In a first for the Nintendo Switch, the retail version of a game is going to require a microSD card to play. NBA 2K18 will first arrive on the Nintendo Switch eShop on September 15 – the same day as the Early Tip-Off Editions arrive on competing consoles. According to GameStop, the physical cartridge will not be ready until October 17 – over a month later. Even if you opt to pick up the physical game, you’ll still need to download a bunch of data to play all modes of the game. While we don’t have an exact GB count yet, the fact that the packaging warns that the microSD card is required means that it must take up more than 25GB of space, since that’s roughly what’s available on a Switch without anything else downloaded on internal memory.
Going forward, games that require hefty downloads will have special information on the cover calling out the need for a microSD card and internet access to download the data. IGN spoke with a Nintendo, and they explained:
A microSD card will be needed for certain Nintendo Switch games that contain an especially large amount of content and require additional storage for players to enjoy the full experience. If you purchase a physical version of a game that requires an additional microSD memory card, you will be able to play a portion of the game right out of the box (for example, specific levels or modes).
To enjoy the full game, downloading additional data is required. Depending on the storage requirements for each game, it may be necessary to purchase a microSD card to expand storage space. When purchasing a digital version of the game, it may also be necessary to purchase a microSD card depending on the game’s storage requirements and the storage available on the consumer’s Nintendo Switch console.
My gut reaction is that this sucks for those who were trying to avoid having to shell out extra money for expanded storage. I know some people like to purchase the physical game cartridges to avoid having to fill up their storage on the the Switch. Perhaps this was inevitable with third party games easily eclipsing the 50GB mark on competing systems. PS4 and Xbox One owners have had storage issues from day one, often having to purchase external hard drives to make room for all of their games. We imagine the cost of using higher capacity Nintendo Switch carts would raise the retail price of the physical version up higher than seen on competing systems, and that wouldn’t look too great on retail shelves. So, perhaps this is the best solution, but we don’t have to like it.