Switch Online finally launched last week after being delayed by a year. One of the new features that the service has added to the system is cloud save backups (for almost every game). Its arrival was met with a whole lot of doubt after Nintendo UK’s Switch Online FAQ seemed to indicate that the cloud saves would be deleted from the company’s servers as soon as a person’s Switch Online membership ended. The Nintendo of America FAQ had different wording, but it was still quite vague, stating that Nintendo could not guarantee that the data would be retained after an “extended period of time”. Now, a more direct answer has finally been given.
The company has now clarified what happens after someone’s Switch Online membership ends and is not renewed. IGN was able to get a statement from Nintendo, saying that lapsed Switch Online users have up to six months to renew their subscription in order to regain access to their previously uploaded save data:
“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.”
This grace period is the same amount of time that Sony offers to PS4 owners who’s PlayStation Plus membership is not renewed. Six months is a pretty generous amount of time, but if something happens to your Switch, you’ll need to buy a new system before the grace period passes. Otherwise, your save data will be lost into the digital ether. At least on PS4 you have the ability to make local backups (completely for free, at that). Nintendo has yet to add such functionality to the Switch.