Managing Cloud Saves on PS4 is a Hassle

There are a lot of great things about being in the PlayStation ecosystem, but cloud saves aren’t one of them. For your $50 per year for a PlayStation Plus subscription, you get a lot of value, but not a lot of space to store your saves — just one gigabyte. A full gigabyte might sound like a lot for saves, but as time goes on and every save for every game you’ve ever had gets uploaded, that gigabyte runs out quickly.

I found that out when I started getting hit with vague error messages like this one:

It’s not a super helpful message to use to diagnose the problem, so I chalked it up to a network error and moved on. Then I got the same error message the next day. Then another for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, then for Tower of Guns, then Bloodborne. It couldn’t possibly be my network. So I tried to upload each save file manually, giving me this error instead:

And this is where Sony’s 1 GB storage limit for cloud saves is really going to start hurting players. I’ve had to do this once or twice before on PlayStation 3 and ended up just clearing out almost the entire thing, but I play a lot of games so it’s not a surprise I’d get hit with the same error again so soon. Everyone will inevitably hit the limit if they keep playing games, even sparingly, and then they’ll be stuck looking at a list like this one:

When you’re looking at a list like this, you’ve really got to stop and think about which games are most important to you. Which ones do you want to be able to pick up and play again a year from now? Or two years? What about if your console breaks? Because you’re going to want to hang on to those saves first. Whether or not you ever need to pull those saves down, it’s fantastic to know they’re there, ready. The problem comes when the system asks you to prioritize and start deleting hours and hours of your life.

As you can see, a lot of saves on PlayStation 4 aren’t that big, with most averaging about 10 MB or so, but they can fluctuate wildly. Battlefield 4 up there is 37.75 MB alone, which isn’t all that much overall, but it’s still a sizable chunk of your very limited space. And it’s not even the grossest offender:

Just look at it there. Arrogant. Defiant. You don’t even bat an eye at inFAMOUS: Second Son‘s 41.95 GB or Sniper Elite 3‘s 31.46 MB or even Battlefield Hardline‘s 37.75 MB leftover from the multiplayer beta last year because you’re too busy — rightfully — staring at Alien: Isolation‘s whopping 157.3 MB of space it’s taking up, a full 15 percent of my cloud save storage.

Why does it even take up that much space?

The game automatically kept multiple hard saves at each mission despite me only ever actually telling it to keep one to two save files at a time, and each of those saves accounts for 10.49 MB, which is as much or more than what many other full games require. Well, I have no intention of ever playing Alien: Isolation again, so I’d rather get that space back — space that could be used for potentially like 15 other games.

But now we reach the truly frustrating part of cloud save management on PlayStation 4: you have to delete each game individually.

Yes, for every single game you want to delete, you’ll need to go into the details for that game, then select the individual saves you want to delete if there are multiple, then delete it and back out to the game list to do it all over. It’s not a huge issue, but it makes the whole process much more of a hassle than it ought to be. If you could batch delete games from cloud storage, it’d be as simple as selecting the biggest offenders, the games you never intend to go back to, the random alphas and betas for games like Battlefield Hardline and Destiny, then be done with the whole thing in about a minute.

But you can’t. Instead, you’ll be staring at this screen a lot as it loads in each subsequent page of information:

Of course, that’s a temporary solution anyway. Eventually, I will run out of random alphas, betas, demos and games I’m willing to trash, and will eventually be left with a bunch of my favorite games all vying for the same paltry 1 GB of storage. Microsoft, on the other hand, offers “unlimited” cloud storage for Xbox One players and Steam offers a variable (but generous) amount of cloud storage per each game.

On neither platform should you have to worry about managing your online storage, but on PlayStation 4, you’ll pay $50/year for a service that only offers you a single gigabyte for every save you’ve ever had. It’s archaic and Sony desperately needs to increase the storage space it offers its paying customers.

I have 65 GB (and continually growing) on my Gmail account, and I don’t pay Google a dime for that. Maybe Sony can just borrow a few gigabytes from that.