Installing Xbox One Games Takes Way Too Long

Installing Xbox One Games Takes Way Too Long

We wanted to test the install times of both new consoles, so we plugged a PS4 into an Xbox One's TV input and watched them race to install a game. You can see in our video, there's a big difference in the two systems.

Both the Xbox One and PS4 require all games to be installed from the disc, due to the increasing size of games and the relatively low speed of optical drives. So both consoles have a feature that allows you to launch a game as soon as enough content is installed to begin running it, while the rest of the data continues to install in the background. Our test was how long it takes to launch the game from the time you insert a disc, with a normal console connected to the internet.

We tested six multiplatform games on both consoles and every time, the PS4 was under a minute while the Xbox One install was several minutes long and required downloading an update before beginning the installation. When you include downloading those updates for each Xbox One game that happen in the background on PS4, the install times can get as high as fifteen minutes before you can even launch the game.

Remember that this is only a test of how long the games initially take to install. Once the games are fully installed, they take about the same amount of time to boot up on either console.

So here's the general idea: You put in a game to install it, a progress bar comes up, and at some point you can launch the game and start playing while it keeps installing.

On PS4, after inserting a disc, you'll be shown a progress bar that ends when you're able to launch the game, and if there's a day-one update, it downloads in the background, and you can install it when you want to play online or whatever the case may be for that update.

On Xbox One, you insert a disc and are shown a progress bar showing the percentage of the full installation, and when enough is installed to run the game, you'll see a message that says "Ready to Start!" The only difference is that the installation from the disc doesn't seem to start until you've downloaded and installed the update.

Now, there's another big difference here. Both consoles will let you know when the game is ready to launch. But once you get into the game, some parts may not be finished installing. For ACIV and Battlefield 4, that would mean the multiplayer modes (on both platforms). However, it seems that Xbox One lets you launch a game even before some singleplayer content is ready. I tested this with Madden 25 on Xbox One. Once the game was "ready to start" most modes like Connected Franchise or Practice were locked off until the game was completely installed. However, after installing the same game on PS4, those modes were playable after the initial install, which took 38 seconds.

We tested Assassin's Creed IV on two different Xbox Ones, and had the same issue, resulting in standing in that beautiful Animus loading void while it installed the last bits of singleplayer content required to start the story. Although in that case it only required a couple of extra minutes to get those modes. Unlike Madden, the full disc didn't need to be installed. On both consoles, the game has a timer or progress meter in the main menu telling you the progress of the full install. So at least you aren't left blindly guessing when you'll be able to play.

Since all of the games we were testing required an update, we factored this into our times. On the PS4, they happened in the background and didn't affect our ability to install or begin the game, while on Xbox One, the installation from disc wouldn't begin until after the update finished.

I was using an Xbox One connected via Wi-Fi, getting about 9-11Mbps download speed, so we ran a test with another Xbox on a faster internet connection installing Assassin's Creed IV to see how much of a difference that could make in downloading the update. To give you an idea of the time difference the 300-500MB updates added, we tested installing Assassin's Creed IV on two consoles with the internet disconnected.

How Long Your First Install Will Take On PS4 And Xbox One

Assassin's Creed IV: Xbox One (offline, no update): 5 minutes 50 seconds

Xbox One (with update, fastest connection): 7 minutes 2 seconds

Xbox One (with update, 10Mbps connection): 10 minutes 32 seconds

PS4: 42 seconds

The rest of these were tested on our office Wi-Fi which is around 9-11Mbps. It may have been faster on a wired connection, but you can compare your own connection speed here. These are our results:

Need For Speed Rivals: XBO: 09:25 (including update)

PS4: 00:32

Just Dance 2014: XBO: 08:48 (including update)

PS4: 00:45

NBA Live 14:

XBO: 16:26 (including update)

PS4: 00:35

FIFA 14:

XBO: 16:06 (including update)

PS4: 00:34

Madden 25:

XBO: 9:38 (including update)

PS4: 00:38

Do you have an Xbox One or PS4? Time a test, and let us know what you get. Include your internet speed, and make sure to note any other important information. Like if you timed from putting the disc in to launching the game, or actually getting to gameplay, or some other metric.

