I just got the PS4 of a friend and noticed that many games use the builtin save manager.

What bugs me is, that the manager asks you if you are really sure you want to save the game, even when you chose to create a new save game, so there is no way to lose any existing data. It even asks you to confirm, that the save game has been created, which should basically always be the case.

Limited disk space should also not be a concern, when a save game is only 10 MB in size. And even if it was huge, it would only fail, not damage anything.

I'm wondering, what this check is meant to prevent, that makes it worth to include an additional interaction, that is, I would say, unnecessary in 99% of times.

The only thing I can imagine is preventing an accidental creation of a new save, but I don't see the problem in that either, since you can always overwrite another one again, from the same menu.

Combined with the slow screen transitions it makes this feel incredibly sluggish.

  • it probably should be overwriting the current "save state", are you sure that all of the saved items available seperately? Otherwise it seems meaningless tough.. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:15
  • How does this compare to the experience of say Xbox? I am not a console gamer so it is hard to comment on this, but I am curious about the variations and answers that people come up with.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, the Reason is Likely Tradition and Insecurity


Confirmation dialogs have long been used to prevent mistakes in software. They are easy to implement and they defer responsibility from the engineers/software to the user. They are useful as the Nielsen Norman Group points out in this article as long as they are well designed.

A more modern and user friendly practice is the "undo" tool. The software commits the action (or, at least appears to) and provides an option for a user to undo if a mistake was made. This solution is not as popular due to the programming complexity needed to implement it.


Alan Cooper introduced a concept of software being considerate the same way we expect people to be considerate. An aspect of being a considerate person (and software app) is being self-confident.

These dialogs are not an examples of self-confidence, but examples of insecurity. The software asks for your permission with each step much like an insecure personal assistant asking "So you want me to shred this document?" and "You want me to use this shredder here?" These questions from a position of insecurity are meant to defer all responsibility to you.

They are Likely Not Necessary

A design principle taken from Alan Cooper's About Face 3 is:

Don't stop the proceedings with idiocy

As you mention, this requires you to take extra steps, but those steps don't make you feel more in control of the system or provide context to prevent mistakes. These would typically be the reasons to slow a user down while executing a task.


Timer... the game begins to save without user prompt, but the timer displays indicating the user can opt out in N seconds (while the game continues on with no further interruption - whilst displaying the opt out input required). Also note that most games reserve a AutoSave feature for automatica snapshotting so combine the two and it - should - be seamless.

  • Maybe my question was not specific enough, but I was talking about an additional menu interaction, when I, the user, initiate the saving process through the normal builtin save manager menu. While your answer is an interesting alternative, I was looking for an explanation on why the current way was implemented.
    – Minix
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 9:59

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