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Nintendo Entertainment

Your Save Data Is Not Safe On the Nintendo Switch (arstechnica.com) 161

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In a post-launch update to our initial Nintendo Switch review, we noted that there is no way to externally back up game save data stored on the system. A recent horror story from a fellow writer who lost dozens of hours of game progress thanks to a broken system highlights just how troublesome this missing feature can be. Over at GamesRadar, Anthony John Agnello recounts his experience with Nintendo support after his Switch turned into a useless brick for no discernible reason last week (full disclosure: I know Agnello personally and have served with him on some convention panels). After sending his (under warranty) system to Nintendo for repair, Agnello received a fixed system and the following distressing message from the company two days later: "We have inspected the Nintendo Switch system that was sent to us for repair and found that the issue has made some of the information on this system unreadable. As a result, the save data, settings, and links with any Nintendo Accounts on your system were unable to be preserved." Agnello says he lost 55 hours of progress on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as more progress on a few other downloadable games. While he was able to redownload the games that were deleted, he'd have to start from scratch on each one (if only all that progress was easily, instantly unlockable in some way...)
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Your Save Data Is Not Safe On the Nintendo Switch

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  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @08:53PM (#54147721) Homepage

    that Oh the Horror!!!!! these days is losing some hours of game play. Back in the day when we use to walk in the snow for hours (Yes we did) to rent Sega and Nintendo games and welcomed things crashing and deleting data so that we can stay up all night building up Nintendo thumbs.

    • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @09:10PM (#54147803)

      I'm 71 tears old.

      I remember we had to walk uphill everywhere we went until that guy, what's his name, proved the downhill theory.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "these days is losing some hours of game play"

      Panem et circenses. Gotta satiate the proles, with amusement or Soma (and that's being worked at the state level).
      • Yeah, you're right, there's no gamesave on the Switch because of a vast conspiracy to keep the public playing video games and not paying attention to the takeover by the New World Order.

        Will you please shut the fuck up now and take your idiocy elsewhere?

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        Panem et circenses. Gotta satiate the proles, with amusement or Soma (and that's being worked at the state level).

        Oooh someone's had the red pill.

        • Actually I had too many shrooms last weekend. First time I really tripped since 1995. All I can say its hard to deal with it when you're 43 and have a wife saying WTF is wrong with you every 5 minutes. Next time I'm sticking to my regular 1 shroom chocolate instead of 2.5 lol.

    • Re:This is awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by n3r0.m4dski11z ( 447312 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @11:18PM (#54148293) Homepage Journal

      "[we] welcomed things crashing and deleting data so that we can stay up all night building up Nintendo thumbs."

      uhh more like we left our consoles powered on for weeks until mom plugged in the vacuum one day and "I just needed the outlet for a sec dear! it can't be that bad!"

      • by Blig ( 1167531 )
        In some ways this reminds me of gaming online on several BBS way back when your mom decided she needed to make a phone call on the line your modem was connected to just when you had discovered the player in first place and was ready to take them down.
      • man the memories.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @08:54PM (#54147729)

    Having backup is _the_ core approach to keeping data safe. I really do not understand why "designers" keep messing this up. Maybe these are people that never had a disk crash or are having all their own things in the cloud, but even then this is a very basic and very stupid mistake to make. It is also something any good IT systems engineering or IT security consultant would have asked after and pointed out, so I guess they thought they do not need any outside review in order to not miss things. That universally fails, because one thing any good engineer knows is that while you are in the heat of the design process, you miss things that outsiders will see.

    The bottom line is that the people that designed this are mediocre and it is very likely that using good people instead would have hat huge economic benefits.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Having backup is _the_ core approach to keeping data safe.

      No, it's not core. Core would be to prevent data from becoming unavailable. Backups are one or more layers up from that, depending on application.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        You are confusing BCM and DR management. Backups are DR and are all about keeping data safe. BCM is about retaining or recovering an operational system fast, possibly with limited data.

  • it's an obsolete tablet with the worst online experience of all the consoles and now you can't even save your games. and i hear the digital game purchases are tied to physical consoles. my xbox one i can delete a game, install it again and my saves will be there

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      To begin with one reason;
      They can make any progress in Zelda to save on their console to begin with ...

