The Nintendo Switch’s paid online plan is set to launch later this month. The service touts a number of features, such as online multiplayer, access to retro games, and cloud storage. Sadly, that last feature will not be available on every game including some first-party titles. Users on the ResetEra forums discovered that the description for Splatoon 2, along with a number of other games including Pokémon Let’s Go and a handful of third-party titles, contained a warning that these titles would not support cloud saves.
Nintendo has offered an explanation for why certain games will not make use of online storage, but it is a disappointing one. In a statement released to Ars Technica, a Nintendo representative said that certain games were exempt from the cloud storage service in order to prevent players from cheating.
“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,” Nintendo representative told Ars Technica.
Splatoon 2 also received a more specific explanation. In short, Nintendo feared that some players might use the cloud saves to manipulate the online rankings in order to make it easier to climb the rankings or undo losses.
Regardless of Nintendo’s reasoning, this decision is likely to be a frustrating one for many Switch owners. The Switch only provides 32GB of internal memory, so cloud saves could offer a way to alleviate the issues caused by the Switch’s smaller hard drive. Of course, the Switch also features SD card support so storage space has a fairly easy fix.
What is less easy to fix is the issue of backing up your Switch. Nintendo’s online cloud storage program is currently the only way to back up your Switch’s data. If you need to replace your system for whatever reason, the cloud is your only way of ensuring that your system’s data and game progress is backed up. It is possible to transfer the data from one system to another, but that won’t help you if your Switch is stolen or too damaged to turn on. This means that gamers run the risk of permanently losing their progress on certain games in the event that their Switch is damaged or lost.