Pokémon Sword and Shield are out today. It should be a joyous occasion, except that some players have met a great deal: They say that the downloadable versions of the games erase all their Switch-saving data. In reality, that's not really what's happening, but the error in question is really worrying.
It started last night, with a handful of players reporting on Twitter that Sword and Shield crashed and erased data on their SD cards. Others then incorrectly stated on Reddit that the games dried all of people's files as clean as a deformed Ditto. Fortunately, Switch only stores files in system memory, which means that no matter what, your hundreds of hours in Breath of the Wild largely spent horses instead of hunting divine animals are safe. However,
appears to be an error that according to console hacker SciresM damages data on SD card. On Twitter they chalked it up to a data collection timeout, which ultimately causes a certain type of (often standard) SD card format, exFAT, to go to high holders and damage data. They recommend that you use a different format for your SD card to avoid errors. "Don't use the exFAT driver and you should be fine / not lose data even if your console crashes," wrote SciresM.
However, if you rely on an SD card larger than 32 GB, it is likely to use exFAT formatting by default, which may mean that you are vulnerable to this error – relatively rare but it may be. On the upside, the worst case is not so . You will not lose anything permanently, except possibly any screenshots. You can just download all your games again, and again your savings files are safe no matter what.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for information on when a fix will come, but the company did not respond before the release. Hopefully, it will have something clear sooner rather than later, because although not apocalyptically disastrous, this glitch is a throbbing tower in the side of one of the company's biggest releases of the year.