Storage space is at a premium for Nintendo Switch owners, especially with digital-only titles becoming more common.
How big are Nintendo Switch games?
The average Switch game size is 2.8GB and most come in at under 10GB.
Nintendo Switch game sizes vary widely, though, with many top games taking up less than 500MB of space and others weighing in at more than 100 times that.
Some stats on the top 100 Switch games
To find out how big Nintendo Switch games are, I gathered some data on the top-rated 100 Nintendo Switch games of all time (as per Metacritic in January 2023).
I think this is a reasonable sample – after all, who cares about how big the trash games are? You shouldn’t be playing them anyway.
I removed three entries from that list because they are bundles of two or more games (like Portal Companion Collection and Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2).
That left 97 games. Here’s what I found when I crunched some numbers:
Average size of a Nintendo Switch game
The average size of a Nintendo Switch game is 2.8GB.
You can see in the graph above that the vast majority of the Nintendo Switch games in this sample are at the smaller end of the scale. In fancy terms, the data is left-skewed.
Using the mean as an average for skewed data is rarely accurate (in this case, almost 70% of games are below the mean of 4.7GB). Instead, I’ve used the median figure, which does a much better job of demonstrating the central tendency of skewed data.
Interestingly, only one of the top 10 Nintendo Switch of all time titles is smaller than the median size of 2.8GB. If the top 10 followed the same distribution as the rest of the data, we would expect to see around five games in the top ten coming in at under 2.8GB.
Does this mean that bigger games are always better? No, not really. I suspect that games with bigger file sizes are more likely to be big-budget titles developed by major studios that have the resources to really fine-tune games and market them aggressively.
That means more players, more reviewers, and more hype (the game still has to live up to that hype, of course).
Small-size switch games in the top 100
Bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to great Nintendo Switch games: More than 16% of the top 100 titles will take up less than 500MB of space each on your Switch.
That includes Undertale, Into the Breach (one of the best indie games on Switch, in my opinion), Sonic Mania Plus, and Enter the Gungeon.
Sweet relief for those of you who spend more time wondering which of your Switch games to archive or delete than actually playing them.
You can fit every single one of these tiny games onto your Switch and still have more than two-thirds of your internal storage space free (or almost 90% if you have the OLED model).
Check out my round-up of the best small size Switch games if you need help filling up the rest.
Smallest Switch game in the top 100
The smallest Nintendo Switch game in the top 100 is Downwell, which is packed into just 98MB.
In Downwell, your task is to fall down a well and find goodies on your way. I know I haven’t sold it very well there, so just trust in the myriad 10/10 reviews it has received instead.
With its black-and-white aesthetic, it could easily be mistaken for an ancient MS-DOS title were it not for the enormous variety offered by the procedurally generated levels and range of stackable upgrades.
Switch games in the top 100 that’ll eat up your storage
Nintendo made plenty of sacrifices to ensure the Switch could be everything that makes it so unique.
In exchange for portability and other fun functionality, the Nintendo Switch is low-powered and doesn’t contain much internal storage (32GB on the original models and 64GB on the OLED model).
On the 32GB Switch console, you’re left with around 25GB of usable free space once system data and other stuff are taken into account.
That means over 10% of the top 100 games for the Nintendo Switch will take up more than half of your available storage by themselves.
This includes the top-rated Nintendo Switch game of all time – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That game’s definitely worth half of your storage space, though. It’s the only Switch exclusive to win Game of the Year to date and it’s a must-play.
Biggest Switch game in the top 100
The game with the biggest install size in the current top 100 of all time is… Rocket League.
At 17.4GB, Rocket League just edges Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (17.3GB) but is smaller than ‘MMO-Lite’ Warframe (23.3GB).
It’s interesting that two of those games are live-service, free-to-play games. Fortnite and Apex Legends (18.4GB and 22.5GB respectively) are also chunky downloads compared to your average Switch install size.
What is the biggest Nintendo Switch game?
NBA 2K23 is the biggest Nintendo Switch game. It weighs in at a ridiculous 53.7GB – that’s more than 19 times bigger than the average Switch title currently in Metacritic’s all-time top 100.
I dread to think how big the file size would be for a Madden NFL Switch port.
Well, is it worth the install (after you’ve bought an additional SD card or a new OLED Switch and removed all other games from your device to make space)?
I mean, if you love basketball sims and you’re happy to fork out for a good quality SD card on top of the $60 ticket price for this Switch title, then yes.
Otherwise, no. These games are not really why the Switch has sold so well.
What is the smallest Nintendo Switch game?
The smallest Nintendo Switch game I could find is Wild West Crops which will swallow 39MB of your precious storage space. The next Nintendo console could do with some extra storage space, but this goes to show that fun can be had whatever your hardware limitations are.
I’d say this is a great little Metroidvania and, in terms of how much fun you get per gigabyte, it absolutely blows NBA 2K23 out of the water.
What makes Nintendo Switch games big?
Textures, character models, lighting, enhanced graphics, and simply the huge volume of content in modern games are some of the core reasons for the big file sizes.
One reason Nintendo Switch install sizes have not come close to the ridiculous level we often see with PlayStation or Xbox releases is that Switch games don’t have to render ultra-high resolution assets because the Switch doesn’t have the hardware power to support it.
Are physical Switch games better than digital downloads?
If you’re a collector or you want to permanently own your games outright, then sure, physical games are better.
In terms of actual performance, digitally downloaded Switch games can run ever so slightly faster than physical games. Otherwise, there is no difference between running games from the physical game card, the Switch’s internal storage, or an SD card.
A lot of the time (as is the case for many of these Switch adventure games without combat) you have no option but to go for a digital version of the game as there is no physical release.
How big are Switch game cards?
Switch game cards are approximately 1.2” x 0.8” x 0.1” (31mm x 21mm x 3mm).
The Nintendo Switch game file size for a physical release theoretically maxes out at 64GB, which is the storage capacity for those tiny game cards.
How big are Nintendo Switch games? (Summary)
The average Nintendo Switch game is around 2.8GB, according to data collected on the top 100 ranked Switch games of all time. The biggest Switch game is NBA 2K23 (53.7GB) and the smallest Switch game is Wild West Crops (39MB).