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PSA: Transferring Nintendo Switch Data To A New Console Is A Whole Thing

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The new Nintendo Switch with a better battery life is out in the wild--identifiable by its bright red box. A trade-in offer at GameStop makes it relatively cheap to upgrade. But as a number of would-be customers have wondered or pointed out, transferring your Nintendo Switch data can be quite the process, and there's no guarantee a retailer will cooperate to help you do it.

First, despite the cloud save backup offered by the Nintendo Switch Online service, this isn't the same as having your entire profile and user data stored on the cloud, and a number of games aren't compatible with cloud saves. The most foolproof way of transferring all of your data to a new Switch is to use the recommended transfer system, which requires having both consoles along with a number of other implements.

As detailed on the Nintendo Help site, both consoles will need to be updated to system 4.0.0 or higher, and they both need to be connected to the Internet. According to CNET's Ashley Esqueda, you also need two AC adapters since both Nintendo Switches need to be plugged in. Once you migrate your data from the source console to the target console, you can no longer access the user information, save data, or software purchases on the source console.

In short, this would mean that to pull off the full transfer in a GameStop store, you would need the store manager to allow you to open the new console, plug in both systems, connect to WiFi, perform the transfer, and then trade in the old console toward the purchase of the new one that you've already opened. Esqueda found a store willing to allow her to do all this, but your mileage may vary.

Alternatively, you can purchase a new console, go home to perform the transfer, and then bring the old one back for $225 in store credit, or $185 in cash. That makes the deal a bit less appealing, since it requires you to eat the cost for store credit or accept less in trade value.

GameSpot has reached out to GameStop regarding this offer and how customers could more easily make the swap.

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