Word on the street is that cloud-based game save management will be coming to the PS3 beginning with firmware 3.60. Hate the idea of the cloud managing your saves? Don’t worry, for it looks like the feature will only be available to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Outrage!
“Cloud-based save game management? What’s that?” A good, honest question, amigo. The long and short of it is that every time you save your game (provided the game works with the new service, which is said to be named “Online Saving”) a backup copy will be sent to Sony’s servers in the sky—hence the “cloud” metaphor. The idea is that should anything happen to the saves on your hard drive, there will always be a copy on Sony’s servers.
So let’s say you were bitten by the Mass Effect 2 game save corruption bug. (There’s a glitch in the game, due to be patched any minute now, that leads to save data being corrupted if you play for too many consecutive hours—something to do with data fragmentation.) You lose the saves on your hard drive, but don’t worry: there’s a copy on Sony’s servers. Copy those over and you’re back in business.
Of course, syncing data with the cloud opens up the possibility of further glitches, as players of the PC version of Fallout: New Vegas found out a few months ago. But on the whole it’s a useful feature; nothing wrong with backing up your data, right?
Valve said a few days ago that the PS3 version of Portal 2 will have Steam-based cloud storage, meaning that your local saves will be mirrored on Valve’s servers. It’s the same basic technology, but it would seem to be a feature that merely comes with the game, no having to subscribe to PlayStation Plus. At least that’s how I understand it, but I could well be wrong.
The questions now become A) when will the Xbox 360 see something like this and B) how long will PS3 gamers continue to wait for cross-game voice chat?