There might not be as many great-looking Nintendo Switch games next year

Getty Images/Michael KovacNintendo chose cartridges for the Switch console because it can be used in either docked or undocked modes.
  • Nintendo is delaying the availability of 64-gigabyte game cartridges for its Switch console into 2019, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • That, in turn, might make it harder for developers to bring top-tier, graphically intensive games to the Switch in 2018, imperiling the pipeline of flagship games.
  • Nintendo has already sold over 10 million Switch consoles, meaning developers could continue to flock to the platform, regardless.

Nintendo was originally planning to deliver high-capacity 64-gigabyte Switch game cartridges to developers in the second half of 2018. Now, that date has slipped into 2019 amid “technical issues,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

This might seem small, but it could have a big impact on the Nintendo Switch console and its games lineup next year: Without higher-capacity cartridges, it’s going to be harder for developers to bring their top-tier, graphically-intensive titles to the Switch.

The current Switch cartridges hold 32GB, which is less than the 50GB that a Sony PlayStation 4 or Microsoft Xbox One game disc can hold. Nintendo chose cartridges because they’re smaller, and less prone to errors if you shake them up when using the console in the portable mode.

Some developers have come up with workarounds – when the demon-infested shoot-em-up “Doom” came to the Switch earlier this year, the single-player campaign was on the cartridge, while players had to download the multiplayer component onto the console from the internet. It was a messy solution, but it worked.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildNintendoNintendo Switch smash hit ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ fit into 14 gigabytes of memory.

Ultimately, these space constraints are just one more hurdle for developers looking to bring their titles to the Nintendo Switch. Given that the Switch itself sports less powerful hardware than its Sony or Microsoft brethern, some developers may simply choose not to bother with Nintendo’s console at all.

Then again, Nintendo really hit the ground running with the Switch: It sold 10 million units in its first year on the market, grounded by a strong lineup of critical and commercial hits like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey.” That success, in turn, has drawn developers to bring over titles like “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” and the aforementioned “Doom,” technical limitations and all. So, perhaps, Nintendo fans needn’t worry about the delay after all.

Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment.

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