LA Noire Switch Physical Copy Requires a Download Because Rockstar Used Cheaper Carts

LA Noire is coming to Nintendo Switch soon, but the digital version has an awkward proviso: it takes up more room than the console's base storage. The Switch ships with significantly less storage available than the PS4 or Xbox One, so we knew the day would come when there would be a game that absolutely required an SD card. However, for LA Noire even the physical copy requires a sizable download as opposed to running entirely off the cartridge.

LA Noire Nintendo Switch Digital Download Size: Do I Need an SD Card?

LA Noire Phelps with Shotgun

The Nintendo Switch comes with 32 GB of internal storage. Most titles on the platform are only a few GB, so even in that space, you can fit a small number of games. However, bigger games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem Warriors, and now LA Noire make it essential to have an SD card.

Also: L.A. Noire (Initial Release) Review

One of the significant issues with picking an SD card for the Nintendo Switch though is there's no way to determine what the best size is really. According to the Rockstar support website, the digital download of LA Noire for Switch clocks in at 29 GB. That's big enough that it doesn't even fit on the internal storage of the console since 6 GB of the 32 is already taken up by the system files. A 64 GB SD card seemed relatively beefy for the Switch before, but if you download LA Noire, that's a whole half of your removable storage gone.

LA Noire Nintendo Switch Physical Edition: Is a Download Required to Play?

One of the advantages the Switch has over its competition is that it can play physical copies straight off the cartridge. Updates and saves have to be stored on the system, but those are minuscule in size compared to the full game.

LA Noire is the first Switch game in memory that requires a 14 GB download before you can play at all. The physical edition of the game at least gives you the option of playing using only the internal memory, but 14 GB is still a big chunk of data.

Nintendo Switch carts come in 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB varieties, and the larger the cart is, the more expensive it is for the publisher to purchase. It's obvious that Rockstar opted to put the physical edition of the game on 16 GB Switch cartridges, instead of shelling out for the 32 GB that could have fit the whole game. If the digital version is 29 GB and you have to download 14 GB to play the physical copy, it stands to reason that the physical copy must be on a 16 GB Switch card.

It's great if choosing the lower capacity cart keeps the cost down for the Switch release of LA Noire. However, with the physical edition retailing for $49.99 it seems more like Rockstar just found a way to pinch pennies to make more profit as opposed to passing any savings onto the customer.

LA Noire for Nintendo Switch will release on November 11.