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Nintendo will erase all your cloud save data if you cancel your online subscription

Here’s something Nintendo didn’t tell you about the Switch Online service.

Nintendo switch online excluded cloud save games
Image: Nintendo Enthusiast (edits: KnowTechie)

We now know what will happen to your game data stored in the cloud after you cancel a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. It goes away, just like the rest of your membership. Nintendo didn’t mention this detail at yesterday’s Nintendo Direct presentation. Instead, it was uncovered inside FAQs and customer support pages, according to Ars Technica.

As Nintendo explains, game data is only available “as long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.” If you cancel the subscription, Nintendo is “unable to guarantee that cloud save data will be retained after an extended period of time from when your membership is ended.”

Some slightly good news

The company also clarified that you will be able to transfer cloud-based saves between Switch systems by signing in with your Nintendo account. However, Nintendo also said it will continue not allowing local backups of save data to an SD card or other outside storage.

It explains:

“While we have nothing additional to announce on this topic [of local save backups], please be assured that we listen carefully to the feedback from our customers. We are constantly working on ways to further enhance the experience of using the system.”

Other details discovered about the service, which launches Sept. 18:

  • The library of downloadable NES classics available to Switch Online subscribers will be playable offline “for up to 7 days as long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.” Better hope there’s Wi-Fi access if you’re going away for a long vacation.
  • Downloaded NES games and local save data for them will remain on your console until you delete them “but cannot be accessed without an active Nintendo Switch Online membership.”
  • A $35/year Switch Online Family Account can be shared between up to eight different Nintendo accounts, regardless of the locations of those accounts or whether they are sharing the same Switch console.
  • While some Switch games will not require a Switch Online subscription to play online, a list of those games won’t be available until the service launches on Sept. 18. Nintendo did, however, specifically point out that Fortnite will not require a Switch Online subscription.
  • Nintendo Switch Online will initially be available in the following countries:
    • Americas: US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru
    • Europe/Africa: Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa
    • Asia/Oceania: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand

Honestly, this news is pretty lame, but we can totally understand where Nintendo is coming from. Cloud saves is a Nintendo Switch Online feature, so it only makes sense if you stop paying for it, that feature goes away. At the end of the day, paying $20 a year for cloud saves doesn’t seem like a huge issue, however, we can see how this could have a negative effect on some users.

Are you planning on subscribing to Nintendo Switch Online? Do you think cloud saves are worth it for $20 a year? Let us know below.

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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