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A Switch Design Flaw Allows No Backups, and Nintendo Doesn't Care

If your console breaks, all the work you put into those games is gone for good.


Cloud saves are a beautiful thing. If your PC or console dies, your game progress doesn't die with it. Unless of course, you have a Nintendo Switch. then you're screwed.

The Switch is designed where everything is kept on the unit's internal hard drive. No progress or information can be saved externally, including to a microSD card. This has prompted fans to appeal to Nintendo for some sort of fix, given that all the hours spent on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can instantly be lost through a fluke impact with the ground or some other unforgiving surface.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said the company is aware of the issue. "I can’t say there’s a solution coming, but we do hear the message," he told Kotaku at E3, before changing the subject to something else.

Granted, Nintendo has designed the Switch to be incredibly durable, even handling damage from a 1,000-foot drop. But as the proverbial saying goes, "sh*t happens" and the archaic save system means catastrophic loss for gamers that invest tons of time in their Switch games. There had been early hope that cloud save would be a feature, but it has yet to materialize or even be talked about. And from Fil-Aime's response, it doesn't sound like Nintendo's upcoming online service will solve the issue either. When further pressed on the issue, Fils-Aime talked about priorities and how everything on the Switch needs to work together, as well as piracy and modding, which Nintendo hates. But he could offer nothing more than a "stay tuned" on file management.

Cloud saves have been around for almost a decade. The term cloud computing was coined in 2006, with rudimentary implementation beginning soon after. Both Microsoft and Sony have embraced it with their respective consoles, and PCs have the ability through services such as Steam. It seems borderline unconscionable and tone-deaf that Nintendo would not have some sort of plans to secure the saves of its fans.

Of course, if Nintendo has something in the works, and is playing this close to the vest, apologies will be in order, but given how companies like to trumpet great features they have coming, Fils-Aime's reluctance to give even a sliver of credence to the issue seems to indicate Nintendo is not prepared to deal with it in the near future.

It's a shame really, as the Switch is a great little unit with some amazing games coming. Cloud saves would make it even better

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 16, 2017 9:30 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, A Switch Design Flaw Allows No Backups, and Nintendo Doesn't Care

    • reply
      June 16, 2017 9:50 AM

      Nintendon't Care.

    • reply
      June 16, 2017 9:54 AM

      Japan don't care?

    • reply
      June 16, 2017 9:55 AM

      Typo, fourth sentence.

    • reply
      June 16, 2017 9:56 AM

      You don't 'trumpet' a solution to a problem that most people don't know/care about, certainly not while the fix is yet to be rolled out.

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      June 16, 2017 10:00 AM

      What is the design flaw? Usually design flaw implies it is a hardware problem and unfixable. This sounds like a software problem/feature that may or may not be implemented.

      • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
        June 16, 2017 2:32 PM

        Not a design flaw, just a missing OS feature. Reggie's response isn't very encouraging but I imagine they'll get around to it some day.

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        June 16, 2017 2:50 PM

        Seeing as it can go online, and it can transmit data, I'm sure it's possible for them to implement a feature where your savegames are transmitted to a server for backup. Unless, of course, Nintendo invented some fundamentally new way to implement online multiplayer games without exchanging any data. Now that would be a story.

      • reply
        June 16, 2017 3:02 PM

        Also "Cloud saves have been around for almost a decade."

        Looks like the 360 added them in 2011 and Steam added them in 2012 and I can't find evidence that anything had them earlier than that. That's five and six years, not almost a decade.

        I agree cloud saves would be great (or hell, just let me back them up to a Micro SD card) but it's not like this is a long standing feature.

        All I'm saying is Nintendo is giving us new Metroid games so I believe they'll give us anything we want now.

        • reply
          June 16, 2017 3:06 PM

          Six years is an eternity when it comes to computer technology.

        • reply
          June 16, 2017 9:13 PM

          I did not say consoles. I was going by when the term was first coined by MIT and the rudimentary work that started well before it was implemented by MS on the 360.

          • reply
            June 16, 2017 9:43 PM

            You're stretching the truth to make a point that's not even a valid criticism. You might as well have said "Nintendo fails to go back in time to implement cloud saving 4 years before the other consoles", which is unfortunate when the point actually stands well enough without all the gymnastics: "Despite the fact that cloud saves appeared on consoles 6 years ago, Nintendo has yet to commit to the technology for their latest console." Sticking to relevant facts and and putting forth valid criticisms not only removes questionable points, but also strengthens the article and provides a basis for constructive dialogue

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          June 17, 2017 12:34 AM

          Steam cloud was 2008. Close enough to a decade

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          June 17, 2017 12:58 AM

          Microsoft and Sony are on their 2nd generation of consoles with it while Nintendo appears to still not have it on their near term roadmap. It's like their voice chat situation. Sony used to charge for the feature, now it's table stakes. It'd say it's a pretty long standing feature even if not a decade.

    • reply
      June 17, 2017 1:18 AM

      fanbois dont care

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