I love the Switch to the point that I can forgive many of its shortcomings. Of course, it can’t do 4K. It often fails to muster stable performance. It is awash with terrible ports. Oh, and the online infrastructure could be much, much better.
All things worthy of criticism. But they were never totally dealbreakers for me. After all, if I let higher framerates and resolutions dictate my buying habits, I’ll miss out on a lot of the best Nintendo Switch games. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and the just-released Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, to name just a few.
But there is one thing that seriously annoys me about the Nintendo Switch. Not just the basic console, but also the Nintendo Switch OLED. And that’s the paltry amount of storage space — something the company will need to address for its future hardware endeavors.
The Switch might be a historic improvement over the Wii U, but it seems Nintendo wasn’t too keen on fixing one of that system’s many flaws. The basic white variant of the Wii U came with a measly 8GB of storage. Only if you were willing to pay more for the Deluxe package would you get a glossy black console with 32GB of storage.
In fact, that’s where we are with the base model of the Switch as well. The portable hybrid launched in 2017 with just 32GB of storage space. And in 2021, we got the Nintendo Switch OLED, which doubled that number to 64GB. But in the grand scheme of things, this is still far below what the competition is offering.
On PS5, you get 1TB in both physical and digital versions. It’s a similar story with Microsoft: 1TB on the Xbox Series X and 512GB on the Xbox Series S. These can be beefed up by internal SSDs on the PS5 and accessories like the Seagate Storage Expansion Card on the Xbox.
The last approach also applies to the Switch. You can buy extra microSD cards to give your console’s storage a much-needed boost. The difference is that buying a microSD card for Switch may seem non-negotiable, especially if you download a lot of games. It’s easy to fill up that meager amount of storage much faster than you’d like.
So what can Nintendo do to solve this problem in the future – and should it, as the price of its consoles would likely increase as a result? I think the answer is a resounding yes here. Nintendo Switch games – especially first-party titles and many of the third-party ports – have only increased in size in recent years.
See Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which will be released in late July. At 15GB, it’s the biggest mainline Xenoblade game to date. And on a basic Switch without a microSD card installed, it will consume just under half of the total available storage space. The PS5 equivalent would be a game taking up around 400-500GB of space. Not even storage-hungry games like Call of Duty: Warzone or Horizon Forbidden West can claim that.
Also, Nintendo’s first-party production will only get more ambitious with time. We already know that Monolith Soft is working on a gigantic new IP. Likewise, future Zelda titles will likely surpass even Breath of the Wild 2 in terms of cap range.
Nintendo absolutely needs to bring its Game A when it comes to storage space on its future consoles. And I don’t just mean a modest increase to something like 128GB. When even smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 can offer up to 256GB of storage space, Nintendo has no excuse not to beef up its technology.
At the very least, I’d love to see Nintendo’s next console clock in at least 256GB of storage space. But 512GB or even 1TB would be a real win. Fortunately, an update like this would be accompanied by other much-requested specs like 4K resolution and support for higher frame rates. Many of us now treat the Switch like an Xbox or PlayStation on the go, and Nintendo needs to do the same.