industry standard SD cards do. Modern phones rarely come with more than 32GB of internal memory, and if it’s not an iPhone, give users the option for expandable storage through SD cards because it’s the best option to keep their products cost-effective. I bet most people commenting on this are using a phone with 32GB or less with an SD card slot

          • Hey TriLud! We seem to be getting a lot of international traffic on this story so I’ll just point out that this is Kotaku Australia, and we use the official Australian price for the Switch (which is $469.95)

    • So clearly the solution is to not have downloadable games available at all, that way no one can complain about capacity problems?

    • While i agree more internal storage would obviously be nice, who cares? 60 bucks and you have another 128gb. Its a super non issue. I actually don’t think the switch is over priced. Its the most powerful handheld/ console combo and seeing the console ‘competitors’ were released at approx $650 plus on release, its sits perfectly for me.

      • That’s cool if you don’t find it an issue. Like I said elsewhere, there are plenty of people like you, plenty of people who won’t even need extra memory, and plenty of people for whom it will influence their decision to buy.

  • Considering how little information Nintendo have provided for the Switch so close to it’s release date, I’d urge people to hold off on the purchase until it’s launched and all is made clear. Pre-ordering is a real gamble.

    • Like what? What information hasn’t been announced? What’s coming to virtual console? Because that’s about it.

  • Nintendos digital offerings for WiiU were/are terrible. The price points, the games barely drop in price. The old games are way overpriced.

    I hope this is a success, as i love the Mario games.

  • We already knew this. We could see how big games are for the Wii U. Easily be the same of bigger for the Switch. Why is anyone at all surprised?

  • But presumably you can also get this game as a cartridge, and not need a large microSD card to play?

    • The games come on little carts but they’re saying they don’t have write enabled memory so you’ll need your system memory for save files. I’d assume that like the Wii U there will be download only games, but those tend to be indie games that don’t take up much space.

      • Right, but the save files for this game are going to easily fit on the system’s built in storage.

        This is only going to be a problem if you are buying these games as digital downloads. And since you can expand the storage via an industry standard format, the cost of this expansion is going to go down over time, and the maximum available sizes will go up.

        • Correct. The storage card is an optional upgrade that you need to take only if you /choose/ to go the way of full downloads for AAA games. I can’t tell how this will pan out in the future, but I trust Nintendo to know its playerbase and it’s evident by the storage size that they believe that the number of people that make that choice are a comparative minority.

    • What about patches and DLC? Mostly patches though. The number of games with significant Day-1 patches these days is increasing.

      • Do you expect patches and DLC to exceed the device’s 32 GB of storage though?

        The article title makes it sound like there is a game that simply can’t be played on the new console without an additional purchase of an SD card. That seems to only be true if you purchase the game in one particular way though.

        • Judging from the size of some of the patches and DLC I’ve downloaded on PS4, it could easily exceed the available storage space. Whether Nintendo will stop third-party publishers from pushing massive patches is another story. I believe that Nintendo is usually pretty good with keeping patch sizes down, but it is the rare exception rather than the rule these days.

          • Pretty much every other platform so far has placed restrictions on the size of updates or DLC, so the Switch will likely be no different. Nintendo could quite easily impose size limits on updates to make the 32 GB a usable amount of storage. Games for the Switch are also going to be targeting lower resolutions than PS4/Xbone games, so textures can be smaller and models less detailed without dropping a “detail per pixel” metric.

            Now as an online system, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo ends up collecting analytics from the consoles. If in 6 months time they find that most people have added a 64GB+ MicroSD card to their console, then they might allow larger updates.

          • I wonder if it works like that though, or if it does, will that affect third parties’ desire to port games, knowing their hands are tied and they can’t just do their normal ‘push out a janky half-finished game and then do a massive day-1 patch’?

          • Looking at the specs of the Switch, I doubt you’ll see many (any?) PS4/Xbone/Switch AAA multi-platform titles. I suspect the vast majority of non-indie titles will target the Switch exclusively, and work within its limitations.

