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» AC:NH General Board
Topic: Nintendo considering alternative backup option in light of ACNH not supporting save-transfers/cloud

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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
Misinformation and information without context are two of the dangers of failing to promote a game that's about to be released next month, and people got a nasty shock this week when the German box-art for Animal Crossing: New Horizons started doing the rounds online, revealing that the game's save-files cannot be transferred between Switch systems (in addition to the previously-known lack of support for Nintendo Switch Online's Cloud Save Backup feature). Obviously, this leaves players without any way to back up saves in the event of loss, theft, or a machine having to be sent in for repair (they are often wiped in the process).

Nintendo has now confirmed that this is indeed the case. However, they have also stated that an alternative way of backing up save files is under consideration for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.

Apart from specifying that this backup option will be distinct from Nintendo Switch Online's existing save backup feature, they have not provided any other information at this time, but I felt that it was important to post this now that they've made a statement, since I've seen concerns quite rightly being raised about this issue in other threads.
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Kalleh
 
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11/28/2020 9:33pm
Glad they came to their senses on this one.
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Peach15
 
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1/13 12:56am
This issue was one of my main concerns.  This is a game that most fans pour hundreds of hours into.  To imagine losing that alone is anxiety-inducing.  As it stands, we can't even transfer the save to a new console!

Hopefully they'll maintain this promise until a method is implemented.

Edit: This seems very last minute for a game being released next month.  But I think that's a good sign; it shows they're listening.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
I think that it may appear to be last-minute because they've pretty much not promoted the game at all so far (I mean, we only have to look at how this information got out to see that; We've mostly been getting tiny snippets of info that fans have uncovered and posted online), but for all that we know, this method could've been planned all along but got held up. (Though why they couldn't have just used Nintendo Switch Online's pre-existing infrastructure for this is still beyond me. )

Still, you're right, they're definitely listening, since they gave a direct response on this one, and that is definitely a positive.
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penelopePINK
 
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3/31/2020 8:38pm
I chose to purchase the Family Subscription so my daughter could play with online friends and in the very narrow hope that cloud saves would be a thing. I am happy to hear that they are trying to figure away to at least minimize the lose of game play for AC:NH.
They want to promote newer systems but will alienate many AC gamers by locking the island, and countless hours spent on it, to one device! They NEED to find a way to make this work to keep selling new consoles.
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WestonCarrie
 
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1/12 12:30pm
I saw the news about this and came here to post, but I see I've been beaten to it!  

I'm pretty sure with the GC version of the game that you couldn't copy the save file from one memory card to another, though you could move it (iirc).  Or perhaps if you could hack, you could back up the town.  You could, however, have multiple towns - as many as you had memory cards for, with only one game disc needed.  I think this was the same with City Folk on the Wii, since the towns were saved to the memory card.

On the handhelds, you could have multiple towns on one system, but it required you to purchase multiple copies of the game since the towns were saved on the game carts.  Not sure entirely how it worked if you owned a digital copy of ACNL.  It was saved to the SD card, so if you wanted multiple towns, you still had to buy additional cartridges, but since the digital copy's town was saved to an SD card, I'm assuming it was possible to copy and transfer the game to another SD card via PC?

So, this is the first time that you cannot have more than one town (in this case island) on one Switch, either via memory cards or additional copies of the game.  But, I don't think that the game was ever able to be backed up, except in the case of digital copies of ACNL?

Please feel free to correct anything I've posted here, as I'm not 100% on some things.  But this is good news for ACNH if we will have a way to back-up our islands.  I understand their concerns about cheating - giving away all items/bells to players and then just re-downloading your island, but I think that providing a way to back-up players' islands in case of loss, damage, etc. (protecting months, even years of work/enjoyment) should far outweigh those concerns.
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Chiyoko
 
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^that all sounds right (can confirm that digital NL downloads could be transferred to new SD cards on PC) but did the wii have a memory card built in or something I didn't know about? I always thought it was one town per wii system, just like with the switch, but I also wasn't very knowledgable about games back then
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707penguin
 
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You are correct. Wii game data were saved to the system, so if you wanted two City Folk towns you would need two Wiis (but only one copy of the game).
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
Good news! Nintendo UK has provided an official translation of the statement about ACNH's save-files;

"Important notes regarding save data

This game does not support the Save Data Cloud functionality of Nintendo Switch Online. However, the ability to recover Animal Crossing: New Horizons save data from the server in the event of console failure, loss or theft will be available to Nintendo Switch Online members sometime in the future.
    
