Let us start with a quick question. What cost Nintendo Final Fantasy 7?
The answer? Game cart/disc storage capacity. The N64 could only offer up to 64mb of storage. Even the GameCube could only offer developers up to 1.5GB of space. When you compare that to the original PlayStation (up to 750MB per CD) and PS2 (up to 4.7GB per DVD), you can see why developers had a difficult time supporting Nintendo.
Q: The Nintendo Switch Console has now been revealed (and announced) to have no form of disc tray/insert and will only take external games via cartridge format. So, this begs the question – have Nintendo made the right choice?
D4G: In order to answer this, let’s go back a few years. Nintendo made the decision to stay with cartridge (N64) and new mini media (GameCube) for three major reasons: (and you may be surprised at the order)
1) Profit made per game/cart
2) Difficult for pirates to produce illegal copies of cartridge and exclusive media-based games
2) Faster loading times
Now, let me get one thing straight before we delve further into this…I’m a HUGE Nintendo fan. They repackaged and gave full life the home console and other console manufacturers have been ripping off their ideas, ever since. However, Nintendo are often seen in a bad light with developers, due to the much lower profit margins they would see for their games.
Put simply, if Nintendo are the only ones producing the carts and game packaging, they can charge what they like (and we hate to say it…but they have been). This drastically took profit away from the cut to developers and publishers.
Less media capacity for devs to work with + Lower profits for devs and publishers (than with any other console) = Third party abandonment.
SD card tech has fallen in cost over the past couple of years. A 32GB (the lowest Nintendo Switch should use) should easily be obtainable. Even 64GB SD cards (we’d love to see this!) could actually be doable due to the much lower cost. But it’s all down to how Nintendo go about their cut. They can’t afford to be greedy any longer. They need to become third party friendly if they’re to see this console war through to the end.
Of course, Nintendo could also keep cartridges for their own games and give third party developers the option to go digital eshop-only. But if the Nintendo Switch Dock is the only part with the storage, this idea could mean restrictions for third party games going handheld with the Switch Console. For more info on this, head to our Storage Capacity for the Nintendo Switch post.