Allegedly, according to unnamed sources, the 64GB physical game storage cards for Nintendo Switch are delayed from mid 2018, to 2019. Let’s break down why this isn’t a big deal.
So first off, you need to understand that 64GB cards would be a significant deal, if only because, as I have noted before, this would surpass the limit for physical media on PS4 and Xbox, as Blu-Rays only go to 50GB. At least we would hear the last of “The cards aren’t big enough”, right?!
So the sources state that some western publishers especially are displeased with this. I have to ask, just who that would be? It’s not EA, or Activision, that’s for sure, because to our knowledge they just gave up. It’s not likely to be Ubisoft, as their games come in usually well sized. So that leaves Bethesda, who has done a good job with deciding what to put on a cart, and 2K. I bet it’s 2K.
So L.A. Noire on Nintendo Switch is a big game. 27.4GB in fact. That *would* fit on a 32GB card, but as noted during the entirety of the Switch Tax debacle and as noted by developers, that’s too expensive to produce, so they opt for 16GB cards normally, like Skyrim and DOOM did. L.A Noire comes on an 8GB card. Yes, even cheaper than 16GB, and the rest of the game is a download. I would like to take this opportunity to point out yet again, this is the same situation on PS4 and Xbox One as well. 2K took the cheap route.
Now one thing I want to know is just what Switch games will be upwards to 64GB? Certainly some will come in above 32GB yes, but most certainly not near 50GB or higher. That’s absurd even on PS4 and Xbox One, and when it does happen it’s because of 4K assets (Where files hit 100GBs!) or the game being 10-20GB over.
But any game from those systems being ported to Switch would have to be downgraded. If they aren’t the games wont run with the higher quality assets, the system can’t handle it. So lower quality, and most importantly smaller in size, assets will be used. This should, all things hopeful anyway, reduce the file size from the 50GBs. So this raises the question, what games would be above 50GBs on the system? Maybe two or three games as a bundle on one card, but not a single title, surely?
But this leads to another point. Most publishers right now, as shown with 2K, Bethesda, and more, find 32GBs too expensive t use, settling for 16GB, or foolishly 8GB. Now in the case of 16GB often they don’t actually need to go higher, such as with Skyrim, but sometimes stretching for 32GB would be fine.
But the publishers are so allergic to the notion of 32GB cards at their current price, that it makes the mind go wild over just why they would be upset over the notion of a bigger, much more expensive card not being ready yet, when they won’t shell out for what IS a cheaper card comparatively, even at the current price! Why are they upset if they won’t use 32GB with places stating “cost” is the reason. This just doesn’t add up.
Of course there is the belief that the introduction of a 64GB card will drive down prices of the others, and this isn’t strictly true. What will drive down the price is the manufacturing process getting cheaper and the Flash NAND chip shortage as noted by Toshiba being in part due to smart phones, ending. If the cost to make them falls, the cost to buy them will too. If you start making a newer, bigger, more expensive card, it doesn’t suddenly make the smaller ones cheaper.
But this all ties in to my last article on the matter of physical media not evolving. Sony and Microsoft are stuck with 50GB Blu-Rays and those can’t hold the games at 4k resolutions they are so desperately chasing. It’s been 11 years since Blu-Ray was used for games, surely by now they should be on to UHD Blu-Ray? Problem is cost. That’s expensive, so they won’t. But it’s funny that in a year or two, the Nintendo Switch will be outpacing what they can store in a disc, in a tiny little cartridge.
As I said before, physical media needs to catch up, and it looks like it has if these 64GB cards are anything to go by. All we need is the shortage to end, and the prices to fall, and Blu-Ray will be outdated for everything except 4K assets. Even then, who knows right?
Thanks for reading, and if you liked this article give it a share on social media, and I will see you next time. Until then, Happy Gaming!