Nintendo Switch tiptoes toward letting users back up their data
As the Nintendo Switch loses some of its brand-new luster, fans have begun to question a few key missing features, from the long-running Virtual Console service to traditional apps like media players and Web browsers. Thus, any new major firmware for the Switch is likely to get fans’ hopes up about new functionality, and sure enough Switch firmware 4.0, out on Wednesday, brings a few new features to the table.
Arguably the most notable addition is one that comes oh-so-close to fixing a major Switch problem: the inability to back up any save game data. Switch 4.0 officially adds profile and save transfers between Switch systems. This process will entirely wipe whatever selected data is moved from the source system. This is the first time Switch owners have been able to move save data in any official capacity, as opposed to having save data being completely trapped on a default system, but it’s still a far cry from being able to take your console’s save files and store them somewhere secure, like a spare SD card or a computer. (Purchases are linked to a universal profile, and these have already been transferable, so long as the source console’s licenses are deactivated first.)
We can only hope this feature rollout is a hint of more functionality in the future. Otherwise, the race is still on for hackers and exploiters to beat Nintendo to the save-backup punch (and thereby drive legitimate users towards hacks in the process).
Nintendo has also finally made good on a promise to support video capture for Switch games, but the functionality has launched in a weird (and therefore Nintendo-like) way. The good news is that this works much like it does on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms, in that the system will automatically capture and store your last 30 seconds of play—meaning, if you do something cool in a game, you have a moment to trigger the capture by long-pressing the system’s “capture” button. Afterwards, you can manually trim the beginning and ending of the 30-second clip as you see fit before uploading to either a Facebook or Twitter account.
The bad news, however, is that this video-capture feature is currently only supported by four games, and they’re all first-party fare: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, Splatoon 2, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo has not indicated if or when other titles will be supported, and for now, it also hasn’t announced the ability to simply grab those video clips as files to be used however you see fit. It’s social-upload or bust. (Perhaps that will change if the system ever gets around to officially supporting YouTube as an app, let alone as an upload destination.)
The firmware’s update page mentions a few other under-the-hood tweaks, including how the console will now recognize and list TKIP-secured Wi-Fi networks and how people can finally transfer game-update data between local systems. (No longer will local-multiplayer games be stymied by someone not downloading the latest patch! That is, so long as that friend made sure to patch the entire system to version 4.0.) And, hey, it has new Super Mario Odyssey “profile icon” options, too. That game is coming out soon, right? Maybe that’ll keep fans busy enough to ignore the system’s continued lack of multimedia apps or Virtual Console options.