SanDisk's Making Nintendo Switch-Branded MicroSDXC Cards

Nintendo announced that SanDisk will release Switch-branded microSDXC cards in October. The cards themselves won't be unique, aside from their inclusion of the Switch logo, but the partnership could allow SanDisk to become the brand of choice for Switch owners looking for extra storage.

Two cards will be available. The first bears Link from The Legend of Zelda on its packaging and, more important, boasts a 64GB capacity with up to 100MBps sequential read and 60MBps sequential write speeds. The second features Mario from, well, you know. That card has a 128GB capacity and up to 100MBps sequential read and 90MBps sequential write speeds. Nintendo didn't reveal pricing information or a firm release date for either card.

The announcement of these cards featured all of the usual PR speak—praise for each company's market share, talking up the Switch's reception, etc.—but it also contained an interesting tidbit about upcoming games. Here's what Nintendo said about why people will want these cards:

Additional storage enables players to download more digital games and content, and take it all on the go. Also, a microSD card will be needed for certain Nintendo Switch games that contain an especially large amount of content and require additional storage for players to enjoy the full experience.

It's not clear if the second sentence refers to digital games that exceed the Switch's 32GB of built-in storage or to physical games that won't fit on a single cartridge. The former wouldn't be surprising; games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild require at least 13.8GB of storage if they're downloaded from the eShop. (And that doesn't even include save game data, expansions, and updates that could take up even more space.)

That means you could buy two particularly large games and run out of storage on the Switch. In that case, you either have to remove something from the console or purchase an SD card. Unless you plan to research the best cards—and we're sure you would, dear reader—chances are good that you'll just buy the Switch-branded SD cards with the familiar characters on their packaging right next to everything else Nintendo related.

The more intriguing possibility is that a single game will require more storage than the Switch's carts provide. We imagine that would be a tougher sell—part of the reason why people buy physical versions of games is to sidestep the storage problem. Still, we'd be interested to see how something could escape the bounds of those carts, even if the rise of digital gaming is the more likely explanation for Nintendo's statement.

Nintendo said these cards will be available at "select retail outlets" in October.

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