Cloud saves not enabled on all games to ensure fair play. Really, Nintendo?

Anyone that has followed Nintendo over the years knows that the Japanese gaming giant likes to do things a little differently. Many times, this unique take on the gaming world brings about some awesome and occasionally even industry-shifting software and hardware changes. Other times, it means Nintendo feels a little childish, slow and just way behind the times. Unfortunately, their venture into providing an online service on the Switch seems to be falling closer to the latter.

Not only have Sony and Microsoft had a pretty reliable online model for years, but the service functions in a general ‘as-you’d-expect-it-to-work’ manner. On the other hand, we’re still waiting for Switch Online to get going, and the latest news that broke over the weekend regarding Nintendo’s take on cloud saves is a little worrying. Paul Tassi, writing for Forbes, explains the frustrations that many of us have rather well and if you have the time please read his article, however, in brief news broke that several games including Dead Cells, Dark Souls, FIFA 19, NBA 2K19 and even Nintendo’s own Splatoon 2 and the yet to to be released Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee will not have cloud saves enabled. When asked why Nintendo provided this response:

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.

Although fair play is obviously an important aspect of gaming we’d like to have Nintendo keeping their eye on, disabling cloud saves for security reasons seems like an inefficient way of tackling the problem. As brought out clearly in Tassi’s article, the portable nature of the Switch means losing it or having it stolen are much more likely occurrences for the console (when to compared to the stay-at-home versions from Sony and Microsoft) and having tens or even hundreds of hours (we’re looking at you Pokémon and Souls) gone with no way to get it back is a not only heart-breaking, but in this day and age a little incomprehensible. Tassi also makes a very pointed argument that Nintendo using Splatoon 2 (a game that has been dogged by issues of local save manipulation recently) as the poster child for why disabling cloud saves should be a thing, is a little baffling.

So what do you think – does the whole ‘fair-play’ argument make sense to you? And if so, do you think disabling cloud-saves is the best way to tackle it? Let us know in the comments section below.

Nintendo Nerd, sharing my love of Mario with the world one pixel at a time.

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