The current generation of games has begun to blur the line between PC and console releases in several ways. While console games used to have the benefit of being "plug-in-and-play," PC games often required long installs before they'd be ready to go. With consoles now being continuously connected to the internet the same way a PC is, they've picked up quite a few habits that used to be exclusive to PC titles - long installs being one of them.
One of the first games that I can recall requiring an install on consoles was Metal Gear Solid 4, all the way back in 2008. Not only did it have a long install screen, it had one before each of the five chapters in the game!
Later games (including a later update for Metal Gear Solid 4 itself) would give us the option to install the entire game on the console's hard drive, which allowed us to avoid having multiple installs in a single game. By the time the end of the last generation rolled around, this had become an increasingly common feature to include.
A Bold New Era
With the current generation, our PS4s and XBox Ones will almost always have a mandatory install before we can start playing. It's no longer a feature, but an ingrained aspect of console gaming. This has resulted in more than few... well, how should we say this... complications when trying to start a new game.
A Return to Form
However, with Nintendo's new Switch, it appears that long installs will no longer be an issue! As soon as you pop the cartridge in the console, you're ready to start exploring Hyrule. No install times or day one patches!
The Switch has been revealed to have a startlingly small amount of storage space in comparison to its contemporaries - it only holds a paltry 32 GB - so this is a bit of good news. The cart holds the game in all of its glory, forcing none of the burden of storage on the console itself. '
It's been a while since console games have had the "plug-and-play" aspect going for them, so it'll be refreshing to have that feature return. It looks like the Switch is planning to differentiate itself from its competitors in more ways than one - you can always leave it to Nintendo to play its own game.