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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - The cart limitations of the Switch is really starting to hurt the console.

dharh said:
RolStoppable said:

(..)

It's also concerning that we are on a sales and gaming website and about half of the people in this thread don't even know that there's a difference between carts and cards.

Doesn't help that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_game_card

A Nintendo game card (trademarked as Game Card) is a cartridge-based format used to physically distribute video games for certain Nintendo systems. The game cards resemble smaller, thinner versions of the Game Pak cartridges for previous portable gaming consoles released by Nintendo, such as the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance.[1] The mask ROM chips are manufactured by Macronix and have an access speed of 150 ns.[2] The cards contain flash memory,[citation needed] including game data, and a writable portion for saving user data for Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS titles.

The Wikipedia article fails to mention the most crucial difference between carts and cards: Lower production costs despite much bigger capacities.

VAMatt said:
RolStoppable said:

....about half of the people in this thread don't even know that there's a difference between carts and cards.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that half the people in this forum have never actually touched a cartridge.  It has been about 25 years since a non-Nintendo system used them.  

With that said, the fact that the words are being used interchangeably in this discussion does not mean that people don't know the difference. It's one of those things where one person uses the wrong word, and others repeat it without thinking.

The problem is that people actually believe that cards are like carts and run with the old stories of Nintendo 64 vs. PlayStation, so they think that cards are much more expensive to produce than Blu-ray discs. But that's not the case as ZhugeEX already tweeted in 2017 that there's no cost difference between an 8 GB card and a Blu-ray disc for third party publishers. Despite that, we still had people gobble up the nonsense that Switch versions of games have to be $10 more expensive.

Higher capacity cards are more expensive than Blu-ray discs, but another factor that people seemingly aren't aware of is data compression. I already cited the concrete example of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy at the beginning of this thread which only needs a quarter of its original space on Switch.

The real issue is that people aren't interested in facts, so they ignore such posts because they want to continue to believe whatever it is they think. The faulty argument of the OP is backed up with the release of a (glorified) Wolfenstein DLC that isn't put on a card for its physical release on Switch, followed by a leap of logic that that will somehow affect hardware sales momentum negatively. It's seemingly irrelevant that Switch sales have been up year over year so far, just as it is irrelevant that Switch is still the console with the fastest growing library of all time. And if someone intends to counter by pointing out that the vast majority of releases have no noticeable impact on hardware sales, they should begin to realize that Hellblade and Wolfenstein fall into the very same category.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

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RolStoppable said:

Higher capacity cards are more expensive than Blu-ray discs, but another factor that people seemingly aren't aware of is data compression. I already cited the concrete example of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy at the beginning of this thread which only needs a quarter of its original space on Switch.

The issue with compression is the requirement for decompression. - Decompression takes time, memory, bandwidth and CPU cycles.
Sometimes compression can be justified, like in the case of Virtual Texturing if you have the DRAM to play with.

The Carts themselves however due to their large amounts of bandwidth and low-latency relative to optical media tend to be able to stream data on-demand much more effectively, even compared to mechanical hard drives they hold some advantages, so you can typically reduce the amount of Ram you need that way.

In saying that, Compression isn't a be-all end-all solution to resolving the Switch's limitations, it's a tool, sure, but not one that is applicable for every instance.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

Pemalite said:
RolStoppable said:

Higher capacity cards are more expensive than Blu-ray discs, but another factor that people seemingly aren't aware of is data compression. I already cited the concrete example of Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy at the beginning of this thread which only needs a quarter of its original space on Switch.

The issue with compression is the requirement for decompression. - Decompression takes time, memory, bandwidth and CPU cycles.
Sometimes compression can be justified, like in the case of Virtual Texturing if you have the DRAM to play with.

The Carts themselves however due to their large amounts of bandwidth and low-latency relative to optical media tend to be able to stream data on-demand much more effectively, even compared to mechanical hard drives they hold some advantages, so you can typically reduce the amount of Ram you need that way.

In saying that, Compression isn't a be-all end-all solution to resolving the Switch's limitations, it's a tool, sure, but not one that is applicable for every instance.

