Developers have been told plans to roll out massive 64GB game cards for the console-cum-portable machine have been delayed a year.
It means big budget, cross-platform titles that take up huge file space will have to be delayed too.
The Switch has a very conservative cartridge memory of 32GB. But on the rival Xbox One and PS4 many of the biggest and best games often come in a 40-50GBs each.
So titles like Call of Duty: WW2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins won’t be appearing in their full glory on the Switch any time soon.
Cut down versions of them, maybe, like the Switch-only FIFA 18 that cut out a lot of modes and additional graphics to keep the file size low enough to fit the handheld comfortably.
Currently, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Blu-ray discs allow up to 50GB of data.
Compare that to Switch’s current maximum of 32GB and you can see the limitations Nintendo has to play with.
And the console itself could suffer as games planned for the machine this year are now shelved until 2019 after the game card news.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Nintendo told third-party developers recently that 64GB game cards for retail games would not be made available until sometime next year.
Brendan Sinclair, of the Games Industry website, said: “At the moment, Switch game cards max out at 32GB of data, significantly less than the 50GB allowed by Blu-ray discs used on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
“While that’s plenty of space for many titles (the Wall Street Journal noted Nintendo’s critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both come in at under 16GB), some third-party publishers have already run into space constraints.
“Titles like NBA 2K18 and WWE 2K18 still require retail purchasers to download additional information to a microSD card, while Bethesda shipped Doom with the single-player campaign on the game card, and online multiplayer requiring a separate download.”
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We ourselves found a major problem with LA Noire in our review last year in that the digital download of the game needs Switch players to dump everything else from the console’s internal memory, as well as a separately bought microSD just to get it running on the system.
It meant getting rid of key games like Mario Oddessy from the machine altogether just to play an ageing title that easily ran on the Xbox360 and PS3.
People familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal the delay in thr bigger cartridges was due to “technical issues”.
And Nintendo want to avoid a social media backlash similar to the one following the Switch launch, where there were reports of units warping in the dock and JoyCon controllers unpairing from the system at random.
Industry analyst Dr Serkan Toto saw limited significance in the delay of 64GB game cards, telling the journal they “would be nice to have, but surely not essential for the Switch’s success.”