Space, The Final Frontier. One that we are still yet to conquer as the human race. Or at least the digital space that we’re assigned for storage by Sony. Over the last few months I’ve regularly had to delete files, shuffle old ones to external storage, and spend too much time messing around with the limited room we now have. A few years back 1 gb of online storage was enough to keep any hardcore gamer going for a long time, it should be, the file save sizes were reasonably small with only Fallout or Skyrim really getting past 10 mb. Now that’s the minimum size for PS4 games, and most of them insist on having 2 or 3 files that get auto uploaded to the cloud – and with no way of selecting which goes and what stays put. Alien Isolation uploads every chapter point, plus your settings, and the DLC. Over 150 mb without a by your leave; it’s taking liberties.
On top of that there are some special games, good ones mind, that insist on having files that run at over 100 mb each (check out Trials Fusion and the ghosts data on DriveClub). That’s 10% of your online storage per game, no wonder there are constant failed upload messages if you’re a PS+ user, and there’s no indicator for how much space you’ve actually used. It’s not the speed the capacity fills up though that gets me, it’s the clumsy and slow way of actually managing the storage via the system. The file system on the PS3 was much better, simply having the option of displaying everything and multi-selecting made it a breeze. Accessing the game, picking the files, deleting, getting booted back to the top level of the PS4 storage menu; such a first world problem that I shouldn’t be moaning about, but am. Don’t forget that you can’t actually select which games you want uploading, control is taken out of your hands. [UPDATE – the ability to turn off/on auto-upload was added in a firmware update, but it’s on by default and still not intuitive]
What do we need then? I’m sure there are loads of new features that the developers of the firmware will be working on, I just want a better save data management tool… and online access to my cloud save storage so I can sort things out from there. If/when I get rid of my PS3, how do I manage the space those files are taking up? I’ve had an old PS3 die on me with no way to recover anything from it, what if that happened again? I don’t want to get a new one just to free up 200 mb of save data. And what about the Vita? In fairness I’d missed the upload option anyway for most games so that’s not a problem for me and my lack of actually reading instructions, but is for a lot of others.
Over the years we’ve had to manage memory cards where it was pretty much buy a new storage unit or lose your game data, so the move to an HDD solution was fantastic with a huge amount of space; uploading to online being added is just a bonus for moving saves between machines. Why do we need such large file saves too? PSOne had fixed memory slot sizes so the games had to be the same sizes, PS2 ditched this, but we’re back to it with a minimum save size. I’m not advocating an increase in online space, that’s not the solution here because the intended purpose of the function is to make moving saves around easy, and I’ve put it to good use over the years. Long term storage should be on external devices. No, what we need is control back over the data that’s transferred between our physical and online accounts, even if it just stops the Cannot Upload To Online Storage messages.