  • Actually that’s what I’ll do I’ll be getting a 32GB micro SDXC card after I buy the Nintendo Switch just because 32GB of storage will support up to 2TB it should be enough storage for my DLC content for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.

  • There’s no installing the game on the system like Xbone and Ps4, which is REALLY FRIGGIN WELCOME! Finally, I can buy a game, put it in and not have to wait an hour to play it. So being that the game is on the cartridge, I believe the 32 gb onboard memory will be for game saves, OS updates and virtual console classic games downloads.

    What’s the problem?

      • 32g will see us right for a while though. My wii U is still going strong. I haven’t hit that wall yet.

    • No problem unless you assume that the 32GB would be enough to store more than one reasonably sized retail game on. The Vita had (and still has) this problem. People say, wow the Vita’s great but damn I have to pay more to be able to download games on it – forget it! It just cuts into the value proposition.

  • Most people would be buying games for the carts anyway, only indie games are the ones to consider for digital download, for the time being having an extra 32-64gb SDXC is enough to cover game saves/updates/indie games as well as the 32gb internal storage. A 64gb card is between $40-$60 depending where you buy and brand. I’m sure a kogan or cheap sandisk will suffice.

  • How can they claim that the Switch is a modern console if it has less storage capacity than the average iPhone?!

    • Iphones still don’t have an sd slot, so who’s really the one left behind?

      For 60 bucks, taking the switch to 530, you’ll have 160gb of storage.

      A 32gb iPhone 7 is what, a grand? And the 128gb version is 1200?

      • Kinda missing the point of my post there mate. I didn’t mean to refer to iPhones specifically but smartphones. Swap iPhone for the cheap Android equivalent of your choice and the point stands.


            Are you now seriously trying to argue that phones don’t need as much storage space as a portable games console?!

            The mobile phone market is now, by far, also the world’s largest camera market. Good 4k video is 350mb per minute. RAW photos are well over 10mb each. I’ve regularly filled a 128gb sd card several times over on holiday.

            I also carry several gigs of high quality music files.

            The same Sd storage space on the switch will hold eight copies of botw, in addition to whatever is bought physically (unlike the ps4/xbone where they both occupy space).

            The phone companies worked out that optional sd expansion, which is constantly becoming more economical, was the more popular business model. Nintendo is doing the same because it makes sense for the same reasons, for different file types.

    • What do phones have to do with modern consoles? They are designed to store a whole load of music, photos and videos. Not to primarily run games off of game carts. All it needs space to store is the operating system (and whatever it expands to as it evolves), game saves for a reasonable library of games, and some (hopefully small) patches for the life of the console. And judging by how the Wii U’s storage went, it should be more than adequate for that.

      • Surely Nintendo is going to join the 21st century and encourage digital downloads with the Switch. And if you’re base device can’t even store two Zelda-sized games then it is too damn small. Period.

        • They can encourage them all they like, that doesn’t mean everyone will want to (or be able to) deal with them. I sure as shit don’t want to wait however many days it’ll take for a 32GB game to download, and certainly don’t want to have to do that time and time again.

          I have no need to store two Zelda-sized games on my Switch. All it needs to store is the save files for however many dozens of games I collect for it over its lifetime, and it is perfectly adequate for that.

  • A “design flaw” to reduce the cost for Nintendo and passed onto their customers.
    Modern console, my ass.

    *LOL – thanks Kotaku Nintendo fanboi mods for banning me from posting.
    I hope when you pick up your Switches they’re DOAs.

    • As opposed to putting in a high capacity internal storage that would absolutely add way more to the cost of the console than any third party solution you buy for yourself will, forcing customers who have no need for it to pony up in the first place?

      Nah, the current solution is a much better idea.

      • Quite correct but people are still going to look at it and say “Nintendo is forcing me to buy a memory card to be able to fully enjoy the console”. There’ll be people who don’t care, but the issue is definitely there for some.