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    Took a LOT longer than that for me, and I have 16meg ADSL2. I think it took me 5 mins to get to the ready to play point of AC4, no idea how long the actual install and update was.

    Can I Haz FTTP Naow?

      16mb connection and complaining #FirstWorldProblems
      I'm on 5MB .... I'm pretty sure i need a faster connection more than you

        I just moved house partially because I could only get a max of 1.5mb of adsl2 at the last, frequently lower.

      Just clarifying, when you say "meg" do you mean 'Mbps' or 'MBps', I presume the former and not the latter?

        Would have to be MBPS, since ADSL2+ has a theoretical speed of 24mbps max. 16 MB/s would be fibre and something that is faster than 100mbps.

    Everyone is so impatient these days.

      I would say people getting annoyed goes against the positive idea consoles have always had that you can buy a game, go home, then throw it in and start playing immediately. Kind of annoying when you're really excited for a game, only to find that you have to wait another 15 minutes before you can start.

        But it says on the box that it requires an install before you can play.

          As someone who buys games, not downloading them, I rather going to a store and getting a disk that allows me to play my game immediately, installing on ps3 was never a big problem only ever took 5 minutes most but i hope it isn't ridiculously long on PS4

          Well if it says it on the box then it can't possibly be an annoying addition to console game play.

            I threw DR3 in my console, launch day, after the Patch (which my horrific internet got through in about 10 minutes) the game installed to the point of playing after about 30 seconds.
            I dont understand, personally, where these numbers are coming from? Regardless, HONESTLY guys, who cares this much? Throw your game in, let it install for 5 minutes, go get yourself a drink, or some junkfood, then head back to your console and start playing.
            It is really not hard, or better yet, use some of the cool features of the console, and watch some vids, play some arcade games, pull out your phone and send a text. Any and all of these options, could put you well past the time it takes to install the game.
            Be patient, I remember the days of "please insert disc 8 to continue installation" or "insert floppy 10 to continue" and it took you about 40 minutes to get through the install.
            Honestly, everyone really is impatient.

        Pretty much this. The argument that always was thrown out in a PC vs Console discussion was that PC was worse as you had to sit and install, while Console was disc in and start playing.

        Instead now you have consoles needing to pre-install content, meanwhile Steam allows you to play as soon as the game is downloaded and Blizzard have been doing 'install-as-you-play' for a little while now for games like WoW or Diablo. PC gaming has been a lot easier in recent years.

        I've been waiting over 3 hours to play Ryde and its still going talk about pissed off

      AAAHHHH the days of dial miss them...
      I have 24mb connection so i cant,dont,wont complain.... others who have slower just be grateful you have a working connection.....

      As far as xbox one load times go its crap and they have really stuffed up this time....

    My straya interwebs pushed my install of Dead Rising 3 to around 45 minutes. No idea how long before I could play Ryse. I let that one install overnight.

    ACIV on PS4 was a minute.

    Last edited 28/11/13 8:12 am

    I'll go one step further and say I've had one or 2 installs hang. After waiting upwards of 30 minutes I've then had to restart the console to get them over the line. I suppose it didn't help that I queued up quite a bit on that first day. But really that is no excuse. I love my XBone - but this is something that needs to be addressed.

    There have been DNS issues for some Australian ISPs while downloading and installing Xbox One updates.
    Changing your DNS in the Xbox from your ISP or Automatic to Google seems to be a decent work around.

    I got the impression that a few of the Xbone games (although not necessarily the multiplatform ones) were designed from the beginning with an ‘always-on’ internet connection in mind.
    Basically that the disc would have minimal content on it, be used once and then the game would live disclessly on your Xbone from then on. I think for some of the launch window games it’s meant that the accompanying downloads for some titles have been pretty big (Forza 5 is 6gb I think).

    Basically what I’m hoping is that as we get away from the hurried launch window games will stop requiring such large day 1 downloads and that might alleviate the problem by a few minutes.