      * It's also portable.
      * If may offer more opportunity of local multiplayer gaming.
      * Nintendo titles.

      If I had one we could make a test .. I go out and try to find someone to play games with and you take your Xbox One and do the same thing and we see who would have had the best success?

      • * It's also portable.

        The Switch is basically doing what the Vita + PS TV combo already did in 2013/2014. It isn't innovative at all, just copying Sony like Nintendo did with Motion controls. Remember, the Playstation Eyetoy predates the Wii by 3 years.

  • by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @08:57PM (#54147745)
    Having been on the fence about whether or not to get a Switch, this is the news that settles my decision on "hell no". The inability to back up saved games would have been somewhat tolerable if the storage medium were reliable, but clearly it is not. There's no way I'm going to risk having all my progress thrown to the four winds.

    Here's what I really don't understand: saved games are small, and Nintendo presumably has capable servers because it offers downloadable games. Steam has shown us that it's perfectly reasonable to ask that the service you download your games from also back up your saves, because it's a huge benefit to the gamers at a miniscule cost to the company. Does Nintendo really not give a damn about their customers?
    • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @09:03PM (#54147775) Journal
      Nintendo doesnt get 'infrastructure'. They dont understand that they NEED a living network to tie their products together. Nintendo doesnt like Information Age stuff, it wants to make toys, nothing more.
      • I've always imagined Nintendo's executives being something like this:

        "Why do the Amerikaijin keep asking about features in regards to this In-ter-net. Baka gaijin, they are suppose to play our video games on the train and manga/gaming cafes with the other Otaku." Nintendo seems to be still have some of that "Great and Glorious Nippon is the center of the video gaming universe, who cares about the gaijin" attitude that has been around since the NES!

        Nintendo certainly isn't like Microsoft who understood how

      • Nintendo understands that they don't get 'infrastructure' which is why they handled mobile conglomerate DeNA to build all that for them. So I guess DeNA too doesn't get 'infrastructure', or maybe this has something to do with Japanese expectations and preferences for such?

    • I have never seen a Nintendo and I don't nintendo own one now that I've heard of this shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are you serious? One single guy out of 2 million consoles sold has had a problem, and you call it an "unreliable storage medium"? What kind of inane thought process would lead you to make a utterly stupid statement like that? Sounds like you're just trying incredibly hard to find problems, which makes me doubt you were ever really "on the fence" at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maugle ( 1369813 )
        First, it's one guy with a soapbox to stand on. Of the other 2 million consoles, we don't know how many others have failed.
        Second, the Switch has only been out for a single week and already we're seeing reports like this. Now we get to play the game of "will the failure rates follow a bathtub curve, stay constant with time, or increase with time?"

        Finally, I was genuinely excited about the Switch at first. But then I heard the reports about low FPS when connected to a TV, and the joy-con connectivity i
        • and also releasing a newer model Switch

          This is Nintendo we're talking about. Of course there will be new models. Switch XL or whatever will be announced in a few months, fixing most of the flaws with the original, while introducing a few more and - naturally - fixing any security exploits those evil pirates have discovered.

          These days buying the first model of a console seems like a bad investment, or rather, an early-adopter cost.

        • I've been saying this all along; Nintendo should just drop making consoles, and ONLY focus on games and peripherals for the Apple TV! Oh hell, they could re-package the Apple TV as the same unit, but in a Nintendo retail box with credit for games. It's perfect. Same product, sold to two different markets, that can cross over at any time in a heartbeat via the Apple remote.

          Bonus:

          -Games get backed up to the Apple Cloud.
          -Hardware is cheaper in volume.
          -tvOS (iOS) is constantly maintained.
          -Ability to use the App

          • There is one:

            App save data is deleted when you delete the app!

            There are ways around this, like extracting an app's saved data from your backup or if you are lucky the app's creators let you export via iTunes File Sharing/etc. But right now, if you want to easily keep your saves, you have to keep the app installed.

            That being said, I would have loved to see Switch handles for iPad and more games from Nintendo on that platform.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      They have already said they may do cloud saves with it.

      But if you want to be screwed the least then I guess open-source games should be your thing ..

      Or the stuff where you run your own stuff anyway.

