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Topic: How much does the cartridges actually add to the cost?

Posts 1 to 13 of 13

Agriculture

The Switch Game Card comes in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB. It's no secret that developers have avoided the 32 gb card at all costs, going so far as to have half of the game on digital download in the case of LA Noire.

If LA Noire costs $49.99 and comes on a 16 gb card with the rest being a download, how much would the game cost if all of it came on a 32 gb card?

I would prefer to pay the higher price, even if it's 10 dollars more. In the long run I think it might even be cheaper than to constantly replace your sd card with a higher capacity.

So do we know how much retail price is added by the various card sizes?

Agriculture

StuTwo

@Agriculture It's something that's probably impossible to quantify because the price that the publisher pays Nintendo isn't necessarily reflective of the price that you pay as a consumer. So we might be able to find out what the typical cost of a 4 GB, an 8 GB and a 16 GB game card costs but that doesn't necessarily tell you very much.

In part because it's likely to be a tiny percentage of the overall cost to you as a consumer. I'd expect them to be a single figure percentage of price at retail and the difference between them to also be tiny.

However to a large publisher that tiny difference multiplied by a million copies could be very significant. That relatively small difference in cost could be a very significant percentage of the margin for the publisher.

Supply of larger capacity carts might also be constrained - it could be that if a publisher wants to use 16 GB or 32 GB carts they can but (in addition to the cost) they have to wait a couple more weeks or accept a much smaller order. These are factors that could affect the profitability of the game that aren't directly driven by the cost of the game cards themselves.

So to answer the question of what price would LA Noire be for you the consumer if it came on a 32 GB cart instead of a 16 GB cart... I think the answer is exactly the same. Which is the problem.

If consumers were willing to pay extra and the retailers were willing to reduce their margin expectations (without losing out at all in an absolute sense) then there wouldn't be an issue.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

NEStalgia

@StuTwo That's a great answer that really hits most of the details as they ought to be. Though as someone pointed out in the L.A. Noire thread, this isn't so much a case of them cheaping out on plastic, the initial eShop download size is listed as under 15GB, so a 16GB card fits everything the initial eShop package contains. The problem is most of the game is arriving in a "day one patch"....I.E. the situation may not even be different on PSXBox. It seems more like an AC Unity type situation.....release the plastic, THEN finish the game and release most of the game data after you already ship the plastic, not because it doesn't fit but simply because you haven't even finished making it yet.

NEStalgia

StuTwo

@NEStalgia I think it's one of those situations in which it's easy to be lazy and say "bad decision from Nintendo to use game cards and charge for them" or to be equally lazy and take the other side "3rd party publishers half ***ing it again - why don't they just put their hands in their pockets if they want my custom?" but there are so many other facets to it.

Like you said - massive day one patches are typical. This has its upsides and its downsides. The downsides are obvious but it has a big, big upside for publishers: they're much more likely to hit their target release date. Once something like that has been built into the business model then it's hard to completely eradicate it.

I'm sure that Nintendo does talk to third party developers about it and both sides try to improve matters but at the moment it is what it is.

Where Nintendo should perhaps try to do better is to be more pro-active at explaining to the 'hardcore' some of the inner workings of their business. I understand why they have complete secrecy but it often leaves them exposed to elements within some third party publishers taking control of the narrative and spinning it to fit their own agenda.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

NEStalgia

@StuTwo I think that practice is going to have to be eradicated if they wish to keep retail on board. Of course the publishers hate retail. But they also need retail. Forget GameStop and even Walmart. Just askthem how they feel about dropping Best Buy and Amazon's retail sales and how their stocks would fare? They keep treating retail as an unlock key for digital. It worked on PC because that part of the market went that direction in general thanks to Steam (I don't feel that's a good thing, but it did...) MS got booed off the stage when they openly presented it that way....so the core market isn't all that enthused about that idea, and the non core market is likely uninterested in 30GB downloads and archive management, otherwise they'd have become PC gamers.