    Either way it’s pretty ridiculous that the annoying installs that bothered people during the PS3 era, but which the 360 largely avoided, have now found their way to the Xbone only.

    My FTTP is being installed next week, so I am hoping this incredibly slow installation time might be at least 10 seconds quicker for the updates :)

    Looks like Sony listened to all the complaints about updates and installs taking so long on the ps3. Microsoft said nah, fuck you guys.

    That is just an insane difference. Surely Microsoft doesn't believe that is acceptable given the time to get into the game on a PS4. Crikey.

      Sony released the PS3 well after the 360 but only the PS3 had long install times (longer than those Xbone times).

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s still shit, I just don’t think it’s an end of the world deal breaker.
      There’s a lot bigger things that Sony has done better than MS this generation which they should be concentrating on before this!

        Really? Cuz this is the first thing I've seen that has made me reconsider getting an Xbone? So what else has Sony done that's so much better?

          Well it’s smaller, cheaper and more powerful. So that’s three VERY good reasons right off the bat.

          Don’t get me wrong, I bought an Xbone last week and I won’t be buying a PS4 tomorrow, but it’s only because I’ve traditionally been an Xbox guy and I think the launch window games on the Xbone are a little more exciting.
          You’d have to have your head in the sand not to understand that there’s some things that Sony have done better than Microsoft in the very early stages of this new generation.

          A 15 minute wait would never be a deal breaker for me, especially when you’re talking launch window games that were rushed out the door. If you whack the disc in as soon as you get home you can get changed, have a shower and make yourself a nice drink before you settle into your gaming session most of the time. The only situation where it would really bug me is if I had a mate over and we were going to try one of his games for a multiplayer session. Not saying it’s a good thing by any means, just that personally I’m not that upset by the short wait.

          I’m planning on downloading most games this generation off XBL providing the cost is fairly competitive. I was actually a big fan of the original ‘always-on’ Xbone and would like to keep my gaming discless if possible. I would imagine that downloading the game in the first place would remove the need to re-install it. Has anybody checked that?

            LOL I have as many XBLA/GoD games on my 360 as disc games. I'm all for it so long as the price is reasonable

    I was wondering if the PS4 was quicker or not.

    Also why don't any of the PS4 times include the update, but all the Xbone ones do? That's not really a fair comparison.

    The size of the updates on the Xbone are killing me too, 6 Gig for Forza on launch night, everything else is about a Gig or so, went to launch Killer Instinct last night, and it said that it had to update, ok fair enough, 3GB WTF! That's pretty much the size of the freaking game.

    Not even a week in and the updates for just two games (Forza and Killer Instinct) are a total of 9GB, that's almost 20% of my download quota.


      It's measuring the time until you can play the game. The Xbone won't start installing the game until the update is downloaded, while the PS4 will install first, and let you launch the game without the update.

      Apparently because you can play the game on the PS4 while the update is being downloaded and then choose when to install the update while you have to wait for the update on the Xbone.

      It's not a fair comparison only because one makes you wait for the update while the other doesn't.

        Xbox One (offline, no update): 5 minutes 50 seconds
        PS4: 42 seconds.

        That's a pretty fair comparison - same operation, put disc in, wait to start game.

        It's a perfectly fair comparison. It's comparing how long it takes from when you put the disc in to when you can start playing. What's unfair about that? The fact the systems handle it in different ways doesn't make it an unfair comparison.

        This pisses me off about how wrong of you are
        Firstly you can go offline with your Xbox one and avoid these updates if you are keen to play, Games can play while the update is downloading, forza 5 works at 10% (combination of download update and disc install total) allowing you to play and experience your drivatar AI friends all over your roads haha
        These massive day one updates for Xbox One will be gone soon, as all the launch titles were predominately intended to be played always online.

          So you're telling me that you need to go through the trouble of disconnecting your Xbox One from the internet so you can play a game quicker? Seems a bit weird that you'd need to go to such a measure to get a game to a playable state faster.

