In brief: Nintendo has confirmed that the cloud backups feature coming with Switch Online will not be supported by all games. It appears that multiplayer games will primarily be affected. The company says that cloud saving will not be allowed in some multiplayer titles to prevent the service from being exploited by cheaters.
“This game does not support Save Data Cloud backup,” says the small-print footnote at the bottom of the screen.
Cloud backups are a planned feature for Nintendo’s upcoming subscription service, Switch Online. It will allow users to back up their save data on servers to prevent loss and presumably to be able to use the saves on a different Switch.
Nintendo confirmed to Kotaku via email that Splatoon 2 and other titles will not support cloud saves. It says this is a measure to prevent cheating.
“To ensure that Save Data Cloud backups cannot be used to unfairly affect online multiplayer rankings, the feature will not be enabled in Splatoon 2,” said a spokesperson. “The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, in certain games, this feature would make it possible to, for example, regain items that had been traded to other players, or revert to a higher online multiplayer ranking that had been lost. To ensure fair play, Save Data Cloud backup may not be enabled for such games.”
Presumably, this rule will apply to any number of games that have multiplayer elements, but Nintendo was not forthcoming with a full list. However, ResetEra users found the disclaimer on several other games including:
- Pokémon Let’s Go
- NBA 2K19
- FIFA 19
- Dead Cells
- Dark Souls: Remastered
Users should be aware of this when purchasing new multiplayer titles. If not being able to backup your 200-hour save of Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a deal-breaker, you might have a problem.
Moreover, Nintendo might be the one with the problem if it cannot come up with a satisfactory solution. As it stands, one of the biggest complaints about the Switch is the inability to backup saves in any way — not even to an SD card.
It is too early to tell whether Nintendo’s decision to disallow certain games from cloud saving will hinder signups to the service, but certainly those who were looking forward to the peace of mind that their FIFA 19 careers were going to be safe and secure are going to be disappointed.
Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions are set to start later this month. The service will go for $4 per month, $8 for three months, or $20 per year, which isn’t bad for all it offers. There is also a “family account” that will allow up to eight family members to use the same subscription for $35 per year.