        • Oh come on, they are not forcing you to buy a memory card to “fully enjoy the console”, you can buy the cartridges and play the games with no need for extra storage.

          If you want to go all digital, then no matter how much storage they included, you would eventually want more. This way you get to choose how much storage you want, and get to buy it way, way cheaper than if it was included.

          • I guess it explains why with Nintendo’s online pass system you only get temporary use of a VC game. If they let you build up a collection, a la PS+ or GWG, you’d soon run out of space 😛

          • Considering the entire library of NES and SNES games take up about 2GB combined, nah it’d be more than fine 😛

      • Yeh why include a GPU either? People could just buy their own!

        And do you seriously think the per unit cost of Nintendo buying millions of SSD’s or SDXC cards would somehow be more expensive then the cost of your average consumer buying 1 at retail?

        • Because the price a company buys components at commercially will totally be passed directly onto consumers, and the price difference in models with varying storage also reflects this cheapness.

      • Memory is cheap, this is some marketing stunt as usual that allows them to sell an ‘Upgraded!!!’ Switch in future, or they are in bed with SD card manufacturers, or they just don’t give a shit…probably d) all of the above.

        • Or you can just upgrade it yourself for cheap. If you need that. Which plenty don’t.

          This is not a problem, it is already solved.

  • I’ve actually only just recently filled up the 32GB on my WiiU because I tend to buy physical media because it’s cheaper and I can trade it in later (but Lego Dimensions had that giant update that took me over the edge, so I had to delete some things)

  • This, for the next three years, plus.


    Comments: here’s why that’s possibly the ca-


    • I know what you mean, but this console really does look like a shit show and I was really excited to buy it six months ago.

        • My answer would be no gimmicks (detachable controllers, rumble, IR etc), better battery life, better launch line-up, better internal storage, better online pass system. I’m quite happy with the system’s basic premise – a handheld that you can dock and play on your TV – and quite happy with the general specs (screen size, resolution etc), but Nintendo just had to go and Nintendo it up. Sony made the same mistake with the Vita’s multiple touch, gyro, front-rear cameras etc. A great handheld with great games is all that is needed.

  • More inexplicable Nintendo logic. Making shit more difficult for their customers before the console even launches

    • Switch: Buy game, insert game, play game.

      PS4: Buy game, insert game, install 50gb game to hdd, download 15gb day one patch, play game.

      Nothing drops my game launch boner faster than having to watch the slowest progress bar of all time.

      • That’s why you’ve gotta be smooth, and do the installs digitally ahead of time 🙂

        I buy a game or DLC at work, having left my PS4 suspended, set the game to install and by the time I’m home and ready to play it’s usually installed and updated for me. Granted, this only works on digital purchases. I agree with you on the physical side of things, but auto updating to installed titles is a big plus in my book.

  • I really don’t understand what Nintendo was thinking with having 32GB of internal memory for a games system they knew would have an average game size of 6 – 10GB, or even more. That’s three or four AAA titles and your space is gone. Maybe they just don’t believe in the digital age?

    • Or they don’t believe in slugging customers for internal storage that many of them will never use.
      Many, many people will just buy the carts, it is easy to share or swap them then, and they are tiny and can go in your carry case. Why should they pay for extra internal memory that they will never use.

      Now imagine the ‘all digital’ customer. No matter how much internal storage they included, this customer will likely exceed it as they continue to buy games. This way they get to choose how much storage they want, and get to buy it way cheaper than if it was included. They went with a storage format that can take up to 2TB on a single card, for future proofing, and the cards will only get cheaper as time goes on.

      I think they did exactly the right thing.

      PS. Also Luke, a 200GB Sandisk card is AUD100 delivered to your door, not the nearly $300 you mention in the article, it would fit about 15 Zelda sized games or nearly 30 Mario Kart sized games on there.

    • Hey T234! We seem to be getting a lot of international traffic on this story so I’ll just point out that this is Kotaku Australia, and we use the official Australian price for the Switch (which is $469.95)

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