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There is a way to transfer Switch save data, Nintendo just doesn’t want you to know

Published Mar 22nd, 2017 4:42PM EDT
Nintendo Switch save data
Image: Nintendo

One of the rather puzzling decisions that Nintendo made for its brand-new Switch console was the save game data. Rather than letting you transfer your hard-earned Zelda quest data from one device to another, your saves are supposed to be tied to the device.

“On Nintendo Switch, game save data is stored on the console’s System Memory,” Nintendo’s own website says. “This will not change whether downloadable software or software from a game card is being played. Game save data cannot be saved or copied to a microSD card.”

But as it turns out, Nintendo might have left a loophole in there, and not told anyone about it.

A Reddit user recently sent his Switch in for repair, and received a different console back from Nintendo. But contrary to his expectations, the save game data came along for the ride:

So today i got home, first thing i did was to grab the big brown box from Nintendo. I opened it, booted up the switch aaand my account was intact. To be sure i went and checked my storage, it said that it was all empty. A bit dissapointed i thought, let me atleast boot up Zelda. So it needed an update. While it was updating, however, i saw an icon what looked like downloading from a cloud.

So full of hope i start my game, and there was my saves are intact!

I can confirm Nintendo can actually transfer your data to a new device.

From the sounds of things, it’s a Nintendo cloud data transfer tied to your account, rather than a physical transfer of data. It’s unclear if it’s possible to do this kind of transfer on your own, or if Nintendo has to pull switches behind the scenes. But either way, it’s reassuring that if you have to send your Switch in for repair — say, if the Joy-Cons are having some kind of mysterious issues! — all your work finding those shrines isn’t lost.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.

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