Nintendo Switch

Wall Street Journal Report Says Nintendo Is Delaying 64GB Cartridges Until 2019

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Nintendo has delayed the higher capacity 64GB Nintendo Switch cartridges to 2019. This has come as a blow to some developers whose games simply do not fit on the standard 32GB cartridge. The Kyoto-based company pushed the date back due to technical issues. The Verge says that larger capacity cartridges would help alleviate the need for an extra microSD expansion card and the internet downloads required by these more demanding games. However, this could come at a higher price to consumers.

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35 comments

    1. They are talking about the catridge, not the micro sd cards, which people can buy whatever brand they want… I think they mean that a AAA game fitting all on one 64GB cartridge will cost more than current games on the 32gb catridge that needs additional downloads to have the complete game. Then the physical copy could be 69.99 in some cases as opposed to 59.99 (my guess) but no need to download anything… meh.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. They’re talking about the cartridges for developers to put their game on for physical releases, not the Nintendo brand SD cards. It’s a no win for Nintendo though. If they don’t allow them to use 64gb cards, consumers will complain about large downloads for physical releases. If they release 64gb cards, consumers will complain when they have to eat the increased production costs.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Hang on a minute… a blow to developers? Doesn’t look like developers are willing to even go for the (more expensive) 32GB cartridge with their games. Doom and LA Noire show this, they were put on 16GB cartridges and had massive downloads. Same for Resident Evil Revelations Collection. Part 1 was only digital download, instead of both games on one cartridge.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. That sucks, I rather have the entire game, or games on one cartridge vs the way it is now. Perhaps with the extra space on the cartridge programmers wouldn’t have to sacrifrice texture quality quite as much with the compression that they use now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You might. But most of the AAA games we’ve seen for the Switch were either poorly developed or scaled down from more powerful consoles… My bet is, if the game is built from ground up for the Switch, the performance and resolution of the visuals might be a bit more consistent.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Many developers will now target the Switch as the standard platform (because of its success and cheap developing costs) and then port their games to the other platforms (with higher texture resolution and higher frame rate maybe). 60 gig games would not even run on that hardware, you can exploit it with far less gigs (Mario is a big game that’s already exploiting the Switch and it’s running at 6 gigs, Zelda it’s a big RPG and it’s 14 gigs. Then if we are talking about FMVs then they can just cut or run them at 2000 kbps, no one will moan about it.
    Realistically who NEED more than 32 gigs? The wasters (2K comes to mind), that’s it. 64 gigs will be more useful for the Switch 2 games, with that console sporting more internal memory too.

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      1. Yes, the point is there are over 2 hours of FMV in LA Noire that makes up the bulk of the game. Do they really need to run those at that low compression? Nope. They are just losing potential sales by wasting space. They can even run them at 720p/2Mbps and no one would just notice its ‘low resolution’ without a direct comparison with a full HD source. Long gone are the times of the blocky Nintendo 64’s FMVs. People aren’t that picky with HD Ready, so many still buy DVDs!

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    1. Nintendo’s first party games are small because they tend to not use as many assets. It’s not laziness on the part of other developers. NBA 2k18 also has voice acting for story mode and commentary and it includes unique textures and models for at least 450 unique, full sized players as well as assets for creating a custom player. WWE 2K18 has 85 extremely detailed wrestlers each with unique entrance music, titantron videos, entrance animations, and commentary relating to them. It also has create a wrestler assets and assets for 44 arenas current and classic arenas. There is a fuck ton of stuff in these games and everybody acts like sports games are what they were back in the day.

      As far as I can tell, LA Noire’s cutscenes are all in-game, too. You can find compilations of them on YouTube in high resolutions. Even if they did use a bunch of pre-rendered cutscenes, the bitrate they could get away with varies a lot depending on what’s happening on screen. Breath of the Wild has 720p 30 cutscenes that were generally around 3-4Mbps and a 6 frame GOP and those cutscenes are very still and cell shaded making them ideal for h.264 so saying that 2Mbps is all around passable is assuming too much. I’ve encoded many videos over the years and 2Mbps will produce noticeable macroblocks in most scenarios and blur fine detail. You’re talking about YouTube bitrates. You’re suggesting that developers encode video at 1/4h the bitrate of DVDs at 2.6x higher resolution. Yes, h.264 compresses better than Mpeg-2 at lower resolutions but only about twice as well. With higher degrees of motion, the h.264 would be torn to shreds. Of course, the Switch does have support for HEVC which would do far better at 2Mbp/s but I still wouldn’t assuming that would for everything.

