The Nintendo Switch is a great piece of hardware, but like anything else, it does have notable flaws. The thing about some of its flaws is that they can be corrected, and this one, in particular, is something that really should be addressed soon. I’m referring to the lack of cloud saving.
If you’re unfamiliar with cloud-saving, it’s a feature that allows users to seamlessly send their data to the ‘cloud’ (servers) so that the data can be retrieved at any time, even if it involves downloading the data to a totally new device. The PS4 and Xbox One use this to store players’ save data and other account information, but Nintendo has yet to adopt such a system. The negative result of that is immediately seen when something happens to a person’s Switch. IGN Host Brian Altano recently had to experience those negative results first-hand.
He tweeted out his frustration via Twitter where he included a picture of an email that was sent to him from Nintendo. Altano had to send in his Switch for repairs due to it no longer connecting to the Dock. Before sending it in, he spoke to a customer service representative and asked them if anything would happen to all his save data. The rep assured him that all would be fine, so he sent the system in. That’s when Nintendo sent an email back to him a few days later, spilling the bad news that all of his save data has actually been removed due to a serious error with his system which caused some of the data to become unreadable. Altano’s tweet has gotten over 7,800 retweets at the time of this writing:
I sent my Switch to @NintendoAmerica for repairs (it stopped connecting to the dock) hoping they'd do a system transfer to a new Switch for me.
Instead, they lost ALL of my save data for my dozens of Switch games (Zelda, Mario etc)
Nintendo, you NEED a cloud save system ??? pic.twitter.com/HmcMq29s7u
— Brian Altano (@agentbizzle) February 2, 2018
While this may not be a situation that every Switch owner will encounter, there will be those who unfortunately will have to do so. With the Switch having portable functionality, that increases the chances of a unit being damaged, stolen or lost. That’s why having a cloud-saving feature would be incredibly beneficial. Some might say “it’s really not a big deal”, but that’s because it hasn’t happened to them yet.
Back in 2015, my brother accidentally knocked over the external hard drive that I had connected to my Wii U. As a result, all of the data on the hard drive was lost due to the damage. Since the Wii U also lacked cloud-saving functionality, there was nothing I could do to get it back. So, I can relate to Altano’s situation.
All one can hope for is that Nintendo will add this functionality to the Switch in due time. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. This has become a very common feature in various devices; not just consoles, but also mobile devices and PCs. As a result, Nintendo should really consider getting up to speed with the rest of the digital age. Perhaps this might be a feature included in the upcoming subscription-based Switch Online service which will launch in September. Even if it’s locked behind the paywall, it would still be nice to at least have the feature instead of not having it at all.
Interestingly enough, at the recent financial briefing held a few days ago, someone said this out loud to the Nintendo executives during the Q&A session before asking their actual question:
At the Nintendo briefing, one participant, before stating his question, requested executives "please make cloud save function available for the Switch."
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) February 1, 2018
It’s unclear if a response was given to that statement by anyone from Nintendo, but let’s hope it at least got the message across.