Oh boy, now that Nintendo has outlined their Cloud Save strategy for the Nintendo Switch, it seems they’ve angered quite a few owners of the platform. Myself included.  When they first announced their Nintendo Online service, they finally announced what we’ve wanted for a while – cloud saves. Of course, at the time Nintendo wasn’t ready to provide many details. Ok, that’s fine. We’ll wait until you come up with a game plan and hopefully it would be on par with what Sony and Microsoft offered. Only except after the details were finally announced, it was a bit lacking.

With Nintendo’s Online service coming online next week on Sept. 18, 2018, there are two glaring flaws that bother me.

Cloud saves won’t be enabled for all games

I’m sorry, could you say that again? Certain games such as Splatoon 2 won’t have any cloud storage options. Why would you offer a cloud solution if you plan on omitting certain games from it? Sure, I’ve heard the debates of Nintendo wanting to do this to stop potential cheating. However, I feel that this is absurd. You’d punish honest people that could end up losing their Switch and their progress, just because you don’t have a better solution for stopping potential cheaters? Ok, then how far does this extend? Would this also affect Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as well? Because if so, I don’t think this solution is going to go over very well.

It also bothers me that while Nintendo released a video explaining all the features of Nintendo Switch Online. They didn’t think to include some very important details. Sure, if your system breaks, your games saves will be available – if they support cloud saves for those games. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

As of right now, we still don’t have an official list of games that Nintendo Will offer cloud saves for. With the service being rolled out next week, you’d think this information would be something we should know by now.

  • NBA 2K19
  • Splatoon 2 (including Starter Pack)
  • FIFA 19
  • Dead Cells
  • Dark Souls Remastered

To add more frustration to this, your game progression isn’t tied to your online account. So if there’s no online storage and your system bites the dust, well, it won’t be pretty.

Saves may be deleted if your membership lapses

Nintendo has gone on record stating they won’t be able to guarantee that your cloud saves will be available if your membership lapses. Now, let’s be real. Sometimes stuff happens and you need to pay a bill or buy food over playing a game. At least I hope you can make the right choice there. However, it seems like Nintendo doesn’t care about that. So if you should happen to forget to pay for your membership, there’s a chance your cloud saves could be deleted. Now, let’s put that into perspective.

While Sony does require you to subscribe to their PlayStation Plus membership for cloud saves, you retain them up to six months if you unsub. Once you renew your membership, you gain access to those saves as long as it’s within the six months. They also let you download your saves to an external hard drive or USB flash. While Microsoft doesn’t require any sort of subscription at all. You just need an Xbox account and you get access to cloud storage. Your saves stay in the cloud until you delete them yourself. 

In comparison, Nintendo’s solution seems very archaic. Thankfully, it seems that Nintendo has been listening to the complaints regarding this and has stated that this may change in the future.

“While we have nothing additional to announce on this topic, please be assured that we listen carefully to the feedback from our customers,” the company writes on a support page. “We are constantly working on ways to further enhance the experience of using the system

News flash Nintendo, this is the future. With both Sony and Microsoft already having viable solutions for cloud storage, there’s no way you can say you didn’t see this coming.

Online checks required

This one isn’t as bad as the other two points I’ve talked about. In fact, I really don’t see this as an issue, however, it’s worth pointing out. With the retro games being provided with the service, Nintendo has implemented online checks. They’ll check in every week with your Switch, which is a requirement to play the provided Nintendo Entertainment games offline. If you encounter issues with your internet or anything that stops your switch from talking with Nintendo’s authentication services, they’re unplayable. Again, this is standard stuff and I don’t see any issue with this.

Outside of these three issues, the service is pretty solid. Online gaming capability, voice chat (with the need for a smartphone) and they offer some retro games with the service. It’s also surprisingly cheap, $20 a year for a single user or $35 a year for the family plan. However, those two points are really important for the service to be impactful in my eyes and I hope Nintendo really is listening to the feedback of its fans an owners of the Switch. Especially since the future of the service hinges on that. 

As for me, I’ll sit this one out until Nintendo makes some sorely needed changes.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Available for podcasts upon request.