Saturday, 21 August 2010

Net-Connected Consoles with Hard Drives Deliver Poor Quality Games

A while ago, I bought Uncharted 2 for the PS3. Unfortunately, with the arrival of my daughter into the world, it was one of those titles that barely got loaded at first.

Today, I put the disk into the console, and then BAM!, several hundred megabytes of updates are required before I can play the game. It would appear that there have been one or two bugs in the shipped version.

Which got me wondering: why, with the console's predecessors, was this never an issue? The answer is kinda obvious: you've got a network, a hard drive and a very competitive market. With previous generations of console, you had to make damn sure that what you burned onto that CD for shipping was a quality product. Your update channel amounted to a return of the physical medium for a fixed copy. Not very attractive. Now, however, you can ship with any half-arsed, bug-ridden product and patch it later.

One thing that console games used to have over their PC siblings was that they just worked. Stick the disk in and go. No configuring audio and video drivers, no checking the specs of your machine against the overly optimistic listings on the side of the box (only to find out that the screen shots on the packaging must have been taken from some next-generation video hardware), and no patching shoddy software with updates to fix problems that should never have made it through testing.

EDIT: apparently, a couple of hundred megabytes of patches aren't enough. It took only a half hour of playing (in the raid on the museum in Instanbul) to be bitten by this glitch:


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