Why You'll Need To Buy An SD Card With Your Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Storage Capacity
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Hidden costs. That's been one of the topics surrounding the Nintendo Switch lately in regards to accessories and games. In fact, for one game in particular even Nintendo makes it known that if you want the digital version you will need to buy an SD card with your Nintendo Switch.

Polygon is reporting that Nintendo has published a list of file sizes for certain games; and in the case of the Dragon Quest Heroes bundle, which contains Dragon Quest Heroes 1, Dragon Quest Heroes 2 and the expansion content, you will need a microSD card if you plan on getting the digital version of the game. Why? Because the bundle pack is larger than the internal memory storage capacity of the Nintendo Switch.

The system only has 32GB of fast-reading internal memory. There's actually 29GB free for actual usage, and Polygon is reporting that 6.1GB is set aside for operations and other software apps. This leaves users with approximately 23GB worth of free space.

According to IGN, the bundle containing Dragon Quest Heroes clocks in at 32GB. So it's too much for the standard Nintendo Switch's hard drive, which is why Nintendo suggested that if you get the digital version of the games you should get an SD card for storage purposes.

Some people knew this was going to be an issue from the outset. Many were angry that Nintendo didn't go with 500GB worth of storage, which is what's contained within the Xbox One and PS4. However, Nintendo's aim for the Switch was to make it a hybrid system that would work at home and while on the go. Portability was a factor and 500GB storage just isn't cheap enough to put into a device that small for under $300.

Much like the Xbox One and the PS4, it is possible to get an external storage device that contains all your games on it, such as a larger hard drive or USB device. That will likely be the alternative that some users go with if they decide to use their Nintendo Switch for digital downloads only. However, one benefit to the Switch over its home console counterparts -- and this is something that IGN brings out in their article -- you don't have to install any games on it, whether you download them or buy the cartridges.

Gamers who download the digital copies of games from the eShop and store their games on microSD cards will be able to simply plop them into the Nintendo Switch and play them. So you won't have to play Tetris with your hard drive space, trying to move around and rearrange games or software on it in order to create space. For those of you who own an Xbox One or PS4, you already know that all games have to be installed on the hard drives whether you buy the physical copy from the store or download a digital copy from an online store.

So in a way, the Nintendo Switch does gain an advantage over its competitors for not having to install games, but it also comes with a major disadvantage as well given that storage space is very limited. If you plan in any way to get your games digitally, whether they're Nintendo Switch exclusives or third-party multiplatform titles, you'll have to buy some form of external storage, especially considering that 32GB is actually at the lower end of the storage spectrum for most games released these days. The average AAA game now sits between 40GB and 60GB, so the Nintendo Switch will be launching behind the curve as far as internal storage is concerned.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.