To the clouds. That is to say, to the servers that will be storing the saved games of PlayStation 3 owners. As indicated by a survey distributed last year, PlayStation Plus members will soon be able to save their games to Sony servers. Saved game data can then be accessed from any PlayStation 3.
The service will be made available with the upcoming 3.60 firmware update. Online Saving, Sony’s name for the process, should be a much more convenient utility than account recovery on Xbox Live. In fact, Microsoft would do well to start considering an option like this for the future.
There is a minor hitch, however. Developers are being given the option of whether or not to implement Online Saving in their games, as including it “will allow save data with the copy prohibited attribute to be copied into the online storage.”
Given the many issues Sony has had with PlayStation 3 security recently, including the distribution of the system’s root key, developers may be wary about having any “copy prohibited attribute[s]” saved online. Of course, the recent update to firmware 3.56 is supposed to have addressed many of those issues. Time will tell if it is a success.
Enabling players to access save files without having to carry around USB drives is a forward-looking move by Sony. However, is it fair to restrict this feature to PlayStation Plus users? It is starting to look like Sony is subtly telling users that the PlayStation Plus experience is the company’s primary focus for its online offerings.
PlayStation Plus initially looked like it would be fighting an uphill battle for subscribers. After all, much of what Microsoft charges users for — online play, Netflix streaming — is already included in PSN for free. However, if Sony starts adding even more features to the service, similar to Online Saving, PlayStation Plus could end up being more than competitive with Xbox Live.
Ranters, do you subscribe to PlayStation Plus? Does the addition of Online Saving to the service impact your decision to subscribe? Do you think Sony’s Online Saving will be reliable? Let us know in the comments below.