I acknowledged in my second post in this thread that not every game will be able to accomplish a ratio as big as 4:1 with compression, so I am aware of that. But at the same time it's clear that many games, including Hellblade, don't need to reach a 4:1 ratio to fit on a card that is smaller than 32 GB.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

RolStoppable said:
Pemalite said:

The issue with compression is the requirement for decompression. - Decompression takes time, memory, bandwidth and CPU cycles.
Sometimes compression can be justified, like in the case of Virtual Texturing if you have the DRAM to play with.

The Carts themselves however due to their large amounts of bandwidth and low-latency relative to optical media tend to be able to stream data on-demand much more effectively, even compared to mechanical hard drives they hold some advantages, so you can typically reduce the amount of Ram you need that way.

In saying that, Compression isn't a be-all end-all solution to resolving the Switch's limitations, it's a tool, sure, but not one that is applicable for every instance.

I acknowledged in my second post in this thread that not every game will be able to accomplish a ratio as big as 4:1 with compression, so I am aware of that. But at the same time it's clear that many games, including Hellblade, don't need to reach a 4:1 ratio to fit on a card that is smaller than 32 GB.

I wasn't arguing compression ratios. Just that compression itself cannot be used in every scenario.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

RolStoppable said:
dharh said:

Doesn't help that:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_game_card

The Wikipedia article fails to mention the most crucial difference between carts and cards: Lower production costs despite much bigger capacities.

Except that's not really the differentiating factor.  There really is none when it comes to consoles/handhelds.  Some people maybe equating these things like carts of old, but they are still: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cartridge

g : a case for holding printed circuit chips containing a computer program (console game)

ROM/Flash has come a long long way and certain the costs of old are no where near where they used to be.  The higher prices in many cases is all to due with Nintendo premium and little to do with any negligent if any higher cost of the physical medium.  Where it is necessary for higher capacity cards/carts compression can mitigate that.  Though again I figure if that is a problem for people they can just look at the other consoles to get the higher fidelity.



A warrior keeps death on the mind from the moment of their first breath to the moment of their last.



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Ganoncrotch said:
spemanig said:

the title doesn't seem to be really reflected in the comment, where's the actual part where he mentions sales in the title?

I would imagine when he talks about hurting a console the idea is that it's being hurt as a product which would make it sell less, I do not imagine the OP thinks the console is a feeling piece of hardware that actually suffers pain! I could be wrong of course, perhaps he thinks it has an advanced AI which can read comments on the internet and feel physical pain from them.... I know after being on this site a while I certainly do.

You don't have to imagine. It's pretty clear by the OP that he values physical releases, and thinks that games not being released physically is hurting the console. He's talking about the qualitative value of the console. Much the same way the Wii sold 100m+ copies, but people universally agree that its focus on motion controls hurt that console, it's clear that a similar kind of point is being made here. Whether you agree with that sentiment, that is in fact the sentiment being made.

The only bit that talks about something akin to sales is the last paragraph saying that devs are likely skipping the Switch because cart size is an issue, which I don't see why anyone would disagree with. I haven't been paying attention much lately, but I'd be surprised to learn that the Switch has amassed a plethora of 60GB+ games over the past year, and at that point you don't need to think too hard to figure out why. Even still, I don't think the point is being made that this reality is hurting the sales of the console, but the OPs perspective on the collective qualitative opinion of it. "It's missing out on a lot of good games because of carts, not because of its lack of power, and that's hurting the quality of the console," seems to be the sentiment being expressed.



Well, this is new.

Read.

How? I can play Doom just fine.



Bofferbrauer2 said:
Mr Puggsly said:
Carts are expensive, they get more expensive based on storage space. Frankly, publishers would obviously like to avoid producing them.

Yeah, up until 8GB it's really cheap, but then it starts curbing upwards. 16GB should be pretty cheap too nowadays, with 32GB however starting to become expensive. 64GB, while technically very possible, would eat to much of the profits to make then viable right now.

On that note, Optical dics are also getting more and more expensive since they are getting less and less mass produced. With movies increasingly coming in digital form through the internet, the demand for Blu-Rays has been dropping for years, making the production more expensive in turn. In other words, for smaller capacities, Switch cartridges should slowly actually become cheaper than Blu-Ray Discs in the smaller categories (4 and 8GB).

Even if optical discs are getting more expensive to produce, they're still significantly cheaper than a Switch cart. The optical discs are also being used by multiple devices including movies, they aren't dependent on a single console.

