GT5 fans, hold on to your PS3′s! (The brief history of game save locking)


Your garage in GT5

One inconvenience for users who want to buy their second PS3 for a variety of reasons, or simply continue a game at a friend’s house, is locked game saves. In the early times of PS3, few games, if any, used locked game saves. This allowed people to share their save files, not a bad thing at all, but also allowed the users to easily backup their game saves, take it anywhere, and continue their game on another PS3. The open nature of the save files also lead to some save file hacking, with the potential to give unfair advantage to users in competitive multiplayer or leader boards. That’s the major negative side of unlocked saves.

After the introduction of trophies, the importance of verifying the validity of the trophies were paramount to the success of trophies. Rampant cheating to earn trophies would nullify the aim of introducing the trophies in the first place. Cheating in single player is a way to play, and can be entertaining, so devs came up forms of “legal cheating” which allowed users to enjoy perks, at the expense of trophies: One prime example is God of War 3, which disables trophies when you use certain items.

The trophies meant that user shouldn’t have been able to give themselves advantages through cheating by modifying the game save, or to earn trophies only by modifying the save. Game save locking began… With one big, horrendous mistake on Sony’s part. Games that are save-locked are locked to the specific PS3 that the game is being played on. This is utterly pointless and inconvenient, as you cannot move your saves to another PS3, or back it up for restoring to another PS3 if a catastrophe occurred. People who have multiple PS3′s cannot continue their game on their second PS3′s. Such locked saves cannot be transferred to other PS3′s, even through system backup. This is not acceptable, but since most games are 7-8 hours long, and your bragging rights are safe by means of the trophy system, most games may be forgiven for locking their games using this manner, although I still cannot comprehend why games are not being locked to PSN ID instead of a specific PS3. I don’t know who in their right mind thought this was the best method to ensure the security of save files.

While I say the 8 hour typical single player games can be forgiven. the game save locks pose a big threat to GT fans, who will pour hundreds of hours to the game. Continuing the game on another PS3 will not be possible. Any permanent problem with the hardware will result in the loss of all those beautiful cars in the garage. The blame would rest on Sony, as they have made it impossible to backup such games another system. GT5 is an endless game. Fans will play it until GT6 or even afterwards. Such a game needs to provide more convenient methods to ensure the safety of the player’s achievements.

Sony should provide libraries to developers for locking saves to PSN ID’s, and important games such as GT5 should be patched as soon as possible. This will allow people to backup their saves while providing security for the Trophy system. This will allow people to continue their games on different PS3′s they own. This will allow more hardware sales. It may sound weird, but people would be more inclined to buy a second PS3 for variety of reasons, if they knew they could transfer their saves. Owning multiple PS3′s is not unheard of, and I dare say it would be more common if Sony fixed this problem.


Written by: Emrah - News Contributor


  1. #1 by EdEN on November 27th, 2010 [ 139651 Points ]

    If a game has an online component then 99% of the time the save will be locked to the console. It doesn’t only happen at Sony since Nintendo also implements locks on online enabled games (my Super Smash Bros save file won’t move anywhere for all of eternity). This, I guess, is to prevent people from using saves from other users to gain unfair advantages but locking saves to a console is still far from the greatest solution. Another way would be to lock them to a user ID (our PSN IDs could be the case) and don’t allow for saves from different users.

  2. #2 by Busy dad on November 27th, 2010

    What frustrates me too is the fact that, while I enjoy playing some of the challenges, I simply don’t have the luxury of dumping “hundreds of hours” into a game. Honestly, I’d like to be able to just simply play all cars and levels at my leisure. Basically have a “god (dad) mode” that unlocks everything for those who just want the “real driving experience”.

    I’m half ready to pay some college kid to just level-up my account.

  3. #3 by hobbes on November 28th, 2010 [ 30476 Points ]

    I believe you can connect 2 ps3′s and use the transfer feature to transfer locked content. This could be helpful in the situation where your ps3 still boots and yet doesn’t work completely, and you can then transfer everything to a new ps3.

  4. #4 by hobbes on November 28th, 2010 [ 30476 Points ]

  5. #5 by MrHyde229 on November 28th, 2010

    First of all, locking save files to the PS3 serial number and not the user PSN ID was a monumental fail on Sony’s part and this will have to be fixed someday. Additionally, I doubt using unlocked saves to boost trophies collections is common since it’s so personal and friends can figure out you didn’t finish Red Dead Redemption overnight where your trophy collection claims you earned all the trophies at the exact same time. No one will buy the I was offline excuse by a hard core gamer.

    One other complaint: as long as companies sell DLC to unlock stuff like cars and tracks they should never lock save files. Seriously. I give Hot Pursuit credit for not locking the save when they offered that. Now if only I can see if my EA Online pass for the game can be used on other PS3s using my PSN ID…

  6. #6 by Paranoimia on November 28th, 2010

    Hobbes – that system works fine, but relies on both PS3s being operational. Which is okay for people buying another PS3 through choice.

    But what if your PS3 should suffer YLOD or some other terminal problem, such as a hard drive failure?

    The current system basically means that if you want to back up your PS3 system and saves completely, then you MUST buy another PS3.

    PSN IDs are as unique as PS3 serial numbers/MAC addresses – it should be simple enough to lock saves to those, rather than the physical hardware unit.

  7. #7 by Emrah on November 28th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    Hobbes: Thanks for the very good information. The other downside of this that is not mentioned is that the contents on the original Ps3 is being erased.

    But it is great for people who like to upgrade and leave his PS3 behind without his game save catalogue. The transfer is also great for people who have non fatal errors such as a blu-ray drive failure, and who want to upgrade to slim instead of paying for the replacement.

  8. #8 by hobbes on November 28th, 2010 [ 30476 Points ]

    @paranoimia it’d still work with harddrive failure, as long has you had it back up. step 1. put in new hard drive, into old machine, restore from backup to old machine, if you move to new machine follow the guide. I would have really liked this feature a while ago when my ps3 was freezing up on me frequently, i but a newer ps3. I may get a slim at some point and use this feature.

  9. #9 by shadowcrazy on November 28th, 2010 [ 325 Points ]

    all I can say is locked saves was the most retarded thing ever invented…and I’ll be damned if I have to restart Demon’s Souls a 3rd time for a YLOD and a locked save

    this needs to stop and previous games with locks should make a patch update…it’s annoying and I can’t take it anymore…I want to be able to back up ALL my saves to feel safe in the event that my PS3 YLOD or something…but now?…i can’t help but shake in fear everytime I play a game with a locked save and wonder if the power goes out what will become of the save.

    fix this SONY…fix is IMMEDIATELY

  10. #10 by zero3 on December 2nd, 2010

    I really hate those locked saves!!!! I was 8% close to getting plat in SF4 when my phat PS3 died and then boom! All countless hours of trying and perfecting character trials lost! I will never re-try them again as I’ve spent more than 150 hours of playing time just to get platinum. Now, here the funny part: SSF4 save files are not locked anymore(F*CK you should have thought it before!). Now, here it is again on GT5. I just hope they change it to psn id locked before it’s too late!!!

  11. #11 by Emrah on December 2nd, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    zero3: Hope is on the way, Kazunori somewhere mentioned they will add back up functionality.


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