Nintendo's first ever paid online subscription service, Nintendo Switch Online, has gone live. Many games that are available to play online, such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (however, some games, like Fortnite, don't require the service) now need a paid subscription, similar to how Sony does it with the PlayStation 4. Nintendo Switch Online is not without its perks, as it features an expanding library of NES titles free with the service. Another perk is the implementation of cloud saving. For the first time, Nintendo backs up your data into the cloud. So, if your Switch breaks, all those hours spent in Breath of the Wild will be safe. However, there are two caveats. One, is that not all games is compatible with the cloud. The other, as Nintendo UK outlined in its FAQ page, is:
Nintendo UK: "Save data stored with Save Data Cloud cannot be kept outside of the duration of your Nintendo Switch Online membership."
This means that if you let your Nintendo Switch Online subscription expire, those cloud saves are lost. Basically, if you want cloud saves, this implies that you need continuous membership. Yesterday, Nintendo further clarified this in a statement to IGN, which has now been added to Nintendo of America's FAQ page. It looks like Nintendo won't right away erase your cloud saves upon a lapse in subscription. There will be a grace period of six months.
Nintendo: "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,"
So, if a person's online subscription expires, that player will lose access to the cloud. However, Nintendo's above statement says that it will hold onto the save data for 180 days, or six months. While the idea of those saves being lost, even if its six months later, may still be annoying to some, it is important to keep in mind that Sony does the same thing for an even heftier price per annual subscription. You need a PS Plus subscription for cloud saving, and the price for a year's subscription is $59.99, according to the PlayStation website. Still, Microsoft's Xbox One has all the consoles beat: you don't need to pay to access cloud saves if you're an Xbox player.
Overall, Nintendo Switch Online is proving to be a decent service. It is by far the cheapest in price when compared to PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold. You get access to classic NES titles, such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, with more to come. It will be interesting to see where the service is a year down the road.