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      1. Certainly it has more assets, but so have NBA2k18 on the PS3. There it weighs just 8 gigs. And the Nintendo Switch is more or less a PS3x2, despite the far bigger RAM pool.
        It does look bad on PS3? No, it just has ‘invisible’ cuts (a completely tolerable downgrade). The same invisible cuts they could make on the Switch but stupidly wont.
        If you don’t compress enough FMVs and textures you end up with a chunky file size, that’s it. Fewer people will buy it because they are treated to download or buy cards. I wont. I do prefer downgrades over buying cards or not having the complete game in that cartridge.

        You can go even lower than those 3-4 Mbit for Zelda. 2 Mbit for a 720p source is perfectly tolerable. Few would see differences. If you need to you can do it. Zelda developers didn’t, everything found space in the 16 GB cartridge. And I’m just talking about the H.264 encoder, with HEVC you can go even lower.

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      2. The PS3/X360 versions don’t have The Neighborhood. According to people who have actually played the games on last gen systems the past few years, the last gen versions have pretty much been copy and pastes from the year previous with very few improvements. since 2k14. If you look at comparisons, you can even see that the players don’t even have the same facial hair and hair dues in the current and last gen versions.

        So there’s your answer as to why it’s smaller on those systems. They aren’t the same game.

        On to your technical points, texture compression isn’t the same kind of process as video compression. You don’t really tweak texture compression, at least not if they’re using S3TC textures, they pretty much have two modes: 8bpp or 4bpp with 4bpp being used in most cases. ASTC textures can be tweaked by picking block sizes, so if that is something that Nintendo is making available to developers, than you might have a point but even that has limits. For example, you might be able to get away with compressing a skin texture with an 8×8 or 10×10 block but normal maps might not survive being compressed with anything larger than 6×6 blocks.

        While you’re right that they could make further downgrades for the sake of file size, that’s exactly the kind of stuff that a lot of other people on here would complain about.

        2Mbp/s is only tolerable SOMETIMES. I just re-encoding 5 BotW cutscenes at 2Mbp/s and, as suspecting, the scenes with almost no motion look alright but anything with the camera trucking and/or has some character movement causes the screen to become muddy. You have to realize that when you saying 3-4Mbps will look fine at 2Mbps, you’re talking about a 25-50% drop in bitrate. Some of these cutscenes are going as high as 4.4Mbps so those would experience a 55% drop in bitrate. Did you perhaps consider that game developers are already compressing them to the smallest they can get them without them looking bad?

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      3. Ok, this is the game for PS3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93KWMyM6eHo
        Tell me if this game isn’t already visually striking, and if you NEED those nitpicks of the new gen with their 23 gigs.
        Aiming at that (PS3) version you can add what you want still staying under 16 gigs. If people do buy full price on PS3 they can buy full prices on Switch with a better and portable version. I’m not considering that game, I would with everything on the cartridge.

        You can reduce texture size by lowering resolution, as they did with Zelda that has not the most detailed textures but they look still good.
        I would not complain for it, maybe some will, but then they can’t have a PS4, it’s not a PS4, it’s an hybrid system with some obvious technical limits. Textures, FMV and frame rate must be taken in account when purchasing such a system.

        You are compressing on an already compressed source, though even by going this way should not look muddy, maybe tools used aren’t good, try with Handbrake.
        ‘Looking bad’ are big words, I don’t think that 720p/2Mbps would look ‘bad’. They are aiming at excellence with 4 Mbps. They can go easily lower if forced to, they weren’t.

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      4. Ok, this is the game for PS3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93KWMyM6eHo
        Tell me if this game isn’t already visually striking, and if you NEED those nitpicks of the new gen with their 23 gigs.

        It looks like a typical PS3 sports game. Not great, not bad.

