Image: Nintendo

Nintendo seemingly has one thing to say about our supposedly “all digital” future: LOL.

The upcoming Switch features a downright minuscule 32GB of built-in storage, and that number comes down even more once you account for the operating system and basic apps. It’s so small, in fact, that one of the console’s launch titles in Japan won’t actually fit.

A newly updated listing of Switch games lays out storage requirements for each one, and from it we learn that Dragon Quest Heroes I+II is a 32GB game. It even says right there on the game’s info page (translated from Japanese): “A microSD card of 32GB or more is required separately.”

The Switch does allow for expandable storage via its built-in microSD card slot. The company revealed in a January interview with Kotaku that the console will support microSDXC cards with up to 2TB of storage capacity… once they actually exist.

Currently, SDXC standard cards max out at 512GB, and they’re priced at around $200. The most affordable option is 128GB, which can be found for $40. In other words, unless bigger cards release soon, and at much cheaper prices, downloadable Switch games aren’t an attractive option.

There is an alternative: buy boxed copies of games. The Switch revives Nintendo’s long-standing love affair with cartridge-based gaming on consoles. The company’s handhelds continue to rely on game cartridges, but every Nintendo console since the GameCube has used discs.

No longer. Switch cartridges are roughly the same size as a standard SD card or a PlayStation Vita cartridge, if you prefer. The main advantage they offer: no installation requirements. Slide a Switch cart into the right slot and the game is good to go right away.

It’s really no different from slotting a cartridge into your old NES.

It’s really no different from slotting a cartridge into your old NES.

Unfortunately, the dearth of cost-effective options for expandable storage means you’re faced with a choice: either limit the number of games you have downloaded at any one time, or go back to the stone age of gaming and stick with cartridges.

There will still be reasons to download games. That’s your only way to get Virtual Console releases and download-only indies neither of which eat up tons of space, generally speaking. Save data from all Switch games uses internal storage as well, but there should still be plenty of space left for those smaller releases.

The same can’t be said for the blockbusters. Yes, Dragon Quest Heroes is the only “too big for storage” title (that we know of) right now. The new Zelda, a massive open world game, is smaller but it still tops out at around 13GB.

These numbers add up fast. If Zelda fills around half your built-in storage on the day Switch launches, what will happen once you pick up future marquee releases like Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?

Even that price-conscious 128GB expandable storage option starts looking awfully small.

I’m going to stick with cartridges and skip the microSD, at least in the early months. No installation required, minimal load times. The only real worry is keeping tracking of cartridges but that’s hardly a new experience for Nintendo fans.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/02/22/nintendo-switch-storage-limitations/

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