    Yeah have definitely noticed this as an issue, it's funny (by which I mean intensely annoying), this was one of my most hated things with my PS3 and now it's made it's way to xbox and been avoided on PS4...

    Also doesn't help that our internet at home is total rubbish, cod installed overnight (also pretty sure it hung more than once) and dead rising took AGES. Thankfully set up forza and Ryse in the office before I went home on launch day so used fibre to download those :)

    Anyway will be curious to see how this changes once we're not talking about the launch games anymore, it is certainly a frustration and when I pick up my ps4 it'll be something to consider when deciding which version to buy of multiplatform games.

    Is it a slow news day or something? Some people are just so impatient.

    So you are running your tests by plugging the PS4 into the XBO and then having both systems start their install at the same time?

    Could that set-up be adding extra overhead to the Xbox?

      Judging by my XBOX One's speeds these reports actually seem faster than you should expect not slower. They're obviously not the most scientific benchmarking tests but I don't think anyone will deny the basic principal is correct - the XBOX One takes a long time to install.

        Which speed assumptions are you working off that would make you assume that those install times are faster than you would expect?

        Those times are about in line with my experiences of installing Xbone games.

          My own XBOX One and a friends. Mine are dramatically slower for some reason, but their 16 minutes for FIFA 14 was at least 30 minutes on my friends and a laughable 16 hours on mine.

          All I'm saying is that if overhead is somehow being added to the XBOX One by having a PS4 running through the HDMI input it's not what is causing the massive gap between PS4 and XBOX One installation times.

    Yeah, well, my brother go an XB-ONE ,brought it round to my place, the forza 6GB required install meant we had to wait 8 FRIGGING HOURS to be able to play the game as internet out here is limited to 1.5Mbit.
    He is seriously considering dumping the thing on ebay, requiring the update, coupled with them being so large makes it impossible out in the bush.

      I returned mine for the same reason. Had to update the OS 4 times before it crashed or disconnected from net. Forza 5 took forever to install. Got to 15% and could play, but every in game menu made me download a new update.

        You returned your day-one console within a few days because it was initially slow to get everything up and running?

        Dude my phone, television, PC, 3DS and sound system have ALL required downloads in the first day of use. The Xbone and PS4 are no different. You must return a LOT of stuff if you’re that impatient with technology.

        It’s been VERY public knowledge for months that the Xbone would require a day-one update, and that Forza would require a download. It just seems really strange to me that someone would be excited/ impatient enough to rush out and buy a console in the first week, but at the same time so uninformed/ fickle that the initial download caused them to take it back.

          I think his point isn't that it required a download, it's that he realised it would always require a download for a new game every time and the sizes/his connection speed made that impractical.

            I don’t doubt that, it’s just that everyone KNEW that there’d be downloads required on a modern console, just like there are for most electronic products on the market.

            A console in 2013 is a 5+ year proposition, if you’re excited enough about it to get it on day one you should be informed enough to know what kind of downloads you’re looking at and it’s pretty strange to give up and return it within the first few days, especially when you've already downloaded the bulk to the things you need.

            Everybody knows that over the first couple of days is when you’re most likely to be downloading a bunch of new software, have a bees-dick worth of fortitude and wait until things download! It sounds to me like he got his system up and running and then gave up on his day-one, long term purchase for reasons he should have known damn well to expect.

            I mean even the statement ‘but every in game menu made me download a new update’ is weird. The guy clearly knows his internet is slow. When you put the Forza disc in it tells you that it’s going to be a 6gb download, when the game lets you play within 5 minutes it’s pretty clear that’s it’s still in the process of downloading the full 6gb. The menus are all pretty clearly marked with a padlock until they’ve finished downloading (and the game tells you so if you try to access them) which it does in the background and the home screen shows you the download progress, it’s pretty clear what’s going on.

              To be fair relative to last gen these updates are massive. My internet is pretty awful most days. On the 360 that had next to no impact when I wasn't playing online multiplayer. This gen it's going to be a headache.
              Assuming updates will be required and assuming that it's going to download a 6GB are two entirely different things. I mean seriously, what the hell is in a 6GB patch? It's not day one bug fixes.

