My friend Tom’s Xbox 360 died last week. More specifically, the external hard drive of his Xbox 360 crashed, which meant he lost all his saved game data. All the progress he’d made on any game–gone. Fortunately, one’s Achievements are archived on Microsoft’s server, so his gamerscore is safe.
But that did get me thinking–why doesn’t Microsoft store gamesaves and other vital information on its own servers? From my understanding–and if anyone out there knows better, correct me if I’m wrong–gamesaves aren’t terribly large. If Google can offer 2 Gb of email storage for free, can’t Microsoft provide 5 or 10 Gb as part of the yearly subscription I’m already paying? I’d even pay an extra $10 for such a service. Given the obviously unsatisfactory failure rate of Xbox 360s (my hard drive crapped the bed right out of the box), it would seem like the least they could do. It’s not like storage is that expensive these days.
Larger stuff, like downloadable content and game updates, could be stored on the hard drive, because that can all easily be re-downloaded. But once a gamesave is gone, it’s gone. Yes, there are some ways to save your savegames on your PC if you’re computer-savvy (or willing to spend the money on some third-party peripherals), but most casual players aren’t going to be thinking in those terms, so when the big crash comes, they lose hours (or let’s face it, weeks) of effort in an instant.
Nowadays, when saved games are so important for consoles and storage so cheap, I think MS should step up and offer online gamesave archiving.