Let me shoot my MechAssault shot.
The Nintendo Switch is still a young baby bird, chirping loudly, and begging for your purchase. Even with the limited launch lineup there hasn’t been much of a struggle to get more and more non-Nintendo announcements for the new console. You may have noticed a pattern however. A lot of these games are from a few years ago or smaller indie-developed games. Even Lego City Undercover, a 2013 release getting ported over to the Switch, is having trouble living up the to strange and different standards set by the new Nintendo hardware.
You’ve probably read a headline or two that has touted Lego City’s required download of 13 GBs to the already storage-strapped Switch. Those 13 GBs have to be downloaded when you first put the cart into the system, which sets it apart from most Switch games. The Switch doesn’t install games onto its system memory, so why does Lego City want you to install so much, especially when only 7.1 GBs are actually used of the 32 GBs available on the cartridge?
The game’s publisher, Warner Bros., hasn’t commented about the strange set up for such a simple game, but according to Gamesbeat’s Daniel Ahmed it all comes down to platform and disc fees. Unlike the PS4 or Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch charges a little more to put a game out on their system due to the use of cartridges. The bigger the game you’re making and putting onto a cartridge, the more money it costs to put out. So releasing some of a game on the cartridge and the rest on a download is much more cost effective.
This puts a big dent in the Switch’s hopes to be a truly mobile and third-party machine. 32 GBs is already a pretty low ceiling to crawl under for modern, bigger, titles but to tact on an extra cost will certainly scare away money conscious publishers. And the few that do see the potential in the Switch will probably follow Warner Bros.’ lead and split their game up. If the Switch sells, they may have no choice, but for now just do yourself a favor and get a cheap SD card with tons of storage to avoid any problems.