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Following an announcement by Nintendo revealing a partnership with SD card maker Sandisk, Nintendo revealed that some Nintendo Switch games will require a MicroSD card in order to access all of the content as reported by IGN.

The requirement for a MicroSD card comes down to the amount of available onboard storage compared to the amount needed for game patches and other data. Before the console’s official release, it was revealed that the Nintendo Switch had 32GB of internal memory (with approximately 4GB reserved for the system’s operating system) and that MicroSD cards could be used for additional storage.

Although digital downloads may exceed the onboard storage, this requirement will also extend to certain physical games. NBA2K18 is one of the first games that will necessitate a memory card to be able to access all of the features. Of course, purely digital downloads may need a memory card to be fully playable as well. As an example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WIld takes up 13.4 GB of internal storage as a digital download, nearly half of the console’s built-in memory. Nintendo is ensuring that physical games will note the requirement for a memory card on the box. As for eShop downloads, the store notes how much storage space is required for the files prior to purchase.

Nintendo clarified that games that need a MicroSD card won’t entirely be unplayable; some features such as a portion of the levels or certain game modes will still be available to players regardless of whether or not they have extra memory on hand.


Quick Take

First, we had passwords acting as game saves. Then we had internal storage on the cartridge itself. After that, we entered the era of the memory card. Hard drives got cheaper, and we were finally free of worrying about little accessories that could be trampled underfoot. Unfortunately, the Switch’s form factor and planned cost mean that it could only have so much memory on board, and in the era of multi-gigabyte video game patches it seems that we’ve returned to the need for memory cards yet again. Nintendo was in a tricky spot, and I think that a soft requirement (and perhaps a hard requirement in some later cases) for external storage was an inevitability.

What do you think of the idea that some Nintendo Switch games requiring a MicroSD card to experience all of the content? Do you think a return to the requirement for separate memory storage isn’t that unusual, or do you think that onboard storage should be able to handle the data? Let us know in the comments below!


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!