They got into "hitting release dates" with unfinished products. Even EA finally realized that wasn't a good strategy after they were getting hammered in the industry for years. I suspect it will catch up to these other companies at some point. It actually worked better in the PS3 era. With PS4/XBOne and mandatory installs most users start hitting storage limits, and these downloads become customer-visible problems. There's a difference between day one downloads that consists of a few meg to update game code that was tweaked, versus downloading complete asset archives that simply were made after the fact.

One irony with Nintendo (assuming LA Noire's issue is that they cheaped on the cart rather than that they weren't done the game.) is that they're being too lax with publishers in an attempt to woo them to their platform. People complain about "this game isn't coming because of Nintendo's policies" but this situation makes it clear that Nintendo's iron fist isn't always a bad thing...sometimes it makes the produduct better. In this case, a mandate that all licenced retail games will be at least partly playable in offline mode from the data on the cartridge rather than allowing "part of a game" on a cartridge to the point the product doesn't actually function with what you get in the box would have made a lot of sense. It's not really a retail product if it doesn't actually function with what you bought. Never thought I'd say it, but Nintendo needs more of the iron fist back so issues like this and the non-standard icons creep in. They need to control their platform and how it functions as an ecosystem. They're using the honor system which experience should tell them not to do.

As for explaining themselves.....it's Kyoto...that will never happen. Plus most of those problems will be largely invisible in the Japanese core market. Other than Squeenix and Capcom, most Japanese pubs would never pull this.

Edited on by NEStalgia

NEStalgia

DTMOF84

@StuTwo how does it help them reach their target release date any easier?

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Agriculture

StuTwo wrote:

@NEStalgia I think it's one of those situations in which it's easy to be lazy and say "bad decision from Nintendo to use game cards and charge for them" or to be equally lazy and take the other side "3rd party publishers half ***ing it again - why don't they just put their hands in their pockets if they want my custom?" but there are so many other facets to it.

Like you said - massive day one patches are typical. This has its upsides and its downsides. The downsides are obvious but it has a big, big upside for publishers: they're much more likely to hit their target release date. Once something like that has been built into the business model then it's hard to completely eradicate it.

I'm sure that Nintendo does talk to third party developers about it and both sides try to improve matters but at the moment it is what it is.

Where Nintendo should perhaps try to do better is to be more pro-active at explaining to the 'hardcore' some of the inner workings of their business. I understand why they have complete secrecy but it often leaves them exposed to elements within some third party publishers taking control of the narrative and spinning it to fit their own agenda.

The thing is though that they already have the hindsight of it not working from the N64. A lot of companies subsidize various things because the consumer thinks it's too expensive. If Nintendo were to take a loss somewhere, it should be for the cartridges. Also, where does the extra money from the added cost of digital downloads go?

If a physical version of LA Noire cost 40 usd on PS4 and 45 usd on Switch, and the digital is the same, that means there's an extra 5 dollars added to the Switch digital download for no reason other than to keep the same price between physical and digital. If the game sells 50 % physical and 50 % digital, why not use those extra dollars to make the game cost 42,50 on both digital and physical?

Also, the day one download for LA Noire is not only a bug fixing patch, but also part of the game content. You can't actually play the cartridge without patch since the patch also includes the rest of the game.

Agriculture

StuTwo

@DTMOF84 Games have to 'go gold' and be printed weeks before retail release. As it stands some publishers have a basically now standard practice of 'going gold' with code that they know isn't ready for release safe in the knowledge that they can release a massive day one patch to fix it... that patch doesn't have to be ready until the day of launch so they buy themselves an extra few weeks (maybe longer in some cases).

The approach that some publishers are taking on Switch is actually one step further - the data on the cart might as well be just a good copy-protected download code - but the effect is similar. The developer has a couple more weeks to get the game to a point where it would have needed to be before even dreaming of sending it to print 15 years ago.

