Nintendo: Animal Crossing fans upset by cloud restrictions

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Animal Crossing: New HorizonsImage source, Nintendo

Fans of the Animal Crossing game have criticised Nintendo after it said players would not be able to save their progress to its cloud back-up service.

Saving game progress to the cloud is a key feature of the Nintendo Switch online subscription service, which costs £17.99 a year.

It lets players pick up where they left off if they buy a new Switch console or own more than one device.

But in a YouTube video, Nintendo said the feature was "not supported".

One fan on social news site Reddit complained: "It's laughable to think that almost every third party game on the Switch supports cloud saves, but Nintendo can't do it on several of their own games, while they are charging us for that."

The latest version of the Animal Crossing game - New Horizons - is due to be released in March.

In the game, players land on a deserted island to start a new life among a group of animal villagers. They can reshape and rebuild their island as they wish.

However, Nintendo has confirmed that "only one island can exist per Nintendo Switch console".

'Stupid decision'

While up to eight players can use the same copy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on one console, they must all inhabit the same island.

Players are also not allowed to transfer their progress to another console.

"This game does not currently support the ability to transfer your save file from one Nintendo Switch console to another," the company said.

It said it hoped to add the ability to recover game data in the event of a lost or stolen console "sometime after launch".

However, it added: "Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can only have save data recovered one time due to loss of damage of system."

One fan complained on Reddit: "You can't transfer your data to a new Switch? Really? What reasoning could they possibly have to warrant such a stupid decision?"

Image source, Nintendo
Image caption,
Nintendo says its Save Data Cloud feature is not supported
Image source, Nintendo

Games journalist Richard Atkinson told the BBC that many gamers were "irritated" by the decision.

"For them, it shows Nintendo's online service - that you have to pay for annually - not doing what you expect it to do," he said.

"It most likely boils down to Nintendo protecting its vision of the game, and putting up barriers to stop players from cheating."

Some players have suggested that Nintendo is worried that letting people back up their progress to the cloud could allow them to manipulate the save data.

Other Nintendo titles including Pokemon Sword/Shield and Splatoon 2 also do not support cloud back-up.

"The limits Nintendo has put in for Animal Crossing: New Horizons are going to affect those players who want to pick up and dive into their island on either their Switch or Switch Lite," said Mr Atkinson.

"To me, that's backwards."

Nintendo has not yet replied to a BBC request for comment.