Nintendo Switch System Update Adds Recording, Save Transfers

Nintendo released a system update for its Switch console that introduced the ability to record 30-second gameplay snippets, transfer save data between devices, and more. These updates won't address many of the complaints about the Switch—like its lack of cloud saves, third-party apps, or Virtual Console—but they do signal Nintendo's commitment to expanding the console's functionality and listening to its customers' feedback.

Probably the most important change is the ability to transfer saves between consoles. That's likely to prove useful for households with multiple Switches (Switchs?), but it will be even more important if a console fails. Sending a broken Switch in to Nintendo is like rolling the dice with the countless hours you've put in to a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If the save data's gone, it's gone.

Now it will be easier to ensure save data never disappears. That's not as exciting as cloud saves, which would further streamline the process and bring the Switch to parity with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console families, but it's still a welcome change. We also suspect it won't be long before some enterprising gamer finds a way to use the save transfer functionality to keep backups without having to own multiple consoles.

Speaking of not-quite-parity: The new screen recording feature is a similar half measure to the save data transfers. Other consoles (and, of course, PCs) can stream games in their entirety. But the Switch launched with the ability to take screenshots and a promise that video recording would arrive at a later date. Well, that later date is here, and Nintendo has technically delivered on its promise to enable video recording.

Yet the recordings are limited in scope and availability. Nintendo said you can save 30-second snippets, which makes sense given the Switch's limited storage, but it also said the feature isn't available in all games. Right now you can record gameplay in Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, and Splatoon 2. Those are all first-party titles; it's not clear if or when support for the feature will expand to third parties.

This system update also adds some new player icons from Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild, updates the console's News app, and introduces the ability to update multiple Switch consoles' games to their latest versions by grouping up with other Switch owners. That should make the update process easier for people with limited internet connections, for example, and guarantee people can play games with friends.

Your Switch should automatically install this system update. If it doesn't, you can manually download the update by heading to the System Settings app, going to System, and selecting System Update. You can find detailed patch notes for the update on Nintendo's support website.

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  • CarbonK
    Important to note, the Switch saves the LAST 30 seconds. So don't worry about missing a cool moment, if you're quick on the button then it should be saved.
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  • dstarr3
    Save transfers, sweet. You might finally be able to edit your BotW save file to give you infinite weapon durability on Switch.
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  • hgchuong
    About Effing time giving us save transfers!!!
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