      Or at-least DRM-free stuff you your own copy without online verification.

      Or at-least on PC.

      As for cloud-saves I used to think I had a massive inbox, now it's around half full..

    • It's 50% anti-consumer BS and 50% incompetence. The 3DS and its spawn were exploited many times via save game glitches and it seems this is what Nintendo's afraid of.

      Couple this with Nintendo's terrible understanding of hardware outside of the base console and what you get is local-only save games, no way of backing them up to SD cards, and no cloud sync support.

    • They don't even have to do that.

      The Switch has an SD slot.

      They could simply allow you to copy save games to an SD card. This is TRIVIAL STUFF. I'm surprised Nintendo hasn't figured it out.

    • The reason they elected to not include the basic functionality to backup your own saved game files is because it's a huge security risk. A very common exploit to root a console is to use a modified saved game file to inject your own code. Nintendo probably weighed the pro and cons and decided the risk was too high. I'm sure they'll implement cloud storage if the backlash is great enough since it's not exactly cheap to do.

    • Weird, I was planning on getting it entirely based on whether or not the games were fun.
  • I know that _I_ have been quite impressed that the Wii U and PS3 games still have to have a little interstitial screen to say "When you see this animation, for dog's sake do not power down your system!", just like the NES had. So this doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

    • You're surprised it's in consoles? hell, it's in PC ports of console games, as if unexpectedly powering off one's pc was something people usually did
  • I guarantee you that it bricked because of a brownout or other such power fluctuation that caused the console to reboot while it was patching. This also happened to Wii-U users.

    • I guarantee you that it bricked because of a neutrino from the interior of the Sun that God had sent to take out Trump and the goddam thing missed and shit.

  • ...with any company.

    Either they're in the data business and their aim is to exploit your data for money - that's almost all companies that happen to have any software in their product line these days - or they're incompetent to safeguard data even if they're not crooked, or both. Most likely both.

  • potAto poTAHto toMATo toMAHto
  • by Anonymous Coward

    WAAHHH WAHHH I hate nintendo sooo much mommy WAHHH I'm gonna make a scene about every fart they let out WAHHHH

    That's what most of this comment section is gonna be.

  • ... that gamergate shit?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, it's anti piracy shit.

      Nearly every Nintendo product since the GameCube has been hackable by restoring a "backup" of a saved game containing data that would trigger arbitrary code execution exploits.

      If they don't provide a method of getting saved game data onto or off of the device they're eliminating the method used against them most often, while only "inconveniencing" an OtherOS using size share of customers.

    • by Blig ( 1167531 )
      Only if someone accuses a Nintendo Switch of making sexual threats and harassments towards them. Or is it when someone sexually harasses a Nintendo Switch? I forget.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      I see no fat guys angry at women in this story. You should be OK.
  • The struggle is real.

  • A recent horror story from a fellow writer who lost dozens of hours of game progress thanks to a broken system

    I remember a time where saving functions did not exist at all. It was still fun to play video games.

    No save, but some games gave you codes to skip first levels when you completed them, though.

    • Re:No save (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @10:50PM (#54148215)

      I remember a time where saving functions did not exist at all. It was still fun to play video games.

      And in most of those games, the progression came from playing the same difficult levels over and over until you could beat it; most of those classic games without save functionality can be beaten in under an hour or two if you know what you're doing.

      That's not quite the same as a modern game that has 100 hours of progression and gradual access to new content.

      • most of those classic games without save functionality can be beaten in under an hour or two if you know what you're doing.

        Contra for the NES takes something like 15 minutes. MegaMan was quick once you memorized the levels and knew which order to collect the weapons. Ninja Gaiden didn't take long once you memorized the patterns for those damn eagles. Revenge of Shinobi was also pretty fast to beat, maybe 45 minutes.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This only proves how cobbled together the switch is. Who games that doesn't want some sort of reasonable ability to save games and back them up? Does anyone at Nintendo play games anymore? Wasn't planning on buying a Switch and it wouldn't surprise me if it becomes a nightmare for Nintendo.

