Disc Media makes all the difference
The Nintendo Switch will be releasing on March 3rd for $299.99 in the US and will feature 32GB of internal Flash Memory. Nintendo has labeled their new console as a “Home console that can be played on the go.” Naturally, this has sparked debate on what it really is.
Some say that because Nintendo is calling it a home console first and foremost, that it is a home console. Other say that the slim design, touchscreen, and portability proves that it is a handheld that can be connected to a TV.
The message seems to be different depending on which region Nintendo is addressing. The Switch is marketed in the US as a console first, and in Japan the emphasis is more on its portability and having the option to play at home.
This perception is very important when it comes to how much memory the system holds. The Wii U Deluxe Edition came with 32GB of memory and proved that it wasn’t nearly enough throughout its lifetime, prompting people to get an external HDD or flash drive to connect to the USB ports for added memory. The same argument is being made against the on board memory for the Switch, which coincidentally features 32GB of internal memory.
The basic models of the Xbox One and the PS4 come with 500GB each. How dare Nintendo release their console with just 32GB? At first, it is an extremely big difference between both formats, but if you take a closer look, Nintendo’s desicion to have 32GB of memory, allow for expanded memory with MicroSD cards and have cartridged instead of discs is a much viable option.
First, both Xbox One and PS4 require their physical discs to be downloaded to the HDD. This helps the system read the memory faster and eliminates most of the loading time it would require to read the discs. The problem is that those 40-50 GB each disc contains is installed into the Hard Drive.
Take Uncharted 4 for example. If you purchase the physical disc, once you connect it to the PS4 it will require the game to be installed on the HDD. This ends up taking around 50GB of memory, more if it needs updates or patches to be downloaded. That means that the 500GB of memory on your PS4, which really is 420GB because the OS takes up arond 80GB of space, has gone down to approximately 370GB with just one game.
Only one game and those 500GB of memory have already gone down to 370GB. You purchased the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection to complete the saga? That’s another 44.46GB of memory and your favorite Treasure Thief has decreased the memory to 325GB. Remember, this is with the purchase of the physical disc, and the system still asks for it to be installed.
In turn, the Nintendo Switch (and we are talking estimates here), will have 32GB of memory, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be 13.4GB but because it is installed on a cartridge, the Switch wouldn’t need to download it to the internal memory because it can read the cartridge even faster than the the PS4 would read a game installed on the HDD. At most, you can assume that saves would take some space on the Switch, but those could be as little as 1-2MB, leaving almost all of the 32GB of internal memory intact.
Another thing to remember is that flash memory is not the same as an HDD. Flash memory is more expensive and has not really decreased in price the last couple of years, especially when compared to MicroSD cards. The Nintendo Switch will support up to 2TB Micro SDXC (doesn’t exist yet), but this means that you could easily get a 128 GB Micro SDXC card for $50-$60 dollars if you ever needed it for digital downloads.
Nintendo did not include the added memory because it would allow them to sell the Switch cheaper, giving people the opportunity to get whichever size they prefer for added memory without having to pay for it upfront. Also, cartridges are very small and would be easily carried on a case for the system, something that you cannot do with discs or even a PS4 or Xbox One itself.
Physical media is the way to go with the Switch, and the system rewards you by not filling your memory, something that both the Xbox One and PS4 do with physical discs.