In the recent Xbox 360 update Microsoft took new measures to stop people sharing game saves and I think it’s a good idea…

I love being able to share save data, it means that if I get stuck or don’t have the time to complete 1001 inane side quests to see the secret ending in Kingdom Hearts 2 I can download the save of someone who has and see that oh-so-secret trailer for myself in perfect quality instead of grainy Youtube-o-vision. In other cases sharing a save with someone may be the only way they can progress in the game if they’re using a PS2 disc on a Playstation 3. Some people say “what’s the point in buying a game then using a save to complete it?” It’s my game, I paid the money for it and I’ll do what I like, I don’t sit behind you when you’re doing your tax return asking why you spent £10000 on speed boat when you live no where near water. Truth be told, I’ve never used a save to complete a game, I just like sharing and having the option open to me to experience things I might not get to see in my limited game time. Many years ago I even produced a save that unlocked a level in a game that the developers had removed and was inaccessible any other way, recent saves I have made unlock or add features that the game designers didn’t intend to be accessible to the public. Save sharing is good

Until the Xbox 360 arrived that is.

With Microsoft’s new console they added Gamerscores where you receive points for unlocking achievements in the game. Usually they add up to nothing but a score to compare with your friends but Microsoft have now started competitions where you can win real prizes for gaining so many points in a race against other gamers all over the world.
When I heard of Microsoft’s black listing of saves I quickly made a utility to see if a save is on the blacklist and therefore unusable on other consoles than the one it was made on and set out to learn a bit more about the Xbox 360 save sharing scene. I was disgusted to find that instead of the useful saves sharing scene there had been for many years, spanning many consoles, the Xbox 360 saves scene was full of people wanting nothing more than saves to unlock more gamerscore points. I even saw threads requesting saves for certain titles with the largest Gamerscores on them, no doubt very useful if you are trying to win yourself some prizes.

I’ve been on the save sharing scene for many years now, am the authority on PS2 saves and I wholly agree with the steps Microsoft have taken in this latest update. The use of shared game saves to artificially increase Gamerscore, especially when competitions are being run where these cheaters stand gain from it, is deplorable. In some ways I am glad I never released the Xbox 360 saves backup software I wrote as I would hate to be responsible for the dirty tactics I have seen used to cheat your way to the top.

I understand a new method to still share games saves is being tested, I for one hope that this cheating of others is laid to rest for good or that Microsoft finds a way to stop people cheating Gamerscores but still allows the sharing of saves, be it to show of your best character in Tony Hawks or to help someone past a difficult area in a game.