Ever since the Switch launched, it had a prominent failing: its complete lack of support for any kind of save game backup service. Not only was this a significant step backwards from Nintendo’s other living room consoles, it makes no sense for a device explicitly marketed towards young people that encourages them to play on-the-go. Devices that get chucked into backpacks and tossed in the car take more damage than those that don’t, from simple wear-and-tear. Nobody wants to lose 80 hours that they’ve sunk into Breath of the Wild.
Nintendo’s solution to this? Nintendo Switch Online, a subscription service they sell you to provide additional benefits along with the backup solution that should’ve shipped with the system in the first place. Details on how the cloud saved would integrate into the system have been sketchy, but over at Resetera, user atmuh noticed the fine print on the Splatoon Starter Pack currently for sale on Nintendo’s own site. It states, “Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. This game does not support Save Data Cloud backup.”
Other games have since been confirmed to also not support Save Data Cloud backup, including:
Pokémon Let’s Go (Pikachu and Eevee)
Dark Souls Remastered
Admittedly, the lack of game backups is the kind of problem most people don’t think about until they have a damaged console to deal with, but this is just absurd. The ability to backup saved games was present on PCs from the beginning, thanks to manual file copies, but the original PlayStation had a mechanism through which players could copy save game files from one card to another. Nintendo’s decision to require a subscription service in order to save games is incredibly consumer-hostile. The fact that the service you pay for can’t even back up every game in the library is icing on the rhetorical cake.
For me, an issue like this would make the Switch a non-starter, even if I were considering buying one. I got my start in PC gaming and my heart rate still speeds up when I/O accesses take an unusually long time. That delay, followed by a repetitive grind/whirr, meant you were probably going to be (re)playing a lot more of the game than you intended to when you sat down. Losing a hard drive unexpectedly a few years back reinforced the lesson.
Not having much time to game doesn’t mean you don’t love gaming. It means you have to be very conscious of how you spend your time. Nintendo doesn’t care enough about your time to provide a saved game solution that actually functions reliably and keeps your game data backed up even when you’re paying them for it. Clearly, it’s a minor point to millions of people who have kept the Switch at the top of the sales charts. But it shouldn’t be. There is no excuse nor reason for an incredibly successful game company not providing its customers with a robust backup service whether they pay for an online service package or not. But there’s truly no excuse for providing such a service for money and then failing to make it robust.
Now Read: Every Nintendo Switch Can Be Hacked, Hackers Needed Just 2 Weeks to Add Saved Games to Switch, and Retro Gaming Site EmuParadise Forced Offline
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