If you’re hoping to download Rockstar’s L.A. Noire to your Switch later this month, you’d better be ready to invest in a microSD card for extra storage space (if you haven’t already). Rockstar has announced that the Switch port will be a 29GB download from Nintendo’s eShop, which exceeds the system’s built-in storage capacity of about 26GB (that’s 32GB minus about 6GB of reserved space for system software).
Buying the physical cartridge version of the game only ameliorates the storage situation a bit; Rockstar says that “the game will require a 14GB digital download containing required gameplay data as well as general bug fixes and improvements.” That also means you’d better have a decent Wi-Fi connection and some time available before you plan to start playing even the cartridge version of the game.
Don’t count on buying a cheap, low-speed microSD card for your Switch sleuthing, either; Rockstar says the game requires that any Switch SD storage “must have a read speed of at least 60 MB/sec.”
The vast majority of Switch games clock in at well under 10GB, with even major first-party titles like Super Mario Odyssey taking up just 5.7GB. But L.A. Noire isn’t the only game that takes up a lot of Switch storage space. Dragon Quest Heroes 1+2, which is so far only available in Japan, requires a whopping 26.8GB. A FIFA 18 download takes up 14.3GB on the Switch, while both Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Bethesda’s upcoming Doom port require 13.4GB of space to download (the latter also requires an extra 9GB download for online multiplayer).
Nintendo’s Wii U had a similar problem storing large downloads; its maximum of 32GB of internal storage could be quickly eaten up by games like Lego City Undercover (21GB), Batman: Arkham City (19GB) or Super Smash Bros. (15.7GB). But the Wii U allowed for expansion via standard SD cards (up to 32GB) or cheaper USB hard drives.
Sony’s PlayStation Vita, on the other hand, required expensive proprietary memory cards to store any games, so Switch owners should know that it definitely could be worse.
The Switch supports microSDXC cards of up to 2TB, though it’s currently difficult to find consumer options with more than 256GB from reputable manufacturers.