Animal Crossing: New Horizons does not support the ability to transfer your save file from one Nintendo Switch console to another."
So, going by this, which is a lot clearer than the translation of the Japanese version of the statement, it seems that we can assume that Nintendo's solution to this issue is definitely on the way, but won't be available at launch.
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TexasPch7
 
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4/14/2020 11:13pm
Thanks for the info PennyGwin!
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Peach15
 
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1/13 12:56am
The wording is still quite unclear.  On one hand we'll be able to access our saves in some capacity but on the other hand we can't transfer it?  I mean, isn't it a transfer if you're moving the saves from a broken switch to a new switch?

I hope it's not limited to just theft, loss or breakage.  What if you simply wanted to upgrade to a different switch?  Fans are stuck with an aging console to keep their towns?  Does Nintendo not like money or what?

I have a lot of questions that can't be answered.  Nintendo is really stuck in a stone age with their cloud saves.  They sell the feature and yet barely any of their games use cloud saves.
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SirLeoTheLion
 
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5/31/2020 5:19pm
WestonCarrie, I can confirm that it is possible to backup save data of all the AC games by hacking. I won't go into details because of 2.8 though.
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splutterguttss
 
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4/17/2020 10:51am
I'm saving up for the Animal Crossing Switch, by this rate I'll get it about a month after the game launches. I guess I'll just have to wait to play until I can use my new console? Unless they release a remedy before so, of course. Situation just kinda sucks overall lol. gah
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Peach15
 
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1/13 12:56am
Pennygwin - I think them announcing this game backup option is last minute because they're still looking into it, there's nothing actually created yet.  I don't know why they couldn't use the existing feature either.  And their wording is so confusing.  What's the point of having the ability to backup your game if it can't be transferred to another switch?  I'd love to know the logistics behind proving your switch was lost, stolen, or damaged.

Splutterguttss - Yes, if you want to play on the new switch and it's delayed in getting to you you'll have to wait.  I'm in the same boat, it really stinks.  And if you really want to play on release day you'll just have to buy another switch and keep your fingers crossed Nintendo actually provides a way to transfer the town to the special edition switch someday.  At this point, however, they've specifically said, "lost, stolen, or damaged" and not, "purchased a new switch".  Which I find crazy; that's money out of their pockets because no one will want to upgrade.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
Peach15 - I suppose that we'll only know when they started on it once they provide a timeframe for when it'll be added. If it's within, say, a month of release, then it must've just overrun a deadline, but any more than that and it suggests that they completely dropped the ball on how the game's saves are being handled (though, considering their own repair procedures wherein consoles are often wiped, which were in place long before the Switch came along, I find this scenario a bit trickier to believe).

They most definitely need to be much clearer. Though I'm not planning on buying another Switch unit at this time, I also want to know about how this is handled in the case of hardware upgrades in case it comes up in the future.

As I said before, this is one of the pitfalls of not bothering to promote the first major game of the year - we should've known all of this by now, and yet here we are with just over a month until release, and this very important information has been completely withheld, and only did the rounds online because of an image of the German box-art. It's ended up looking like it's a complete shambles.
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Peach15
 
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1/13 12:56am
I don't think they had plans to add a backup/restore saves feature at all.  I believe with the tremendous backlash they received, including the 25k signatures on the petition, made them take a half step towards announcing what they did.  Either way, I hope they do provide us with a way to backup and restore saves without crazy proof required to prove your switch was lost, stolen, or damaged.  The theft and loss aspects would be hard to prove.
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SirLeoTheLion
 
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5/31/2020 5:19pm
I personally wouldn't recommend this since it's a difficult thing to pull off a successfully without damaging something but it might be possible to attach a GPS tracking chip to the board inside a Switch. When the console is turned on, the chip kicks in and lets you know where it is if it's lost or stolen.