                It’s not a patch, it’s a large chunk of the game and it’s been public knowledge that it would be a big download since July.

                I think (damn well hope) that this kind of thing is a product of the launch timeframes rather than something that’s going to be an issue going forward. Forza 5 was designed from the ground up in house at Microsoft to require an ‘always-on’ environment and I guess because of that the development schedule was set out to run right up until launch day with people expected to download the content.

                Now that the console no longer requires an internet connection and with future games not needing to hit a separately stated launch date, you’d expect that Forza 6 will have much more of the content on the disc and that therefore 6gb downloads won’t become common place.

                Like I said, I think these kinds of issues are launch problems exacerbated to some extent by Microsoft’s late switch from an ‘always-on’ environment. It’s CERTAINLY too soon to be selling your Xbox unless you’ve completely f*cked up and you don’t have the internet at all or something like that.

                  It's happened with every game I've played so far. If it's happening with every game and that's a problem for you why would you wait until later for something you're guessing will happen later? There's no confirmation that six months from now new release games won't require massive patches, and if he waits 12 months (a pretty fair time frame) he won't be able to get a refund, so by holding on to his console he'd be taking a pretty big gamble.

                  I'd certainly give you this if it were just games that were known to have a large chunk of the game require a large download. I downloaded Killer Instinct day one and have been playing it relatively solidly. Recently it required an update. The game to download initially was about 3GB. The update? 3GB. What exactly am I downloading in this 'update' if the size of it is the same as the game was?

          That was the final straw. The other big reason was there were no games coming out for a while. Next big exclusive is Titanfall which is also on PC and out in March. If I was having doubts already I might as well get my money back ASAP. Not really missing out on much for now. I'll just buy when something comes out. Best thing that happened was I used a $400 gift card to buy it and the guy gave me back all in cash. Got to love christmas casuals.

            So did you only want Titanfall or did you buy it for Forza or any other games which you also gave up on straight away?

            It just seems REALLY weird to me that someone would go out of their way to buy a day-one, full priced console, which was always going to require a bunch of downloads only to realize that they didn’t want any of the games on it once they were required to make the downloads which should have been expected.

            I mean if you were that on the fence about getting an Xbone why buy one on launch day in the first place? It seems like ridiculously fickle behaviour.

            EDIT: Just realised I missed something. You sold your Xbone within a few days because you can’t deal with the downloads, but you only bought it in the first place so you could play a multiplayer only first persons shooter ON A F*CKING PC?!?
            Does that strike you a slightly ridiculous?

            Last edited 28/11/13 12:40 pm

              It really seems like you're attacking his motivations in order to defend a pretty clumsy system. I'm really happy with my XBOX One overall but even if the PS4 wasn't showing off how it should be done the XBOX One could have done a much better job with their installation and patching processes. You can't get any decent data on what's actually happening.
              I thought Dead Rising 3's installer had froze on 0% until it finally ticked over to 1% and I realised it was just super slow. Again, most of the blame lays on my connection for being that awful, but the fact there's nothing indicating what's happening is still a problem. At best the system isn't too painful when it works fine.

              It's not just something XBOX One and PS4 fans are fighting about. I guarantee right now there are people at Microsoft working hard to get installation and download times down. They won't come out and say it right now for PR reasons but even Microsoft know this isn't up to scratch.

                I’m not trying to defend the system at all, the system’s far from ideal.

                Just stating that getting rid of your Xbone after under a week is a very extreme reaction, and using the downloads as an excuse but then saying that the only game you wanted is an online required PC game anyway makes no sense at all.

                You’re going to get a lot less onerous downloads even on an Xbone than you are PC gaming.

      Really?! It didnt need to update the whole 6gb straight away for me - I thought it would but after 10 minutes I was in and playing.... The rest of the update took place over the course of the next day or so anytime i put Forza back in. It wasnt an issue to me

    Sounds like the workaround is to disconnect from the internet to play single player games.

      Doesn't help when all you want to do is pop Forza in and play online, and then you have to wait until tomorrow to do it.