        Aiming at that (PS3) version you can add what you want still staying under 16 gigs. If people do buy full price on PS3 they can buy full prices on Switch with a better and portable version. I’m not considering that game, I would with everything on the cartridge.

        So your assertion that they could add those features and remain under 16 GB is something you’re saying as someone who neither has the game nor wants the game. Do you know if other features may have been cut out of the PS3 version and do you have enough of a grasp of what The Neighborhood includes that you can accurately judge how much storage it might take up?

        Because right now I’ve finding very little info about the last gen versions of the game and what they include. For example, just by looking at videos it seems they don’t have the pre-game shows that have been around since 2k15. I also don’t know if it has all the same teams available.

        You can reduce texture size by lowering resolution, as they did with Zelda that has not the most detailed textures but they look still good.

        That’s not compression though and the textures is one of the few issues I have with the game but that mainly has to do with their weird decision to use lower res normal maps than diffuse maps, I would have gone the other way around. Anyway, the general problem with lowering texture resolutions is that you want to keep their resolutions in powers of two. You COULD use NPOT textures but they won’t support mipmapping which is necessary to prevent texture aliasing and to save texture bandwidth.

        I would not complain for it, maybe some will, but then they can’t have a PS4, it’s not a PS4, it’s an hybrid system with some obvious technical limits. Textures, FMV and frame rate must be taken in account when purchasing such a system.

        Except that the very fact that it’s a hybrid means that it’s a console as well. I don’t think that you get that this is the successor to Nintendo’s last home console, not the successor to the 3DS. Nintendo has made that clear by their continued support of the 3DS whether you view it to be on it’s last legs or not. The Switch is vying to get console games. You can’t continously downplay it’s expectations as a console just because you like it’s portability (though you’ve previously suggested you don’t really use it portably, you just like that you can). Those who are looking at it as their console upgrade are looking for it to be some facsimile of a premiere gaming experience not some dog shit version of a game that purposely under-utilizes the already weak hardware in order to keep it within the storage limits that Nintendo should have seen from a mile away considering that games have been this big for over 4 years.

        You are compressing on an already compressed source,

        Fair observation.

        though even by going this way should not look muddy, maybe tools used aren’t good, try with Handbrake.

        I use Adobe Media Encoder and I had it encode in two passes with a constant bitrate of 2Mbps. Did you instead mean that 2Mbps should be the target bitrate? If so, what should the max be? I’m willing to do the test again. My computer is primarily set up for editing so it’s quick enough for me to do.

        ‘Looking bad’ are big words, I don’t think that 720p/2Mbps would look ‘bad’. They are aiming at excellence with 4 Mbps. They can go easily lower if forced to, they weren’t.

        I wouldn’t call 720p/2Mbps “aiming at excellence” by any stretch of the imagination. At 4Mbps you’re talking about a bitrate closer to streaming video streaming video. Vimeo actually streams their 720p30 content at a variable bitrate of 2.5-3.7Mbps. If Nintendo were were aiming for excellence, they would have used something like 10Mbps or more.

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      5. I would have considered it. I definitely would not buy that mess, though a normal game on a normal cartridge would had a chance.
        I buy games on the Switch especially for my children, one of them asked for the basket game, still I’m not going to buy an SD card for it or clug Switch’s internal memory for it.
        That neighborhood thingy looks like just an alternative mode, not something asking for 20 gigs.
        Also the most important feature is to pack it on a cartridge in my opinion.

        PS3 textures are already very good, you can go that way or even target an higher resolution (or mix higher with lower), you have the space. Though there is no need for an ultra detailed texture, that’s just something you can achieve on an home gaming console, where you can waste on storage. A plus.
        Remember, Xbox also had that plus but PS2 sold more. It wasn’t exactly necessary that kind of detail, just a nice plus.

        I don’t think this is just the successor of the Wii U. I think this is the way Nintendo want to design its almost whole business. If it sell well it will be the only platform, if it will tank than there will be a specific handheld B plan.
        But they nailed it so the Switch is just the future of Nintendo, money and development will flow there instead of multiple markets. Instead they will support mobile with external teams and for now 3DS too with external teams.
        They are offering a unique platform to please all their customers with a fuller offering, more games for one platform.
        No more one weak console + a great handheld, just a greater platform.
        I’m not a handheld gamer, I’m a PC/console gamer. I’m pleased. And sure I will be even (far) more pleased with a more powerful hardware, but I do understand that there are technical limits. They already achieved a lot. And there is lot of space to work on for their next hardware offering in 4 to 5 years.
        There will be a true jump there, like it has not been from the Wii U, but that was just a console.