They make them for all kinds of things such as cars or phones. I planned on implanting one in that 1957 Bel Air should I ever get it.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
Now I'm wondering if ACNH seemingly having paid DLC, which seems to have been revealed by the ESRB, might be linked to why Nintendo is being so cagey about ACNH's save-files.

If so, I'd wager, again, that a separate backup option was planned all along, but that this might have something to do with it. Again, they should've made all of this clear by now - it feels like they're being deceptive, when information such as possible paid DLC in a game like Animal Crossing has been kept silent until just over a month before it's out.
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707penguin
 
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707
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I don't see how that's deceptive, provided that they announce it before the game is actually released.
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Peach15
 
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Jill
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1/13 12:56am
If Nintendo does implement DLC or micro-transactions that would explain why they were not allowing independent game backup/restore; it would affect their additional profit.  I truly don't believe they ever had a plan to allow backups.  I believe they were simply going to make it like Splatoon or Pokemon or most of their other games that don't have cloud saves.  But with the tremendous amount of backlash since E3 of last year to now, along with the 20k+ signatures and counting on the petition, they decided to make an announcement that really doesn't prove anything yet.  The feature isn't even created and who knows when or if it'll ever be available.

My fingers are crossed they will keep their word and provide their loyal fans with a tool that allows us to backup/restore.  But, the fact that they specifically said, "loss, damage, theft", I have a sneaky feeling the tool won't be very helpful in circumstances where the user is unable to provide proof of such things.
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707penguin
 
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I hope that they can find a way to offer backup saves as well, but I'm not sure how they could do it without making it trivially easy to cheat by duplicating items.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
707penguin;
"I don't see how that's deceptive, provided that they announce it before the game is actually released."
Hence "feels like", rather than "is".

It feels to me like something is not right when they've been damn near silent on the game since E3 last year (the September trailer didn't really tell us much that we didn't already know, I feel), and we're finding out from one country's games-ratings board about what could potentially be, but hopefully won't be, a major change to the workings of a long-established series, about a month before release.

Nintendo usually seems to promote upcoming major releases far more than they have with this one. It just feels a bit off, I guess.

Peach15;
"But with the tremendous amount of backlash since E3 of last year to now, along with the 20k+ signatures and counting on the petition, they decided to make an announcement that really doesn't prove anything yet.  The feature isn't even created and who knows when or if it'll ever be available."
I don't know what "the petition" is, I must admit - if it's an online one like that rather vociferous one where people campaigned to have them cancel Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which also got at least 20k signatures, I don't imagine it making much difference to a large multi-national business.

Also, we really can't prove whether the feature has or has not been created yet, because they simply haven't said enough about the game as a whole - it would've helped a lot if they had. As I said before, it's entirely possible that it was always intended but has been delayed due to needing more testing or something of that nature.

I know that it's been human-nature since time immemorial to conclude that a big organisation isn't as smart as the little guy and didn't think to plan ahead, but Nintendo has been in this field for many decades and has much experience, and as a whole has existed since 1889 - few companies are that long-lived, and short-sighted ones never are. I'm sure that they'll keep to their word, because it's unlikely that they would've made a statement about it otherwise.

707penguin (Part Two);
"I hope that they can find a way to offer backup saves as well, but I'm not sure how they could do it without making it trivially easy to cheat by duplicating items."
My thought on this is that it would be tied to game-ownership. My understanding from something that I read up on early in the console's life is that the Switch has a very robust system of identifiers for accounts, individual hardware units, individual cartridges, and digital purchases. It checks in online regarding this, so technically speaking Nintendo could, for example, fairly easily spot pirates and cheaters and make an example of them (it still amazes me that they don't, but that's beside the point here - the point is that this facility exists and is relevant to this save issue ).

It's within the realm of possibility that this system could be used for situations like this.

So, in this case, they might, say, allow you to back up from within the game itself or from a separate companion application, and record data about the specific copy of the game that created it, along with the associated account (which might be why, as I speculated above, this could be an intended feature that has simply overrun a deadline - there's a lot that would need to be tested and refined, as I'm pretty sure that no other Switch game has done anything like this yet).

