Nintendo has allegedly decided to hold off on offering higher-capacity Nintendo Switch game cartridges to developers. According to The Wall Street Journal, 64GB game cards were supposed to be made available to developers in 2018, and would have enabled them to offer larger games to the wider Nintendo Switch audience. These developers and publishers are said to be disappointed by the delay:
Nintendo told outside developers that delivery of 64GB game card for Switch would be delayed to 2019. Some large publishers counted on the card expressed me slight disappointment due to game release schedule reasons. https://t.co/rd32J3PUfX— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) December 27, 2017
It's not all negative, though. There are a couple of positive spins to this story. It's nice to know that developers are eager to get their larger projects onto the Switch. Bethesda has proven beyond doubt that larger AAA efforts can succeed on the Switch as long as proper care is taken in the porting and compressing efforts. We never thought that DOOM would be able to run on the Switch, but it does. Wolfenstein II is a game that has no business on Nintendo's humble hybrid, yet here we are waiting for gameplay footage. Rocket League runs on Unreal Engine 3, which isn't supported by the Switch, yet the Switch version of Rocket League runs like a dream.
Okay, so Rocket League doesn't take up very much space, but my point is this: The Nintendo Switch clocks in under-spec when compared to the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One, but that's not stopping developers from bringing their biggest hits to the platform. Switches are still flying off of the shelves, and so they represent a highly lucrative prospect for developers.
While it is possible that some larger projects could be delayed due to the absence of high-capacity cartridges, it's worth noting that almost no one has made use of the current cart limit, which is 32GB. The Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2 combo uses that larger cartridge, but the price of that game was driven up considerably since Square Enix had to dish out for a more expensive cartridge.
Who knows, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this will force developers to extend their compression efforts, which is great news for those of you who like to buy games digitally. We'll have to wait and see.