The World’s Smallest Violin

As a result of finally moving from a flat to a house, I find myself in the enviable position of being able to dedicate an entire room to gaming. I have set up a lovely little man room full of new consoles, with the idea of keeping the existing ones to play in the lounge when friends come round, or her indoors isn’t in. Of course, this leads to the question of save games – how do I play the same games across two consoles without constantly shifting saves?

But never fear, it’s 2013’s trendiest buzzword to the rescue – to the cloud! Both Microsoft and Sony now offer a small amount of storage space to put your saves online. As a Playstation Plus member I have access to this feature on the PS3, which to be honest I’ve never needed to use. Now I have two consoles, though, the feature is perfect. It couldn’t possibly be more useful in this situation, right?



So, I go to my original console, select my game, press Triangle and choose to make my saves automatically upload. Easy. I go to my new console, and do the same. I get a message telling me that in order to use this feature, I have to have the auto-update feature on. This is one of my favourite features of PS+, as it means that your game patches are downloaded overnight rather than when you go to play a game, so I’m more than happy to have this feature turned on on my second console. And then the trouble starts – for some inane reason Sony will only allow you to have one console set to auto-update. If I turn on one, it gets turned off on the other. I can use the feature, but it means playing a ridiculous game of cloud save tennis every time I switch consoles.

It’s a great console despite Sony’s best efforts to utterly ruin it with the software.

I don’t understand this at all – given that I can download all my paid for, or PS+, games on to THREE consoles legitimately, why can I only auto-update one at a time? This baffling piece of software stupidity is certainly not the only case, though. Exhibit A: the Playstation Vita. I have one, and it’s a great console. It’s a great console despite Sony’s best efforts to utterly ruin it with the software. Baffling restrictions on memory card usage, a menu screen you can’t navigate with all the wonderful buttons the device is festooned with, and a ridiculous black screen that pops up every single time you try to connect to wifi.

Sony's software team take a rare break for a spot of lunch.
Sony’s software team take a rare break for a spot of lunch.

And the PS3’s beautiful interface hasn’t aged well either. While I admire them keeping a consistency, rather than changing the menus every 18 minutes (*cough*Microsoft*cough*), they have ended up with menus on menus on menus that are virtually impossible to navigate, and to find the unbelievably complicated options hidden within.

What exactly has happened in Sony’s software team? It looks to me like the whole team is being overseen by some Scrooge-like figure with a spreadsheet and a very tight budget. I picture the workers cowering in fear from their budget-conscious overlord, begging him “Please sir, can we make it work?” as he whips them with a Tesco Value whip.

This worries me more than a little. As anyone who listens to our podcast will know, I’m incredibly excited about the Playstation 4 – I think if Sony deliver on the promises made at their announcement it will be an absolute blinder. The problem? A lot of the really cool features will be all down to the software, and I fear that Sony, as they currently stand, are more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.







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