Pokémon Sword And Shield Players Report Alarming SD Card Issue, But It’s Fixable

Pokémon Sword and Shield are out today. It should be a joyous occasion, except that some players have hit quite a snag: They say that the downloadable versions of the games are deleting all of their Switch save data. In reality, that’s not quite what’s happening, but the glitch in question is certainly alarming.

It began last night, with a handful of players reporting on Twitter that Sword and Shield were crashing and deleting the data on their SD cards. Others then erroneously said on Reddit that the games were wiping all of people’s save files as clean as an un-morphed Ditto. Fortunately, the Switch only stores save files on its system memory, meaning that no matter what, your hundreds of hours in Breath of the Wild largely spent collecting horses instead of hunting divine beasts are safe.

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There does, however, appear to be a glitch that, according to console hacker SciresM, corrupts data on SD cards. On Twitter, they chalked it up to a data retrieval timeout, which ultimately causes a particular type of (often default) SD card format, exFAT, to go haywire and corrupt data. They advise using a different format for your SD card to avoid the glitch. “Don’t use the exFAT driver and you should be fine/not lose data even if your console crashes,” SciresM wrote.

But if you’re relying on an SD card larger than 32 GB, odds are that it’s using exFAT formatting by default, which could mean that you’re vulnerable to this glitch—relatively rare though it might be. On the upside, the worst case scenario is not that bad. You will not lose anything permanently, except possibly some screenshots. You can just re-download all your games, and again, your save files are safe no matter what.

Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for information about when a fix is coming, but the company did not reply prior to this publishing. Hopefully it’ll have something ready sooner rather than later, because even if it’s not apocalyptically catastrophic, this glitch is a throbbing thorn in the side of one of the company’s biggest releases of the year.

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Nathan Grayson

Kotaku reporter. Beats: Twitch, PC gaming, Overwatch.