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It's been a year... Why is iCloud support still so rare?

10-15-2012, 10:24 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,711
It's been a year... Why is iCloud support still so rare?

When I start a game at home on my iPad and continue it in the exact same spot during a break at work on my iPhone, it really feels like the future. In my opinion, it's the best thing to happen to iOS gaming since the Appstore.

So why don't more devs use it?

There have been one or two other threads about this already, so I apologize for making a new one, but I feel like it needs to be on the table more than it currently is. It's such an amazing feature and almost no one bothers to implement it. Most of the arguments against it I've seen are that it can be unreliable at times and is difficult to implement correctly. However, I've had great success with a number of games using it flawlessly (like Wimp) and it feels amazing. In fact, these days I don't even bother to download a game to my iPhone unless it supports iCloud (which means I have only a handful now).

As for it being difficult to properly implement... has this been fixed yet? Is it any easier now? Can developers who have used it successfully share with others how to do it?

In my opinion, iCloud should be standard in most Universal games. I guess I'll keep waiting...

My power-pop band is on iTunes.
10-15-2012, 10:49 PM
Joined: May 2012
Location: In the Chatroom
Posts: 15,519
Especially for any game larger than 250 mb, wish it was required for large programs.

10-15-2012, 11:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,704
Maybe your experience is different, but in my experience probably greater than half of games that support iCloud have bugs, many of which cause progress loss and likely put a strain on customer service for the developers. I wonder if that's why it isn't more universally used.
10-16-2012, 01:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 122
iCloud seems a piece of cake when you think of it as a save file for one person stored on a remote server. Unfortunatelly that's not the only situation it's going to be used for. Imagine you and your kid/brother/sister playing on different devices with one account (it's pretty common that several devices in one household share Apple ID). You would be messing each other's progress then. And guess who would you blame for that? No, not the other players but the devs. There are, of course, situations, where it's fairly simple to implement, but most of the time the problems seem to just multiply by themselves and many occasions to "cheat" or mess up the save file emerge. From the dev's point of view it would be best to have one account per person (player) and since they can't control it - they choose not to expose themselves to negative feedback more than it is necessary.
10-16-2012, 01:53 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,711
Originally Posted by Royce View Post
Maybe your experience is different, but in my experience probably greater than half of games that support iCloud have bugs, many of which cause progress loss and likely put a strain on customer service for the developers. I wonder if that's why it isn't more universally used.
That was my experience for the first few iCloud supported games I tried as well, but it seems to be getting better now.

As for the thing about people who share a device with friends or family, it seems like it'd be fairly simple to have a prompt when you first launch a game that says "Super Hippo Smash 3 HD lite uses iCloud. Would you like to enable it and sync your progress between devices?" and they could choose No.
10-16-2012, 04:55 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 122
That's the problem - you can't be sure they will and you have to be prepared they won't, in order not to get a negative feedback. Again, everything goes smooth when people use it the way it should be used (or as we think it should be), but the minute something goes wrong - even if it's because the user pressed "Yes" where he/she should have pressed "No" - it's still the developer's fault. Let's give them one star rating for that.
10-16-2012, 05:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 11,350
I LOVE iOS gaming, have an iphone/ipad/ipod but have never bothered with iCloud at all. Got over 600 games installed on my ipod but have never felt the need to play it on one of my other iOS gadgets.

iCloud doesnt seem that popular really and like you say hasnt really taken off. I just play certain games on my ipad and prefer to play certain games on my ipod. Granted i'm just one person but all my 'ios friends' i talk to via email dont bother with iCloud whatsoever.

iCloud could be great for storing files etc but the prices are ridiculous compared to other services even Dropbox who arent exactly the cheapest.
10-16-2012, 08:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,943
As others have mentioned, it's probably harder to implement correctly and reliability for all cases without risking negative reviews. If it really was easy, it would probably be more widely supported.

Maybe if all games would put in multiple save slots for the multiple accounts issue, and just use iCloud to backup all save slots can be an option. But you have to make sure if 2 people isn't using 2 different devices in 2 different save slots won't accidentally overwrite over each others' files.

Anyways, it's something that can get messy quickly, even if the concept of iCloud sounds easy and straightforward. And no matter how much dev's test, there's bound to be some strange cases that happens.

I actually like some games that gives you a prompt warning you there's a new iCloud back up from a different device, and asks you for confirmation if you want to load it or not. At least if I messed up picking which save, it feels like its my fault and not blame the dev.

Last edited by tops2; 10-16-2012 at 08:59 AM.
10-16-2012, 09:18 AM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 2,377
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Steam cloud has been around for at least three or four years now-- longer than iCloud-- and only a handful of games use it. It also has its own fair share of bugs and issues (as many players who had Dungeons of Dredmor data erased or corrupted by Steam's servers can tell you). So if the guys who have been in digital distribution longer and on a much larger scale can't manage it, then Apple is probably in the same boat. Cloud computing is still a very new thing and everyone's making it up as they go.

As devices become even more of a family shared thing, I am sure that demand will increase. But right now it's mostly a feature for a small subset of gamers, not for a majority of iDevice users. In general, however, when enough customers ask for it, it gets implemented. This happens a lot with productivity type apps that take notes or share documents-- iCloud is basically standard for the most popular and best selling ones.

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10-16-2012, 09:40 AM
For developers, it can come down to cost/benefit. iCloud support can be tricky to implement and test in all the possible cases (example: one device that's been offline for 6 months, running a significantly older version of the game, then tries to sync). Will it sell enough extra copies to justify the additional work?

It can seem better to play it safe and not support it, than risk savegame-destroying bugs (and 1* ratings) in unusual cases that weren't forseen/tested.

In comparison, Game Center is very easy to support, adds a lot of value (some people just love competing on the leaderboards) and it's low-risk if things go wrong (it might fail to update a score/unlock an achievement, but it won't destroy your savegame)

As an owner of several iDevices, I'd love to see more titles supporting it. But I can understand why often they choose not to.