Survey: Consumers aren’t too high on the cloud (storage & services)

Sony added cloud game saving to its PlayStation 3 console last week as part of the new 3.60 firmware update, but that doesn’t mean everyone is singing the technology’s praises. A survey published by research and analysis firm Parks Associates at the start of the month asked consumers what they thought of the cloud. The response was split.

Survey: Consumers aren't too high on the cloud (storage & services)

Focusing on broadband users (i.e. consumers who would benefit from cloud storage), the report discovered a disconnect among the tech savvy respondents when the subject of cloud storage was broached. While 50% of those polled favored specific aspects of an online locker – such as data back-up in case of deletion or corruption on the user end and access to myriad content across different platforms, less than 30% said they believed cloud storage was a viable option for multimedia.

Although fewer folks were behind saving on the cloud, the interest in its benefits is substantial.

“In terms of rich media, consumers want everything, everywhere, and companies are actively seeking ways to deliver,” said Laura Allen Phillips, an analyst with the company. “Netflix and Verizon’s Flexview offer cloud video services, and cloud-based music solutions include MOG, RealNetworks Unifi, and mSpot.”

Unsurprisingly, saving music ranked highest among consumers’ interest in digital lockers. Storing digital photos, movies and television programming, and DVR files was also highly appealing. Game saving on the cloud garnered only 15% of consumer’s interest.

Sony is the first game console manufacturer to offer cloud access on its PlayStation 3. PlayStation Plus subscribers, who pay $50/year for benefits such as free games (for the span of the subscription, anyway) and other offers, now boast exclusive access to online game data back-ups as well.

While the inclusion might seem a waste on a game console based on the poll’s results, the general consensus among content providers seems to be cautious optimism. Disney is just one studio researching how to make its move to an online-centric storage system and woo consumers in the process – however difficult that task may be. The company’s long-discussed “Keychest” system has yet to see release.

“Taken as a whole, this market is fragmented, leaving consumers to cobble solutions together,” said Allen Phillips. “Industry growth and consumer adoption rates of cloud-based services will rely on how effectively market players address this issue as well as other challenges.” (Home Media Magazine via Parks Associates)