Now that the Nintendo Switch is out there in the wild, we’re beginning to see details of the console yet-unseen come to light. One of those, as it would seem, is the lack of freedom in moving around Switch save data on SD cards.
We already knew that save data on the Nintendo Switch is tied directly to system memory and cannot be copied to an external storage medium like a microSD card, which is already used for storing game data itself. That alone is strange (or not strange in the context of classic Nintendo head-scratchers), but what’s even stranger is the message that pops up when you insert an SD card into a new Switch that has already been used with another system.
“This microSD card is being used by another Nintendo Switch console or was used on this console before it was initialized. Delete the Nintendo Switch data on the microSD card to use it on this console. Save data, screenshots, and other data not related to Nintendo Switch won’t be deleted. You can remove the microSD card if you don’t want to use it on this console.”
It’s unclear what “other content” refers to in that context, but it looks like any SD card previously associated with a console will need a fresh wipe to be usable on a new one. Curiously, the message mentions not deleting save data from the card, even though it’s currently not possible to transfer save data in the first place.
The absence of way to transfer save data from console-to-console was also an oft-ridiculed aspect of the Wii U, especially as both the Wii U and Switch feature no way of backing up saves to a cloud service, like every other competitor out there.