The current state of updates in modern gaming

big updates title

How recently have you bought a brand new game, paid full price, and brought it home only to be greeted with a massive, several gigabyte update?
Oh it happens every time? Yeah, I know right. It’s not okay, and we need to talk about it.

Basically every AAA game to release in the last few years has come with what we’re calling the “day one patch”. Now, in a lot of cases, this is okay. Not great, but okay. You’ll get over it.
Where I take issue however, is when these updates exceed roughly the 2GB mark. As here, things start taking a while, and eating into what should be game time. 

Or worse, it eats into someones limited internet. Like myself, for example. I live in a very rural area, and don’t have access to the likes of fibre broadband and whatnot. My internet has a monthly data cap which I can’t exceed.
Due to this, in many cases, when a game I’m enjoying or one I just bought receives a beefy update, I usually have to just leave it.
Perhaps the biggest offender here is Final Fantasy 15. That game straight-up released unfinished, and they knew it. Their plan to action though? Updates updates updates.

This is all fine and good if you live in New York or somewhere, with steady, reliable connections, but in my case I’m now sitting on a 16GB update that I simply cannot install because it’s just too much data for me to use up on something like that.
The very same thing happened recently, when I picked up a used copy of The Witcher 3, popped in the disc, only to be greeted with an 18GB update?! That’s simply bonkers.

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Game companies are doing this intentionally too. In their eyes, it’s now okay to give people a release date before they should, putting massive pressure on their employees to finish the game so they can ship it.
This leads to some fairly serious issues such as the one that cropped up at Rockstar recently, with employees working 100 hour weeks during this “crunch time”.
In no way is that okay.
A good company will prolong the release of the game, not only so they ship it in a finished state, but for the health of their employees.

To be fair, there are definitely companies out there that will release their titles only when totally completed. A perfect example is Nintendo.
I mean, there was no large update when Breath of the Wild released. In fact, was there one at all? If there was, it was very insignificant.
This is how things should be. When you’re putting so much money into something like a game, you deserve to be given a complete product in return.
In a lot of cases now though, what you’re buying on release date is the “almost finished” haphazardly thrown together in areas game, that overworked employees have got in place for their deadline.
This comes with the promise of  “We’ll finish debugging and polishing via an update two months later”.
That’s… That’s not right.
Not only can you not trust a shiny new product, even when buying it a couple of months later, you’re greeted with a hefty update in order to launch the more finalised version, which is of course the version you’ll want to be playing.

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We’ve gone from headlines such as “-game title- has a day one update!” to “-game title’s- day one update is -this big-“.
You see? It’s become expected, the norm.

Don’t let this become so normalised. Speak up, let these companies know that you are willing to wait for the finished title, that you are not okay with buying unfinished products, and that you most certainly will not stand for the developers in this industry being made to work themselves to the bone in order to release these games.

Published by

Ryan McCarthy

I write about games a lot.

2 thoughts on “The current state of updates in modern gaming”

  1. I feel one thing that could really help fight this is by PlayStation and Xbox doing what Nintendo does for games that require day one downloads- putting that horrible label on the game case. Its put me off buying Switch games that require big patches (like LA Noire) because it’s so ugly, so it might discourage some developers from having big day one patches.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that’s not a bad idea actually. “Ya’ll better finish your games or you’ll get a big ugly sticker on your box”. Could actually work!

      I’m with you on avoiding those Switch boxes though. Always think I might as well just get the full digital download

      Liked by 1 person

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