Do Physical Nintendo Switch Games Take Up Storage? –

Nintendo Switch games can be either digital or physical, so it’s impossible to tell how much space a game takes up unless you download the cartridge and explore. Depending on if your console has been hacked before or not, 3-4 GB of storage is pretty standard for Nintendo games.

The “do physical games take up space on switch” is a question that has been asked by many people. The answer to the question, is yes. Games take up space on the Nintendo Switch, but it varies depending on what type of game you are playing.

Do Physical Nintendo Switch Games Take Up Storage? –

Although the Nintendo Switch has a little amount of memory, can physical Nintendo Switch games take up space? I made the decision to find out.

Updates, save data files, downloadable content, and patches for physical Switch games will always eat up storage space. Depending on the game, the amount will change. Because physical games have a cartridge to store data on, they will always take up less space than digital games.

By purchasing physical games, you may get a Nintendo Switch without having to purchase extra Micro SD storage space.

I’ll go over how much space digital switch games take up, as well as everything else relevant to getting the most out of your Switch’s storage. Let’s get started.

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What’s the Best Way to Make Switch Games Download Faster?

Why Do Physical Switch Games Require So Much Space?


Physical games take up less space than digital games, but that doesn’t mean certain titles don’t take up a lot of room on your Switch. If the game’s size is very large, or multiplayer is an important component of the game, all of this must be installed individually.

Examine how various games need varying amounts of space.

  • 279MB of update data is used in Super Mario Odyssey.
  • Tropical Freeze takes up 22MB in Donkey Kong Country.
  •  Depending on how many expansions you purchase, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild requires 929MB for update data and 1.3 GB for DLC.

You know, Zelda’s enormously popular Breath Of The Wild takes up 929 MB, whilst Donkey Kong takes up just 22 MB, taking up 44 times less space than Zelda!

If you download BOTW without a cartridge, you’ll need 13.4GB of storage, which is just under half of the Switch’s storage capacity! As a result, you can see how much RAM you save by switching to physical storage.

The debate over physical vs. digital games is a fascinating one; if you want to learn more about whether option is best for you, see my piece here.

Developers Need To Issue Updates & Patches

Some game creators, depending on the game, rely on big 1-day upgrades to operate; DOOM for the Switch is a prime example. Because it’s a huge game with difficult visuals for the Switch, the game files are quite enormous, and it won’t fit on the regular 32GB cartridge.

The single-player campaign fits on the cartridge, but you’ll need to download the MASSIVE 21.3 GB file update separately if you want to play multiplayer!

It’s easy to see how depending on the Switch’s 32GB RAM is a prescription for disaster. I strongly suggest the SanDisk Ultra 256 GB micro SD card, which has enough storage to keep you occupied with hundreds of games on your Switch. You can get it for a great bargain on Amazon here.

DLC requires more storage space in games.

Because DLC (downloadable content) is provided after a game is launched, the producers will need a location to store all of the additional data, which will vary in size depending on the content.

This varies depending on what you’re downloading; for example, BOTW(Zelda) requires 2.4 GB of storage space to download both DLCs, which will provide you with many more hours of enjoyable gameplay, making the installation well worth it.

Certain DLC updates may be even more expensive, since Nintendo titles like as Splatoon 2 and ARMS need a large amount of data for online play, and this material was created and added after the games were published, with free multiplayer DLC included.

It’s easy to understand why having an SD card is so important for the Switch.

Developers are looking for ways to reduce production costs.

Nintendo is great at compressing game files, but other creators don’t take the same care with Switch files since it takes a lot of time and resources. Companies will attempt to save money by putting more of the game’s data on your Switch rather than on the game cartridge.

NBA 2K20, for example, has an astronomical 32.9 GB install required for the Switch! This is insane, yet a micro SD card is required to play this game since the Switch’s internal capacity is just 32GB!

Nintendo game files will always be more compressed due to Nintendo’s attention to detail and care, as opposed to how third-party developers approach their game installations, with 2K Sports being a prime example.

Why Should You Purchase A MicroSD Card For Your Nintendo Switch?

The issue with the Switch is that it only has 32 GB of internal memory, with only 25 GB of it being utilized to hold games. Games for the Switch may range in size from a few hundred megabytes to 20 gigabytes or more, necessitating the purchase of a Micro SD card.

Micro SD Cards Are Inexpensive

Memory used to be pricey and massive; I recall seeing a 250 GB external hard drive that was the size of a brick! We no longer live in these days, and Micro SD cards can be had for a very low price.

My personal suggestion is the Sandisk Ultra 256 SD Card (amazon link), which costs about $40 and can contain around 275 distinct BOTW game files if placed on the cartridge.

With so much capacity, you can have a lot, if not all, of your games digitally, which is not possible without a Micro SD card, since downloading games need an SD card, and without one, you simply don’t have enough room.

That tiny investment of $40 is definitely worth it since it allows you to purchase as many games as you want, knowing that you’ll have enough room. I can attest to the difficulties of deciding which game to eliminate in order to free up space; without the SD card, it’s not enjoyable.

Some games need the use of a micro SD card.

If you want to play the NBA 2K series on the move with your Switch, you’ll need to purchase a Micro SD card since the game needs more capacity to download than the Switch’s internal storage.

Why restrict your gaming possibilities by relying on third-party developers to make their games SD card-free? For about $40, you can put an end to your problems and purchase whatever game you want? I believe it is a win-win situation.

What Is the Size of a Digital Switch Game?

Digital Switch games will always take up more space than physical games, however the amount of space required varies on the game’s size. They might be as tiny as 40Mb or as large as 32.9 GB.

Please view this list compiled by Nintendo’s Life to see the various download sizes for Switch games.

Because publishers often aim to include as much of their game on the cartridge as possible, you will always save memory space by choosing for actual cartridges rather than digital downloads.

The Witcher 3 is an example of a third firm succeeding in file reduction, with all downloadable material weighing in at just 28.1GB on the Switch!

Is it possible to save games on the Switch or the cartridge?

The Switch retains all of your game data, as well as any downloaded material or game updates, on its 32GB internal storage. You won’t be able to play your save data if you plug your Switch into another one. However, you may store your save data to the cloud through Nintendo Online, which you can access.

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Product Suggestions

SD Card Sandisk Ultra 256 (Amazon Link)


The “nintendo switch cartridge” is a physical game that can be inserted into the Nintendo Switch console. The games are stored on cartridges, so they take up storage space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do physical games take up storage on Switch?

A: No, they dont take up storage on the Switch.

How much storage do physical Switch games take?

A: This largely depends on the game you are playing. For example, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes up 1.1 GB while Super Smash Bros Ultimate will take up a whopping 38GB of storage space!

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Max Bernoff