It allows them a bit more flexibility and allows them to more effectively guarantee a release date whilst still having a visible physical product. The flipside is that the physical product is seriously devalued and.

@NEStalgia Yep. The clunking iron fist of Nintendo would be welcome as a consumer.

It wouldn't be welcome amongst the publishers but bending to them to this degree might end up being counter productive for Nintendo themselves. They should be telling companies like Rockstar; "we really want you to be a successful partner on our system and that's not just a matter of money - you need to meet these standards and we will provide resources to help you". Allowing Rockstar and others to release games into the wild only to die immediately could be a disaster for Nintendo in the medium-long term.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

SKTTR

With L.A. Noire Rockstar already shot their own head on the Switch before even coming alive. It's like a late abortion.

They have a big game on their hands, L.A. Noire, and then they went to sink it.

Their management (Take 2 Interactive) has no clue about games in the slightest.
They only buy out great companies and proceed to milk and [removed] them, with no trust and respect for their own products and no care for their customers, the gamers.

They can release the best games ever now. Bring on GTAV, Bully 2, Red Dead, but I would not care! I won't support anything of Take 2 Interactive for the time being - until they show a sign of change.

I wanna support Dragon Quest Heroes I & II, because those developers have faith in their game. They're not 100% profit-only oriented. They used a 32GB cart to fit their complete game on, like it's supposed to be! That's what devs and publishers do if they love their game, if they stand behind what they have created.

When you cheap out like 2K Games and Rockstar, that's a clear sign of fear and greed.
I only support the courageous and wise. I can skip a couple of good games and find something else to play and spend money on.

Edited on by Octane

backloggery.com/SKTTR

Silly_G

I agree that I do miss Nintendo's iron-fist approach (and we all know what happened to the Wii U eShop when Nintendo opened the floodgates), and unlike some, I have never been opposed to it. I would rather Rockstar stay the hell away from the Switch if their handling of L.A. Noire is any indication of things to come, and I will hold that view regardless of how desirable a game may seem otherwise (and yes, even the rumoured GTAV port, as much as it pains me to say it).

I was furious when we had grounds to suspect that WB was pulling this crap with Lego City Undercover (the entirety of the game is in fact on the cartridge), and while my fears were briefly alleviated after its release, matters only worsened thanks to Take 2, Capcom and now Rockstar opting to release substandard products.

What I don't understand is that certain morons try to justify this practice citing the relatively low cost of micro SD cards (they're still very expensive in Australia), when the overall cost of having to download additional data exceeds any possible "Switch tax" that would result from the publisher needing to increase the price due to the use of a higher capacity cartridge. For example, even if the physical edition of the upcoming WWE game were free, it would still cost me around AU$30 just to store the mandatory download on the micro SD! I would happily take the "Switch tax" any day of the week over such an idiotic, contemptible anti-consumer practice.

The ridiculous irony of all of this is that EA actually released an honest product for a change, and yet FIFA 18 was ruthlessly crucified by the press and by morons (who haven't even played the game) nagging about content that is inconsequential to the core experience on what is, for all intents and purposes, a portable device that doesn't have the luxury of housing games with monolithic file sizes. The idiots have spoken and it's only going to go downhill if EA ever decides to support the Switch in future.

Edited on by Silly_G

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3DS Friend Code: 2578-3134-0847 | Nintendo Network ID: sillygostly

NEStalgia

@StuTwo And of course any product that needs "until release day" to squeeze in a few weeks of work on a 2+ year project to be "usable" is probably not going to be "very" usable even then. if you're not ready 4 weeks before launch, it's doubtful you'll be ready launch day, either.

But it's worse than that though. If we were talking code fixes, the actual executables and libraries are going to be 5-100mb TOTAL. Nobody would care much about that model if it were just a few weeks of code tweaking. But what they do now isn't code tweaking. It's the actual art, map, and sound assets and sound assets that aren't even ready. And they don't even distribute a differential delta, they just ship out whole new data archives because "bandwidth is cheap!" (I'll be sure to remind the cell carriers that the next time they tell me I can only tether 10GB: "Hey, bandwidth is cheap, I should be able to run a Bitorrent server on my phone!")

