Nintendo Switch
Nintendo says that cloud saves will stay put for up to 180 days after the user's Switch Online service subscription expires. REUTERS/Tom Jacobs

One of the new features included in a subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service is Cloud Save. It was initially believed that Cloud Saves would be lost forever if a user fails to renew their subscription. Now, Nintendo has clarified its policies on how Cloud Saves really work.

“If a Nintendo Switch Online membership expires, users won’t be able to access their Save Data Cloud backups. However, Nintendo will allow users who resubscribe within 180 days to access their previous Save Data Cloud backups,” a Nintendo spokesperson told IGN.

It was previously believed that Save Data Cloud backups would be erased by Nintendo once a user's subscription expires. A Nintendo U.K. FAQ page mentioned that “Save data stored with Save Data Cloud cannot be kept outside of the duration of your Nintendo Switch Online membership.” This suggested that Save Data Cloud backups would be erased immediately.

Now that Nintendo has clarified that there is indeed a time limit on how long players will have to resubscribe, their Cloud Saves will still be inaccessible if their subscription has expired. This means that their Cloud Saves will remain in Nintendo’s servers for 180 days (6 months), which should be more than enough time to resubscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service.

Nintendo’s policy on how it manages Cloud Saves is now similar to Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service. Sony keeps users’ saved data in the cloud for six months after their subscriptions have expired, according to Kotaku. For the Xbox One, cloud saves are available to everyone, including those who don’t have an Xbox Gold Live subscription.

Although this is very good news to a lot of Nintendo Switch players, Cloud Saves on the hybrid console still have some issues. Cloud Saves are not available for all Nintendo Switch games, like “Splatoon 2” and the upcoming “Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu.” Nintendo explained that this decision was made to avoid any form of cheating. Other third-party titles that don’t support Cloud Saves include “NBA 2K19,” “FIFA 19” and “Dark Souls Remastered,” according to Polygon.

“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,” Nintendo said earlier this month.