        With Handbrake you can just put an average bitrate and it does calculate automatically. It’s no frills, I would give it a try, it’s easy and fast: https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

        My ripped BRs are generally at that bitrate, I don’t find obvious artifacts. You can always do better, but it’s still pretty good.
        I understand people lamenting FMVs on the PSX/N64 but 720p/2Mbps isn’t a torture at all.

        ‘Aiming at excellence’ was for actual BotW bitrate. 2Mbps isn’t excellence, just a fair trade for an otherwise game to buy an SD card for.

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      6. I would have considered it.

        Consideration does equal knowledge of the game. You can’t judge how many space you think something should be if you don’t know much about the game.

        That neighborhood thingy looks like just an alternative mode, not something asking for 20 gigs.

        That “neighborhood thingy” is the biggest feature of this years game. All their marketing was around it.

        Also the most important feature is to pack it on a cartridge in my opinion.

        The most important feature for a system that hopes to change Nintendo’s fortunes for third-party support needs more than that. It needs to be complete and impressive so that it will sell. Just look at the comments section of any video of the PS3 version of the game and you’d see fans of the game shitting on how the game looks among other things.

        PS3 textures are already very good, you can go that way or even target an higher resolution (or mix higher with lower), you have the space. Though there is no need for an ultra detailed texture, that’s just something you can achieve on an home gaming console, where you can waste on storage. A plus.

        This game is the same resolution as the PS4 when it’s docked (though half the frame rate). It does need to withstand some extra scrutiny especially when you DO see close-ups of the players.

        Remember, Xbox also had that plus but PS2 sold more. It wasn’t exactly necessary that kind of detail, just a nice plus.

        The Xbox had what?

        I don’t think this is just the successor of the Wii U. I think this is the way Nintendo want to design its almost whole business. If it sell well it will be the only platform, if it will tank than there will be a specific handheld B plan. But they nailed it so the Switch is just the future of Nintendo, money and development will flow there instead of multiple markets.

        Holy hell, you really love ignoring the complexities of things. You keep on saying the Switch nailed it as if we’re on year 3 of it’s lifespan or something. It’s been out for less than a year, and the main problem that Nintendo has needed to solve for years is not being solved with the Switch and you can’t see that.

        They are offering a unique platform to please all their customers with a fuller offering, more games for one platform.

        So you’re saying it’s Nintendo system made for Nintendo to release Nintendo games to Nintendo fans. That descibes Nintendo’s last three systems.

        No more one weak console + a great handheld, just a greater platform.

        Yes, now the great handheld can be dragged down by it’s console aspect and vice versa. It’s amazing how much marketing can allow someone to think the future of their tablet system is all unicorns and rainbows. Listen, there’s no such thing as combining two things that are opposites and getting the best of both worlds. When you do that, you get something that excels at neither of the two things it was made from. That doesn’t just relate to specs, that relates to every single aspect of the system. Think about that.

        I’m not a handheld gamer, I’m a PC/console gamer. I’m pleased.

        That’s very obvious to me.

        And sure I will be even (far) more pleased with a more powerful hardware, but I do understand that there are technical limits.

        I understand their are technical limits too, that’s why the hybrid idea is terrible despite it’s initial euphoria. I also understand that they haven’t reached the technical limts for the concept they chose and that’s a problem considering it’s trying to get console games.

        You should know though, that I’m simultaneously arguing with someone who legitimately still thinks that the Switch is a handheld Xbox One and expects the Switch successor to match or outperform the next PlayStation and Xbox systems so it’s very clear that there are people who don’t understand how much of problem it will be for Nintendo to marry themselves to the idea of a hybrid in place of a dedicated console. They already think devs are lazy because the Switch version’s fall so short of looking like the PS4 versions, imagine how pissed they would be if games literally looked like X360/PS3/Wii U games.

        They already achieved a lot. And there is lot of space to work on for their next hardware offering in 4 to 5 years.

