Update (8:54 p.m. CT): Nintendo responded to our request for comment, stating that the lack of cloud saves is because of item duplication possibilities.
“The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, 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. To ensure fair play, Save Data Cloud backup may not be enabled for such games. To ensure that Save Data Cloud backups cannot be used to unfairly affect online multiplayer rankings, the feature will not be enabled in Splatoon 2.”
The original story from 1:20 p.m. CT is as follows:
It seems likely that Nintendo was planning to detail their paid online plans, scheduled to go live this month, during their now-delayed Nintendo Direct. Much like the accidental misfire with Yoshi’s Crafting World, some things have gone live on the website ahead of announcement, including some small details on the cloud saving. While Nintendo had previously said that not all games would support it, we now know a few Switch games do not have cloud saves.
On the page for Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu, a message at the bottom indicates that cloud saves are a no-go for the two Nintendo-published games. The warning reads “Nintendo Switch Online membership (sold separately) and Nintendo Account required for online play. This game does not support Save Data Cloud backup. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features.” This warning is also on the page for Splatoon 2.
While Pokémon Let’s Go can be explained away as The Pokémon Company’s often overbearing paranoia and a desire to drive business to the cloud-based Pokémon Bank subscription service, the other included examples do not make much sense.
We reached out to Nintendo for comment but have not heard back by the time of writing.
I cannot imagine how pissed I would be to have my Switch stolen or lost and be told that only a few of my saves could be restored on a service I pay for. Pokémon requires a pretty massive time investment and you earn a lot of your rewards in Splatoon 2. The number of third party games that don’t support cloud saves on Switch but do on other systems is also really surprising. Why on Earth is this opt-in and not a system-level thing?