I don't see a scenario where carts are cheaper to produce than discs, unless we move away from optical discs entirely. While carts that only hold 4-8GB are useless for most modern games. I anticipate next gen will use both Bluray and Ultra HD Bluray discs, Xbox consoles already use UHD drives so its cheap at this point.

I feel like the compromise developers should make is Switch carts that have no game data on them, but give you access to a game. That way you technically own a game by having the cart and can sell it, trade it, etc. In my mind that's much better than a box with a download code.



Mr Puggsly said:
Bofferbrauer2 said:

Yeah, up until 8GB it's really cheap, but then it starts curbing upwards. 16GB should be pretty cheap too nowadays, with 32GB however starting to become expensive. 64GB, while technically very possible, would eat to much of the profits to make then viable right now.

On that note, Optical dics are also getting more and more expensive since they are getting less and less mass produced. With movies increasingly coming in digital form through the internet, the demand for Blu-Rays has been dropping for years, making the production more expensive in turn. In other words, for smaller capacities, Switch cartridges should slowly actually become cheaper than Blu-Ray Discs in the smaller categories (4 and 8GB).

Even if optical discs are getting more expensive to produce, they're still significantly cheaper than a Switch cart. The optical discs are also being used by multiple devices including movies, they aren't dependent on a single console.

I don't see a scenario where carts are cheaper to produce than discs, unless we move away from optical discs entirely. While carts that only hold 4-8GB are useless for most modern games. I anticipate next gen will use both Bluray and Ultra HD Bluray discs, Xbox consoles already use UHD drives so its cheap at this point.

I feel like the compromise developers should make is Switch carts that have no game data on them, but give you access to a game. That way you technically own a game by having the cart and can sell it, trade it, etc. In my mind that's much better than a box with a download code.

Yeah, but their usage is vaning fast in all their usage scenarios, hence why it's getting more expensive. Also, optical discs ain't interchangeable in production, you need specific presses for specific discs, a Blu-Ray press can't make CDs or DVDs, at least not out of the blue. Discs very much gain from mass production, because the machines to press the discs ain't cheap, and slower production raises costs very fast for them. The problem is that there are so many producers slowing each other down as the demand vanes.

For AAA games, 4-8GB discs are useless, I agree. But for Indies or Retro game collections, they do suffice most of the time. And yeah, we are moving more and more away from discs. Try finding a laptop with an optical drive these days, it's getting more and more difficult. Steaming and digital formats are taking over, and optical discs are more and more becoming a niche product. I'll have to dig to find the source, but afair the sales of Blu-ray discs is close to the one of DVDs in 2000 when VHS tapes where still ruling the market. The economy of scale which is making the optical discs so cheap less and less applies to them.

It won't affect the PS4/XBO anymore, though. But it could affect their successors. Getting more than 100GB on an optical disc is proving to become impractical (UV lasers get stopped by the slightest dust particles, hence why a blue laser is the practical limit for end-users), but with increasingly bigger textures and game worlds, that won't be enough for long anymore.

By contrast, cartridges don't face such a brick wall just yet. Expect them to catch up more and more over the next couple years. I think by end of this year, it won't make much of a price difference between a 25GB Blu-Ray disc and a 16GB cartridge, with the 32GB following close behind.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if someone would come up with a new standard next to SD cards (since Secure Digital isn't anywhere near secure) with a similar size, but much more safety. If they could get the Film Industry on board (which will be looking for a medium for 8K movies in the future for sure), then this could quickly replace the optical discs in general usage.



Bofferbrauer2 said:

It won't affect the PS4/XBO anymore, though. But it could affect their successors. Getting more than 100GB on an optical disc is proving to become impractical (UV lasers get stopped by the slightest dust particles, hence why a blue laser is the practical limit for end-users), but with increasingly bigger textures and game worlds, that won't be enough for long anymore.

Whilst your post is accurate... There is a successor to Blu-Ray known as the Archival Disk which starts at 300GB - 1 Terabyte of storage.
And Sony even managed to cram 3.3 Terabytes into a disk.

Whilst you are accurate that there are practical physical limits to the lasers... There are ways to cram more data in by reducing crosstalk and error detection... This is a similar issue that mechanical disks have had to deal with for awhile.



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--