Microsoft moving Xbox 360 storage into the cloud

Mike Flacy

Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 update to cloud storage is slowly rolling out this week.  It allows Xbox 360 owners to access their content on any Xbox 360 without having to rely on transporting a hard drive or memory card.  Microsoft’s Xbox Live cloud service stores game saves and gamertags remotely on secure servers, thus users are able to log into any console and bring up their saved games. This replaces Microsoft’s Gamertag recovery initiative, and acts as a data backup in case of console failure.  Users replacing a broken Xbox 360 won’t have to transfer all their data, but rather access it immediately on the new console when connecting to the cloud.

Currently, the only Xbox 360 games using cloud storage are Xbox Live Arcade titles, as Microsoft is rolling out the service in stages. Once the fall Xbox 360 UI update releases, Microsoft will be supporting all Xbox Live titles.  Other user data moving into the cloud includes achievements, friend lists and Xbox marketplace points. Microsoft showed off cloud storage at E3 2011 this year when demoing the new Xbox 360 dashboard as well as the rest of the 2011-2012 gaming lineup.

This brings Microsoft in line with Sony, as the PlayStation 3 has been offering cloud storage to all PlayStation Plus subscribers since March 2011.  PS3 owners can upload up to 150MB of saved data into the cloud, and up to 1,000 files in total.  Users can download single files one time every 24-hour period, but uploading multiple files per day is perfectly fine.  The download restriction is designed to discourage friends from sharing PlayStation Plus accounts.  Nintendo has yet to announce any online plans for cloud storage of user data or game saves.