Why it matters: If you are considering signing up for Nintendo's Switch Online service, you might want to consider some of the fine print before clicking that agree button. The company's recently post FAQ page for the service lists a couple of conditions that might be deal-breaking for some users.
Nintendo is all set to roll out its Switch Online service next Tuesday, September 18. We have already told you in previous reports what comes with the subscription — namely access to NES games, cloud saves, online play, and special offers. While it might not seem as impressive as other console subscription services, for as low as $1.70 per month (for a one-year subscription), it’s not a bad deal.
However, there are a couple of caveats that have been revealed since Nintendo posted its FAQ regarding the service yesterday. You might want to keep these things in mind when you are considering whether a subscription is for you or not.
First of all, you should know that if you let your subscription lapse, all your cloud saves will be deleted. There is no grace period. By way of comparison, with Sony’s service for the PlayStation Network, you have six months to resubscribe before your data is deleted. Xbox doesn’t require a subscription for cloud saving, so the point is moot for Microsoft.
"Save data stored with Save Data Cloud cannot be kept outside of the duration of your Nintendo Switch Online membership."
Lapsed subscriptions might not be a concern for most people since these types of services tend to have long-time customers who only quit when they are sure they are not going to use it anymore. However, this might be troublesome in some situations, like if your credit card expires and you forget to update it in your Nintendo account.
The second proviso is that to use Switch Online uninterrupted, you have to have an active connection to the internet at least once per week.
“Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online can be played for up to seven days without an internet connection,” says the FAQ.
If your Switch has not connected with Nintendo servers for more than a week, you will lose access not only to your cloud saves but also to the NES games you may have been playing.
Again, for most this will not be a problem. My Switch connects pretty much on a daily basis. The longest it’s been out of use is about three days. However, some people might use their Switch mostly offline, like during the commute, or other places without internet access. Interruptions will also occur if you go on extended vacation.
Just be aware that if you suddenly lose access to those NES games, it might be because you need to sign in again. Don’t worry about your cloud data. It will still be there as long as your subscription is current.
These issues might not be deal-breakers for most people, but it is important to be aware of these stipulations before signing up.