One of the more requested features for Animal Crossing's latest, even before it launched, was for cloud saves. Today, Nintendo announced that island backups are coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons this week, with the ability to transfer save data sometime later this year.
The service seems split into two parts. The Island Backup and Restoration service is a way for users to automatically backup island and user data at certain points. According to the Nintendo press release, if your Nintendo system is lost or damaged, your island save data can still be recovered through this system by contacting Nintendo customer support. Users must also have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership to recover their data this way.
Island backup is a separate function from any sort of usual cloud data transfer though. Nintendo says that "a function specific to Animal Crossing: New Horizons to move users and save data to another system is planned for later this year." Details will be coming in the future about what that entails.
Animal Crossing: New Horizon's lack of save data transfer was one of its sticking points when it launched earlier this year. While Nintendo promised the island backup service for users whose Switch was lost or stolen previously, the missing opportunity to move islands between Switch consoles was strange, especially given the popular Switch Lite that had launched in 2019.
Still, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold incredibly well anyways. In June it crossed the 10 million digital sales mark worldwide, and updates have been steadily launching for the game since, including the recent summer update that added swimming. Also announced today was another summer update, which includes fireworks. Just, uh, be careful with those. I'm not sure what the fire code is like on deserted islands.
Island Backup and Restoration services launch on July 30 for Nintendo Switch users, and more about other save data transfers is coming in the future.