Sony has been busy lately; combating hackers, releasing AAA titles, and even announcing new portables. So, it should come as no surprise that the rumor mill is buzzing. One rumor has peaked my interest, The Playstation Cloud. The service is to be released for Playstation Plus subscribers in the near future, and was recently featured on Kotaku. The Cloud, an online database where users on the PSN will be able to back up their PS3 saves, aims to be the first of its kind for console gamers. It has the potential to be so much more, as it could be the lynch pin in changing the consumer’s definition of a portable console.
Where the iOS devices have put pressure on Nintendo and Sony to evolve in the portable market, the NGP has emerged, jammed full of technology. Unlike the portables of the past, there are few limitations to the method in which you control games. The NGP has just as many options for control, if not more (touch vs. Move support) than the PS3 does. It comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi, meaning you can always be connected to the PSN, much like the PS3. Of course, a 5-inch OLED will provide you the illusion that the NGP is a near equal to that of the PS3 in graphical fidelity. But is it a PS3? Or more specifically, can I take a PS3 game with me and play it on the NGP? The most prominent obstacle in my mind is one of cross-platform compatibility for user content; i.e. game saves, trophy support and anything tied to your PSN ID. If I were to start a game on PS3 and move to the NGP version, my game save would be the most important piece of content in making the entire feature worthwhile. Otherwise the point that you have a PS3 in your pocket is mute since it isn’t an extension of “your PS3”.
That very obstacle could be addressed through utilization of the Cloud. To PC Gamers, this technology is old hat, since Steam Cloud has been active since 2008. For me; however, it is the implication of what all these features can do together on Playstation Hardware that makes me excited. If a single PSN ID can be used on multiple platforms and thus, all your Trophies and Game Saves can exist in the Cloud. At this point, all you need is a game that is cross compatible between platforms and bam – Portable PS3! Now, trophy hunters are no longer limited to their living room couch, they can hunt in the wild. You can start grinding at home after work and continue throughout the next day during train rides, lunch breaks or whatever downtime a gamer has outside of their home. Sure, there will be new trophies for platform-specific NGP titles, but if Sony wants to boast about how close the NGP is to performing like a PS3, I say prove it. Treat them as equals, and the concept of the NGP being a Portable PS3 will come to fruition organically. Publishers should release each disc-based copy with a digital NGP copy (kind of like Blu-Ray), maybe charge a little more, but make the process as easy as possible. Feel free to let me know in the comments how many of you gamers would be interested in this feature and whether or not you would be willing to pay for it. If Sony is considering this feature, they are also considering how to monetize it, so speak your mind.
*Note: Images courtesy of Google Image Search and Photoshop