Nintendo Switch players are seeing their playtime erased after a year

Nintendo Switch review
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends
Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

If you go to your Nintendo Switch player profile page, you’ll see a list of all the games you’ve played on the system, as well as a total playtime for each of your games. This number can be a source of pride when you’ve put more than 300 hours into a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but players are beginning to see this number erased from their profile.

A user on the gaming forum ResetEra found that after the Nintendo Switch hit its one-year anniversary in Australia, their playtime data was reset on their system. Instead of showing their correct time, it listed the game as only being first played that same day. Nintendo Force editor Lucas Thomas noticed something similar, with his data resetting on February 20 — one year after he first played the game.

Should this be an intentional decision by Nintendo, it seems downright ludicrous to let it take place without warning players beforehand.

It’s possible that the issue is related to the Switch only looking for a day and month, rather than a year — similar to the Y2K bank computing problem people were warned about at the turn of the century. Should this be the case, players will likely see their play data return to normal after 10 days.

Of course, it could be a deliberate move by Nintendo to make players forget about their arbitrary playtime number so they’ll enjoy games for the sake of playing them. Just in case, you might want to write down your current playtimes so you’ll still have them on record after they are reset.

The good news is that this issue doesn’t appear to cause any problems with the actual save data in any games, so you’re still free to go back into Hyrule and find every secret without restarting. Though the Switch still doesn’t support cloud saving — an outlier in 2018 — Nintendo recently added the option to transfer user and save data to another console. This means that, provided that your current system isn’t completely dead, you should be able to keep your data if the screen cracks or you run into another technical problem.

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