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The Nintendo Switch has, overall, had a wonderfully successful 2017. Like any new device on the market, however, there have been some issues of varying scopes, one of which has been the 'Switch tax', in which some retail games on the system carry higher price tags.

It's a topic we explored in detail, learning that part of the issue is around the costs of proprietary cartridges used in the Switch. Publishers have to order them from Nintendo, and at present cartridges up to 32GB are available - however, the more capacity they have the higher the price, so in some cases publishers get smaller cartridges and force mandatory downloads on consumers. One example is L.A. Noire, published by Rockstar - the game is 27.4GB on the eShop, and if you buy the retail version there's a mandatory 13.1GB download (on our EU copy), so logic suggests (give or take some space for practical concerns) the publisher opted for a batch of 16GB carts from Nintendo in order to maximise the profit off each sale.

Beyond that, however, some publishers willing to spend more on the highest capacity Switch media may still find 32GB isn't enough, especially in this era of enormous game downloads on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. There'll be disappointment, then, if a report by The Wall Street Journal (paywall) is accurate.

The report cites "people familiar with the matter" to say that Nintendo has pushed back the roll-out of bigger 64GB capacity cartridges. Originally planned for the second half of 2018, Nintendo has apparently informed major partners that they'll now arrive in 2019, as it aims to resolve technical issues and ensure high levels of quality in the final media.

How much will this affect Nintendo? It may prompt some publishers with particularly sizeable games (in terms of file size) to reconsider release windows, but due to the nature of the hardware we'd suggest it'll be a minority of games that require that size of card. As various examples have also shown, publishers aren't shy of buying smaller capacity media and forcing gamers to download the rest, in any case.

Time will tell on whether this delay, if the report is indeed accurate, has much of an impact on any third-party releases on the Switch.

[source wsj.com]