Mar 26, 2012
Angry Birds Space launched recently, and much like a space-bound rocket, it took off to the top of pretty much any chart it could be on. One notable feature was omitted from the game â€“ cloud-based saving. Rovio announced a while back that they were working on an Angry Birds Sync service, that has yet to materialize. How has the world reacted to this notable omission? By barely reacting at all, if the lack of discussion on social media is a reliable indicator. There are a few tweets here and there grousing about the omission, but it’s apparently not enough of a deal for people to go out and be angry about it.
So, if the biggest franchise in the world releasing a new game without cloud-based synchronization between even devices on the same platform is not a big deal, do people really care? Perhaps not. Maybe the number of people that like to play between devices is so few that it’s just not worth the headaches to implement.
And really, whenever I speak to developers about implementing cloud saves in their own games, they do mention that it’s headache-inducing. There are so many possible errors that come up, from the same game being loaded up on multiple linked devices, to what happens when a device goes offline, that many just prefer not to mess with it. While I frequently mention the omission of cloud-based saving in games (especially on iOS where the iPad/iPhone split is prominent, and iCloud does exist as a solution), it’s something not being picked up en masse.
But maybe users aren’t complaining because they don’t know that it’s something that is technically possible. The “cloud” in general is a confusing concept, one that requires explanation to non-technical people. It’s something they use every day with their email, or even accessing Twitter or Facebook, but the idea of the cloud is obscure. So, people may not even realize that it’s technically possible for games to transfer their data from one device to another, even from one platform to another.
And really, the frustrating thing is that off-the-shelf tools for cloud synchronization exist. Apple has the much-ballyhooed iCloud service that few games implement â€“ and even fewer implement in an error-free way. OrangePixel’s games all synchronize between devices using OpenFeint â€“ even between operating systems! OrangePixel is a one man studio from Holland. So, while it may not be easy, if it’s possible for one person to use a free service to synchronize game saves, surely my Angry Birds Space scores can transfer from my Xoom to my iPod touch?
Of course, why should Rovio spend the work implementing it if no one really cares?