In a statement to Eurogamer, WB Games officially responded to reports of Lego City Undercover requiring an install, saying:
Players who purchase Lego City Undercover on Nintendo Switch at retail do not need to download the game to play.
Eurogamer itself suggest in their article that this may be only half true and only parts of the game will be playable without an install.
Early retail copies of the next-gen ports for Lego City Undercover have popped up online, and it’s revealing some unsettling details on the Nintendo Switch version.
The Switch version requires an internet connection, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions do not. This is chiefly because WB Games decided to ship the 20GB game on an 8GB cartridge, forcing the user to download the other 13GB of data themselves.
To give you a good comparison, that’s almost as big as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. From what we’re seeing, WB Games is making anyone who pays 60$ for a four-year-old game to download 65% of the title because they didn’t print the game on a larger cartridge.
Not only is this incredibly inconvenient for Switch owners with inconsistent internet connections, it sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the console.
If publishers want to save a couple bucks, they can just not put a chunk of the game on the cartridge and make you download it. With the Switch itself only having about 29GB free to the user, that means if this became a trend, users would be forced to pick up a Micro SD card to be able to store all of their games that they own physically.
While there are factors such as publishing costs and licensing that may account for increased production costs on the Nintendo Switch, that simply is not an excuse to sell consumers 35% of a game to cut costs.