2017 was a big year for Nintendo’s Switch, but a pretty big delay might slow things way down.
According to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday, Nintendo has told outside developers that it is delaying 64-gig game cartridges for the Switch until 2019.
With its newest flagship console, Nintendo decided to bring back cartridges in place of disc-based games that ran on the previous three. Cartridges cost more to produce, but they are far more portable and decrease loading times.
Currently, the game cartridges, which outside developers get from Nintendo, are capped at 32 gigs. That’s lower than the 50-gig Blu-ray discs that run on the other current consoles: Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Not only that, but many games require significant patches on release, putting their total size much higher.
The Switch allows you to download games off the console’s store as well, but it has a space problem. There’s only 32 gigs on the system’s internal memory, forcing players who want more to expand with micro SD cards.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo had originally planned to release the 64 gig cards in the second half of 2018 but cited “technical issues” and to “ensure quality” for the reason of the delay.
The delay is notable due to how it might affect third party publishers wanting to bring games to the console, but may hesitate from memory constraints. The Switch has seen a very big number of smaller indie games come to the console over its first year, but few larger third party games. Nintendo’s own large games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey clock in well below 16 gigs.
The limited technical specifications of the Switch, which are less than the other consoles, also has been a reason that third party publishers have been slow to bring their games to the new console.
Ever since the Game Cube era, Nintendo has had a difficult time courting outside publishers to bring games to their platforms. Even on the Wii, which sold enormous numbers, developers were put off by its low tech specs and then by the fact that its large consumer base weren’t ones to buy third party games. And if Nintendo is the only one supporting a console, you have a larger chance of getting a failure like the Wii U.
Long term success of the Switch depends somewhat significantly on third-party support. If they can’t bring their games over because of size constraints, it might slow down Nintendo’s latest runaway success.