Following that, if a Switch unit is deregistered from a Nintendo Account by the user, and their account and game are then used on a new (or repaired, wiped, then later user-restored) unit, the in-game backup facility could verify the account and the specific copy of the game and then allow the user to restore their backed-up save. This theory might even explain why these save-files are one-per-console instead of one-per-user.

In theory, this would prevent the readily-available cheating methods that the lockdown seeks to crack down on, but also not throw too many roadblocks in the way of legitimate users who are dealing with failure, loss, theft, or upgrading.

So, whilst this is just speculation on my part, as I understand it, the systems do exist that would underpin this - it's not a pie-in-the-sky idea.
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707penguin
 
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707
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I might not be following what you're saying correctly, but how would that stop someone from backing up their save, giving an item to a friend, and then loading the cloud save so that now both people have the item?
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
ARGH! I've never cheated, so I didn't think about that! My thought was more on the finding a way to offer a backup solution side of things, with the angle of preventing save-file duplication (since they seem to be so set on not having per-user saves).

As a brief thought-experiment, my guess here would be a roadblock after a save-restore - like, say, you can't do it again for a set amount of time, and can't do it again on a console that it's already been done on unless said console has gone through a factory-reset (since the factory-reset case would have to be allowed due to repaired consoles being wiped a lot of the time, if not all the time). This already exists for regenerating your Switch Friend Code or deregistering your primary Switch console from the web interface - you're only allowed to do that once every 30 days or once per year respectively.

They could certainly get away with it once, but if they did it repeatedly, I suspect that most people wouldn't want to bother with the hassle of restoring a save, cheating, making sure that all of their saves (both NSO cloud and ACNH) have up-to-date backups, wiping their console (and possibly having to reformat their microSD Card again post-wipe - I'm not 100% sure if you have to do this in the case of a factory-reset, because I haven't tried it, but I suspect that you might because you do have to if you put it into a fresh new/system-transferred console), redownloading all of their stuff, and waiting, say, a hypothetical 30 days to restore the save and play the game again, just for duplicating a few items. Even if they kept playing for the hypothetical 30 day wait before they're allowed to restore again, they'd still have to deal with all of the other hoop-jumping afterwards.

I say this because it seems like the lockdowns are aimed at preventing casual cheating, since cheating can never be prevented if the cheater is determined enough.

The far simpler alternative would be having all items catalogueable and orderable, which would probably discourage item-duplication cheating for most, but it also possibly takes away something from the game.

At the end of the day, there's really no way to stop it when a save-backup system is a requirement - it's clear that the lockdowns, whether they ultimately turn out to be heavy or light, are futile and are only going to inconvenience legitimate players, while those with hacked hardware who are inclined towards cheating are going to do that anyway. And at this point we're back at "Why not just use Nintendo Switch Online's own backup feature?".

I still can't figure out the purpose of the odd backup situation, anyway - it was somewhat understandable with Pokemon, since they have official competitive events and will want to do what they can to prevent any sort of cheating in those, which means that casual cheating is also a big target, but for Animal Crossing I would've expected that Nintendo Switch Online's own backup feature was made for it. After all, Nintendo has never really seemed to care very much about the metagame economy before (as distinct from the in-game one, which they set the balancing for), so what's the worry this time around? I'd love to know why this is the way it is, but we don't have any information with which to do that yet.
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Peach15
 
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Jill
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1/13 12:56am
707penguin - I've seen some great suggestions online such as only allowing users to backup/restore once a month or even twice a year to prevent serious duping.  I've also seen someone suggest it be like an existing game (I can't recall which at this moment...Metroid?) where the game deletes the previous save once you backup and you must backup to the current save again.

But I've also seen the argument that this isn't a competitive game so why should Nintendo be so concerned with duping?  Which is why it would make sense that if they're introducing DLC or micro-transaction they'd be very concerned with duping to the point they would possibly create a tool to prevent users from freely backing up and restoring their saves.

Edit:

PennyGwin - I'm just curious.  What's your opinion on why the restore/backup feature will not be available at launch, and with no timeframe of when it will be available, if it was in the works since the beginning of the game's conception?
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AC:NH General Board » Topic: Nintendo considering alternative backup option in light of ACNH not supporting save-transfers/cloud

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