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Nintendo says cheaters are why some Switch games can't backup saves online

Nintendo confirms that not all Nintendo Switch games will support the upcoming Save Data Cloud Backup service.

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James Martin/CNET

On Friday, Nintendo's website quietly revealed that not every Nintendo Switch game will let you backup your progress to the cloud -- meaning that even if you pay $20 a year for the Nintendo Switch Online service, you could still lose the hours you've invested in certain games if your Switch gets lost or stolen.

Today, Nintendo confirmed that's true -- but says the company expects the "vast majority" of Nintendo Switch games will support the Save Data Cloud Backup feature. And, that there's a specific reason why some games won't. Namely, cheaters.

Here's the statement that a Nintendo rep provided to CNET:

The vast majority of Nintendo Switch games will support Save Data Cloud backup. However, in certain games this feature would make it possible to, for example, regain items that had been traded to other players, or revert to a higher online multiplayer ranking that had been lost. To ensure fair play, Save Data Cloud backup may not be enabled for such games.

To ensure that Save Data Cloud backups cannot be used to unfairly affect online multiplayer rankings, the feature will not be enabled in Splatoon 2.

It's not quite clear why Nintendo wouldn't use its online servers to prevent this sort of cheating explicitly by requiring games to keep track of items and rankings in the cloud, but perhaps the company's systems currently prioritize local savegames over online backups.

So far, it looks like there are only a handful of games that won't support cloud backup. Check out the full list here.