    • I'm pretty sure you're allowed to back up your stuff to your own external drives, just like with the Wii-U. Original story submitter either doesn't know this, or is simply complaining that Nintendo doesn't provide on-by-default online cloud services that do it automatically over the internet for you, like say with Valve's Steam client.

      (It should be noted though that even with this supposedly "life-saving" service in place, save games get lost or permanently corrupted all the time, due to poor 3rd party dat

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "I'm pretty sure you're allowed to back up your stuff to your own external drives, just like with the Wii-U. "

        Uh, perhaps you don't know how to use google so you probably don't know the pages and pages of stories/anouncements of people are complaining that you can't back up your saves period on the Switch. You can't even transfer a save from one Switch to another since the saves are tied to the machine.

        I think I'll wait a while longer to get a switch. See if Nintendo fixes that, although I won't hold my bre

        • I guess you're right, I had not. That's a bummer. Hopefully at least they'll add cloud synchronization as a feature of their subscription network service, if nothing else.

      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

        I'm pretty sure you're allowed to back up your stuff to your own external drives, just like with the Wii-U.

        I don't have a Switch, and don't intend to have one, but so far you're the only one who seems to think this. You're almost certainly wrong.

  • Seems safe to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 )

    Nobody got unauthorized access to his data, so it's perfectly safe. As for data loss, if you are prohibited from transferring your data, then going in you should assume you could lose all your data. This applies to all devices, not just consoles.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      Nobody got unauthorized access to his data, so it's perfectly safe.

      Heaven forfend that the general public would get to snoop on your uber-secret Zelda progress.

  • so what's this John complaining about with his few hours of gameplay?
  • Why aren't saves stored on the cartridge like any other cartridge system? I can understand why it would be stored on the system for digital versions but not physical... How are you supposed access your save when you put the cartridge in another system?

  • It's just a game (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tezbobobo ( 879983 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @10:48PM (#54148205) Homepage Journal

    So this is definitely inconvenient. Now, that's out of the way lets put this in perspective. You're not losing your PhD project, or mission critical data. Your losing some save data if, just if, there is a problem with that part of the system. This shouldn't be a deal breaker unless there are reports of this becoming a widespread problem. But again, the real problem there is that they sold you a faulty product, and not that you lost some game progress.

    • The real problem here is the idea that save files are copyrighted to the developers, so you don't actually own your saves. Thus, you have no right to backup your data.

      Also, take a look at this: Nintendo EULA Forced Update [youtube.com]. If your console knows an system update is available, it will lock you out of the system until you perform the update (which is different than other consoles that will simply lock you out of new content until you update). Given how many people in the comments don't think it's a big deal

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is that still critical or did they fix it?

  • Taking game software alone, you have lots of space, yet most save mechanisms arbitrarily restrict the number of saves? And wider scope, We've all lost copious amounts of web form data. Microsoft has a memory limitation called a desktop heap that the recommended and default size on modern machines is absurdly small and results in data loss. For that matter, Windows Updaye is oblivious to what is happening on the machine and has no regard for data preservation.
  • I am just waiting for this second turd of a console to explode and then hopefully I can play their first party game ports on my Xbone or PS4. They lost me as a console customer when they made the WiiU and the Switch just doubles down on a series of terrible ideas.

  • In my experience, console gaming only gets convinient when I have an emulator for it. Then I can backup whatever the hell I want on my own terms and responsibility. Its only gets worse with modern walled-garden consoles, where developers go out of ther way to make everything incompatible with everything else.

    Yeah i realize that chance that ps3 or ps4 going to get emulated (to a playable degree) are slim to none, but chances are that anything worth its weight in package plastic will get ported to pc a few y
  • Agnello says he lost 55 hours of progress on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as more progress on a few other downloadable games.

    That's 55 hours of his life he's not getting back anyway.

  • (if only all that progress was easily, instantly unlockable in some way...)

    007 373 5963

  • Seriously? My god some people are entitled, little shits. It's a fucking video game! Back when I played (as a kid—you know, the appropriate age), neither my NES nor Super NES had a way to backup saved game stats. If you lost it, who cares? Again, it's just a *video game*. What is happening to this world?

  • Nintendo should be charging extra. Look at it this way, that's 55 more hours playing Zelda than he'd normally get. 55 extra hours of gameplay, all at no additional cost!

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