        Like? What kinds of specs and features could the Switch 2 have if there’s so space for them to work on?

        There will be a true jump there, like it has not been from the Wii U, but that was just a console.

        So you’re saying by 2022 they’ll finally release a system that significantly outperforms what their competition released 17 years earlier?! :-O HOW AMAZING!

        >_>

        With Handbrake you can just put an average bitrate and it does calculate automatically. It’s no frills, I would give it a try, it’s easy and fast: https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

        The fact that there’s an average bitrate means its VBR and that the average is exceded through the video.

        My ripped BRs are generally at that bitrate, I don’t find obvious artifacts. You can always do better, but it’s still pretty good.

        Movies are 24fps, not 30. That’s a 25% difference so 2Mbps at 24fps is the equivalent to 2.5Mbps at 30fps. So yea, considering these two things, you’re probably frequently looking at higher bitrate video and just thought it was 2Mbps.

        I understand people lamenting FMVs on the PSX/N64 but 720p/2Mbps isn’t a torture at all.

        Definitely not torture but when the point of the cutscene is to come off like it’s in-game, 2Mbps will give it away.

        ‘Aiming at excellence’ was for actual BotW bitrate. 2Mbps isn’t excellence, just a fair trade for an otherwise game to buy an SD card for.

        I was actually talking about 4Mbps, I typoed.

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      7. That feature can’t weight 20 gigs, period.

        There are no reviews out there for PS3, just gameplay videos. NBA 2k17 was reviewed very good, NBA 2k18 is a mess on any platform.

        Xbox had more detail than PS2, far more. But it ended selling less.
        Gamers don’t care just about graphics and the success of the Switch proves it.

        In less than year it sold the entire lifetime stock of the Wii U, also it’s selling like the Wii. Want to wait? Wait. Still 10 millions console are already out there in 9 months.
        It’s a smashing success.

        We will see if it’s terrible. Actually it’s breaking all sales records. Which proof do you need for understanding it it’s beyond me.

        Sure, movies have less frames. Go 2.5, it doesn’t change much. Still far lower than those 4 Mbits.

        4 Mbits is plenty, 2 is bearable. Nothing that would actually cause ‘stress’ to the average player.

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  4. Why don’t these companies just learn how to properly compress their games to fit in the 32 GB. If Triple-A 100 hours+ games like Odyssey and BotW can fit on a 32 GB cartridge so can their 10 hours lacklustre games. The problem is not the hardware and cartridges, it is the third party developers who are too lazy to work with they have.

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    1. *sees the unfair comparison between Nintendo triple A games & 3rd party triple A games, the use of the word lazy, & rolls eyes* Unlike Nintendo developers who knew about the system a good year or two in advance from everyone else, 3rd party developers didn’t know anything about Switch til mid or late 2016 so they need time to get use to the system. Plus they are already busy with games for other systems. Nintendo developers only have one system to worry about right now. So calling most 3rd parties lazy is wrong. 3rd parties aren’t going to put their prior projects on hold just to please a very vocal minority of impatient Nintendo only gamers that ignorantly, or blindly, scream that they are just being “lazy.”

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Compressed assets need to be decompressed to be used. The best compression algorithms takes up more CPU time and memory and Switch has about half the CPU power of the other systems. For example, I can compress Breath of the Wild to about 8GB using LZMA, but decompressing that requires 1.5GB of memory to be used for the dictionary and my 3.3Ghz six-core Intel CPU can only decompress it at about 15MB/s so it would be slower to load those assets. Alternately, something like ZStd can be used which can decompress at hundreds of MB/s per CPU core. That would improve load times but would compress things nearly as well.

      BotW and Odyssey are also 100+ hours by design, it has nothing to do with their size. Their size small because they generally do not use very large textures of very detailed models. You can see low resolution textures all over the place in Breath of the Wild. It’s to point that I can actually identify 4×4 pixel squares pretty easily from a normal playing distance when climbing mountains.

      As for the laziness of developers, Xenoblade Chronicle X was 19 GB on Wii U but even a very light compression algorithm could bring it down to 11.4 GB so it’s not like Nintendo is doing any masterful compression with their games.

      Liked by 1 person

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