The Nintendo Switch Online membership offers cloud saves for games, but there's a catch: not every game includes cloud saves. With the news that the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons won't include cloud saves, some fans have taken matters into their own hands.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons won't include cloud saves, allegedly because the developers are concerned that players will utilize them to 'manipulate time.' In other words, to cheat. However, some fans have decided that's unacceptable, and a new petition asking the developers to change their minds has now netted nearly 9,000 signatures.
The problem here, as the petition stipulates, is that people sometimes spend hundreds or even thousands of hours in their Animal Crossing villages. If a player's Switch were to break, become lost, or the files on it simply corrupted, all of that time and effort would be a complete waste.
Unfortunately, the Switch offers no other methods of backing up saves other than the cloud save functionality, so gamers really have no alternative means here, shy of jailbreaking their Switch. That, of course, comes with the risk of Nintendo bricking said Switch, so it's not a very inviting alternative option.
It's worth noting that this isn't the only major game from Nintendo that's lacked cloud saves, nor even the only one from this developer. The same development team is responsible for Splatoon 2, which also lacks cloud saves. Numbers of players have lamented losing their data in Splatoon 2, forcing them to start all over again at level 1 and with none of their finely-tuned gear.
As Animal Crossing: New Horizons is well into development at this point, there's no telling if this petition will have an impact on the game. There is some hope, though, as the game was delayed to 2020 in order to avoid game development crunch culture. If nothing else, it should make it clear that fans aren't happy with certain games' lack of cloud saves.
It's worth noting that this isn't the only change to the way saves work in Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing: New Horizons will introduce auto-saves, eliminating Mr. Resetti from his role of scolding players after resetting the game.