        It actually seems like it might. From what I've heard installing the game offline then going online and updating it is faster than installing and updating the game while online.

    Don't wanna disprove what youve done here but I'm guessing certain consoles run differently. I installed ac black flag yesterday was ready to play under a min flat as for dead rising 3 took a tad bit longer.

    SSD fellas, SSD.

      Yeah, coz an ssd totally speeds up the read speed from the BD, and makes my internet connection ten times faster :)

      Last edited 28/11/13 9:39 am

        It does!?! Man, I'm getting one! To to SSD Emporium!

      Because Microsoft allow you to switch out the hard drives.

      Considering how much both systems reserve on the current HDD's (40-60GB), you would have to be willing to spend a decent amount of money to get a big enough SSD to be able to hold the system files and a few games......... Yeah I think i'll deal with the slow install times :P

      Last edited 28/11/13 1:18 pm

    wow, that's one hell of a difference that I wasn't expecting. Does the Xbone allow you to download updates while you're playing? Just thinking of future updates and whether this is a one of thing or not.

    On another note, just over 17 hours until PS4 time :-D

    I'll bet you never timed online downloads for a digital game though did they.....
    the xbone has a queue system, for several games, whilst the ps4 has no queue, downloads every game at the same time, making it longer on the ps4 for an entire game download.

      But of course you can just download one, start playing it and then queue up the rest.
      When downloading a digital title, a long wait is expected, one way or the other. When buying a game at a shop and taking it home, I don't expect to have to wait until the next day to play it online, and even then only if it doesn't crap itself 40% through the DL.

      In fairness post go live you probably wont be downloading multiple games at the same time so it will have less impact. Also, the issue here that makes it such a big deal (to me at least) is I buy a disc because I don't want to wait, just put in and play.
      If i Download I know I will have to wait so its expected that I wont be playing straight away.

      Who cares how long it takes to download a game if I can start playing the game a few minutes after the download has begun without having to wait for it to complete?

    Forza 5 was the first game I installed. I almost collapsed when it told me that it would have to download a 6GB update! That meant it took about half an hour before I could play - which was fine because I spent that time learning how to navigate the new system.
    Battlefield, with its 11GB update, I started before going to bed, so I don't know how long that took.
    I'm just glad I appear to have unmetered xbox live downloads.

    Welcome to the power of the cloud.

    But really, when the real next gen launches (are the PS4 and xbone really 'next-gen'???) we should be using some sort of sd card or flash drive. 10 years time they'll be a few dollars for 64 gigs. That is unless we go down the whole online only aspect, and if thats the case, then may as well stick to the pc

    The XBONE blu ray drive is probably a cause of the problem as well.

    My install of Dead Rising 3 only took about 10 minutes and it was ready to play in 2 or 3. Wouldn't be surprised if MS release a fix for this soon.

    Can you queue XB1 updates as well as game/app downloads? This is most going to be a problem at launch when you have more than one new game to play and if you can play the first one while the update for the others download in the background it wouldn't be as big a deal.

    My XB1 took about 20 minutes to get Forza in a playable state (approximately, I didn't time it), it wouldn't have downloaded the full 6GB patch in that time. For a one off inconvenience it isn't too bad but for those with poor internet connections the XB1 will be a struggle. Its infrastructure is designed around a constant (and decent) net connection, in Australia that could cause problems (like for poita above).

    Last edited 28/11/13 10:56 am

      Poita should have disconnected from the net and installed all his disc games offline, then gone online to do the updates forza plays online with most tracks after this method in only 10mins even on really slow Internet I myself had only about 100kbps going for me on day one managed to get most of my 6 games fully downloaded and installed

      What is killing me is that construction on the NBN had already started in our town, and as soon as the election was done, the NBN crews packed up and went away. I was literally only weeks from having fibre to my freaking house, now I am stuck with unreliable ADSL1.

    I'd say this is an issue that hasn't been raised at MS since up until a few months ago they expected most sales do be done electronically. Now that people are bitching about it they may apply some techs to mitigating it.

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