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Nintendo Finally Launches Online Service for the Switch

The concept of using cloud storage to archive and backup your personal saved game files is nothing new. It's been happening in the PC gaming market for years, and even the home consoles are starting to catch on. Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation both offer the feature on their own platforms – but Nintendo Switch users haven't been so lucky. Despite it's highly mobile, on-the-go nature, the Switch hasn't introduced the functionality – until now.

A Much-Needed Feature

Nintendo Switch Owners won't have to wait any longer to upload their saved game data to the cloud – and it only took 18 months for developers to integrate the technology. Moreover, many fans are left wanting more out of the new, recently announced service.

Their online service launches in September 2018, but there is no way to backup your files until then. Most consoles, including the latest iterations of the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox as well as past versions of Nintendo consoles, all let users manually retrieve and archive their data. But this isn't an option with the Nintendo Switch.

Experiencing Limited Functionality

But there is a reason for the lack of functionality in the Nintendo Switch, and it boils down to the device's original device. Because all of the Switch's saved game files are tied into the system's internal memory, it doesn't allow for backup of any kind. This even prevents users from manually copying their files to a USB thumb drive or external hard drive for safekeeping.

All of this is made worse by the fact that the Nintendo Switch is a mobile console. It connects to a home television, like most consoles, but it's designed to be picked up and played nearly anywhere – in the car, at the park or on vacation. As such, users are more likely to lose or damage the device when compared to a traditional home console.

If that wasn't enough, Nintendo's proposed online service isn't all that attractive to users. At $20 a month, users only have access to online saves and an extremely limited selection of retro, NES games. While this extras might be appealing to some, they'll have little value once their novelty wears off – leaving gamers with no choice but to fork over $20 for a monthly subscription fee just to backup their games.

While it's still early to tell if Nintendo will add any more perks to their online service, they have a long way to go before they reach the likes of Sony's PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, both of which offer free games and exclusive add-ons in addition to online, cloud-based backups. Nintendo Switch owners have already taken to online message boards and social media to express their frustration.

A recent release from Nintendo commented on the additional features of the new services, stating: "Friends can even watch each other play single-player games online, and ‘pass the controller’ at any time. Every classic NES game will support voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app. It will also be possible to play these games offline."


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