Day One Game Updates Annoy More Than Expected

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Day One Game Updates Annoy More Than Expected

For the longest time, one of the great things about console gaming was that a game was ready to go, out of the box, and would continue to be so until there was some kind of update. New content, a few fixes, things like that; for the most part, these were welcome, and they didn't really slow down the game much. But these days, we're seeing a lot more day one updates going out, and that's starting to hamper a lot of people's gaming fun. It's getting sufficiently bad that, according to reports, even Sony's not happy about it.

Day one updates are nothing new. One of the worst in recent memory came with the release of “Dead Rising 3,” requiring a massive 13 gigabyte update before the game could even be played, and it was far from alone. I spent last weekend with a copy of “Dying Light,” and while there was a much smaller 1.4 gigabyte update required, it was still a good few hours before I could get fully into the action. Yes, I could play the opening tutorial, which was welcome enough, but when I was staring at that elevator down to the streets that said a download was in progress, my heart fairly dropped. Thankfully, it didn't take much longer after that, but still; the block was the block.

Indeed, Sony's Jim Ryan felt my pain, and said that Sony plans to “tighten up” its practices, presumably to protect against this kind of thing. Of course, Ryan also noted that “'s virtually impossible for us to QA (subject to quality assurance) that online experience”, so there may not be a complete end to the process, but at least a minimization.

No one likes day one updates, with the possible exception of the publisher. These constantly get in the way of a gameplay experience, making it difficult to enjoy a game right out of the box. That's not good news. By way of comparison, I'll take a look at two games: “Dying Light” and “Minecraft”, both on Xbox One, Yes, they're fundamentally different games and by design, but I could get right into “Minecraft” immediately after downloading (and it's still every bit as fun as it was on the 360, and then some; the world is so much bigger than it was before and I don't think I've even seen every part of the first world I got into. It took me somewhere around three to four hours to finally hit the streets of Harran, and though it was a terrific experience much unlike anything I've done before—but oddly reminiscent of “Dead Island” with a lot more parkour—having some fun for a lot longer might well make for a better experience than having a lot of fun after a huge disappointing delay.

One thing is clear, though; the day one download is getting in the way of a lot of fun, and that's not a recipe for long term success. Hopefully, there can be an end to the day one downloads, or at least a comparative minimizing of same. Games need to be mostly ready to go right out of the box, and every one that isn't is a disservice to the gaming community.

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