Once you're down to Nintendo saying "Yes you can release retail products that don't actually work. At all." Even if it's "because our competitors allow the same" it really harms the ecosystem. It's one thing to have a patch allowed for games, but it's another thing to allow them to write data to a gamecard that can't actually run. It actually is a case where I'd rather not have the AAA third parties on the platform and let the platform represent a standard of service for companies that want to offer that standard. I'm not anti-patch. I'm anti "physical as an unlock code that doesn't work on its own." And judging by the XBox One launch, I don't think that's a minority view in the gaming world.

Bethesda seems to be getting it right. "Online requires a big download, offline doesn't." That's an acceptable standard of service.

It is worth noting that so far EVERY incident on Switch of "we didn't put most of the game on the cart" seems to be coming exclusively from 2K. This may be a 2K fail more than it is a Nintendo fail beyond Nintendo not putting their foot down, but we'll have to see what Unity...err...Ubi....does.

NEStalgia

NEStalgia

@Agriculture Agreed overall. Of course there's the dirty back end of digital. It isn't really much cheaper for publishers, or, in this case, the platform holder, than physical. By the time you have to purchase/lease a server farm to run the downloads the redundancy, backups, 24/7 monitoring, bandwidth, electricity, security, etc. etc. etc. cloud is not the magic "free ride" company executives imagined it to be 10 years ago. Manufacturing is still pricier but not by that much. Right now the only reason they benefit is keeping retail pricing on digital (until consumers demand lower prices to move to digital in which case that evaporates), and because they can cost shift the manufacturing costs to the platform holders for the server costs. Thus Nintendo's already the one subsidizing their digital sales.....who knows how much Nintendo is or isn't subsidizing their physical as well.

But like I said to StuTwo, this may not even be a case of cheaping out on the disc. This one may be case of "the new normal" from Western Devs: the game is always mostly downloaded on every platform. Which is why I left PS4 behind mostly and embraced Switch. I follow a firm rule on PS4. If the patch is over 7GB, I don't download it. Full stop. If the game doesn't play without it, then I've wasted money. (Keeping in mind I'm someone that bought Splatoon 2, ARMS, and Mk8D entirely digital...... I'm not anti-digital when it's sensible.)

NEStalgia

Agriculture

NEStalgia wrote:

@Agriculture Agreed overall. Of course there's the dirty back end of digital. It isn't really much cheaper for publishers, or, in this case, the platform holder, than physical. By the time you have to purchase/lease a server farm to run the downloads the redundancy, backups, 24/7 monitoring, bandwidth, electricity, security, etc. etc. etc. cloud is not the magic "free ride" company executives imagined it to be 10 years ago. Manufacturing is still pricier but not by that much. Right now the only reason they benefit is keeping retail pricing on digital (until consumers demand lower prices to move to digital in which case that evaporates), and because they can cost shift the manufacturing costs to the platform holders for the server costs. Thus Nintendo's already the one subsidizing their digital sales.....who knows how much Nintendo is or isn't subsidizing their physical as well.

But like I said to StuTwo, this may not even be a case of cheaping out on the disc. This one may be case of "the new normal" from Western Devs: the game is always mostly downloaded on every platform. Which is why I left PS4 behind mostly and embraced Switch. I follow a firm rule on PS4. If the patch is over 7GB, I don't download it. Full stop. If the game doesn't play without it, then I've wasted money. (Keeping in mind I'm someone that bought Splatoon 2, ARMS, and Mk8D entirely digital...... I'm not anti-digital when it's sensible.)

I see, I didn't know that digital downloads had such a cost. Thanks for the info.

On the PS4 I've downloaded every game due to the convenience of not having to change discs. Discs scratch and get old over time, that's why I was exited for the Switch using cartridges, which doesn't age as poorly.

Agriculture

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