I Used To Play Video Games But Now I Don’t

I Used To Play Video Games But Now I Don’t
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Right now it is 8.42pm on Monday night. I was supposed to be playing a video game.

An exercise game to be precise. Using Kinect on the Xbox One. I put the disc in. Another day one update: 2.1 GB. Of course. I should be used to this by now. How long is this going to take? Difficult to say with my internet connection.

Oh, wait. Great. Just great. Now the Xbox One won’t let me download the update for some reason. Now I can’t download the update or play the game. A hard reset doesn’t fix the problem. Just another great night in with Xbox One.

And the PS4? The PS4 isn’t that much better, but once in a while I have managed to turn it on and play a video game within 30 minutes. That happens every once in a while. The Xbox One? Someone should set a stopwatch: time from ‘on’ to ‘want to launch throw nearest window’ – roughly 30 seconds. No console before or since has managed to consistently frustrate me on the same level.

Here is my current situation. I can’t play the video games I want to play. I can’t play Halo: The Master Chief Collection, for example, because it won’t let me download the update. Now I can’t play the exercise game for the same reason (turns out a whole bunch of people are having the same issue – read here).

Welcome to console gaming in 2014.

Friends, kindly allow me a tangent. Last night, on Sunday, I attended a wedding. This wedding was like any other you can imagine. You know the drill: you sit at a table, you talk to strangers. “What do you do?”

Eventually, because of my job the conversation would occasionally turn to video games.

“Oh, I used to play video games, but now I don’t.”

I heard that exact same quote from two separate people. Their stories were remarkably similar. They used to play games, now they don’t. One complained about the fragmentation of PC gaming – the need to have Origin to play EA Games when he just wanted to play on Steam, issues with Ubisoft’s uPlay. “How am I supposed to remember all those usernames and passwords? I can’t even remember my pin number.”

The second person: he didn’t have time essentially. But complained that when he did have time he always had to download updates on his PS3. Then the games required updates. Most of you understand the quandary: when you only have a spare hour of leisure time in your day, every second counts. A series of updates might actually ruin your planned night of gaming.

I’m not really sure that Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Sony, understands that.

“Remember when you just put a cartridge in your SNES and you were playing within seconds?”

I hear that phrase a lot and usually it rankles. Video games have irrevocably changed. We can never go back to the ‘good old days’ and I’m not sure I’d want to. Video games are productions on a grander scale, and updates are often a good thing. Don’t get me wrong: I like online gaming, I like being able to purchase and stream content from online stores and these are services that require constant maintenance. I understand that.

But a 2.1 GB update for a bloody exercise game? The kind of game aimed at a generalist, mainstream audience? We’re starting to cross a line here. We have a video game console that, in my experience, seems to be constantly making it difficult to play actual video games. We have fragmented PC services that are more concerned with servicing the needs of specific publishers instead of consumers.

As an industry, video games are creating more and more obstacles for players when we should be harnessing the power of technology to remove them.

And conversely, as an audience we’re getting older. As a result life is throwing obstacles in our way and we’re constantly fighting to remove them. As adults with responsibilities free time is at a premium. We’re working long hours, we’re looking after children, we have exams, we have houses to clean, lawns to mow, assignments to complete. We’re no longer children dilly dallying with our legs under the table with an entire day’s worth of time to kill.

Our free time is a valuable commodity. Does the games industry not understand that it has to fight for that free time? That it has to compete? Currently the games industry is treating its consumer base like it has nothing better to do except sit around and wait. That is not the case: we could be watching incredible television, we could be playing cheap mobile games, we could be messing around on Facebook, we could be exercising.

Think of the audience video games could have.

Have we ever had a more computer literate, video game literate population than we have at this precise time, in this precise moment? We have droves of people just waiting to graduate from mobile/facebook games to consoles, but the current situation is not a welcoming one. It’s a brutally difficult, frustrating experience and it’s driving people away. It’s driving existing gamers away, people like my friends from the wedding:

“I used to play video games, but now I don’t.”

Once upon a time I thought that phrase was the result of a false perception — a marketing hangover, basically — the idea that games were for children. Now I wonder if gaming has pushed players away and in the process stopped itself from growing as an industry.

It’s now 10.15pm. I’ve given up on the update. I’ve tried everything and it just won’t download. My wife is now watching television. I’m on YouTube. I am not playing video games.


  • I’ve actually got plenty of time and update my consoles/titles religiously, despite rarely playing most of them. It’s not usually a problem for me, but I’m single with no kids. Can only imagine how this would impede on the gaming time of someone who does.

    Strangely enough the biggest reason I play less games these days is… I just don’t want to? I play games for almost as much time as I used to, I just have less time for as many different titles. I end up buying all these new AAA releases, and probably only play one out of 10 for longer than 30 minutes. I just buy them, and really don’t end up playing them. It’s the damndest thing. I’ve got plenty of time, I just can’t be arsed.

    I used to buy and play ALL the things – now, I just buy them out of habit, I think.

    I always end up back on open ended/sandbox games like MMOs, or Breaking Point.

    I sold my Xbone some time ago, and I can’t even remember the last time I turned my PS4 on. It’s either PC for me, or a handheld when I want to flake out somewhere.

    • Yes, this is me. I would play ALL the things but now I have 4 AAA titles with Destiny playtime at 110 hours, everything else though… 1hr

    • You buy them because you’re hitching a ride on the hype train. It’s a dangerous beast. You should jump off at your next opportunity.

      The gaming media wants us to believe that there’s a great value in being a “gamer” that buys and plays a very long list of AAA games, and that they need to buy and play them at the point of release to be “at the party”.

      I kind of tried to be at the party in the 7th generation, having bought dozens of games on Day 1 in the knowledge that they’ll be traded in shortly there after.

      The danger is that you end up pushing yourself through, and rushing through games that you don’t necessarily enjoy.

      It is much better to play those games that you enjoy and get comfortable with, in my opinion. Still, marketing doesn’t work that way.

    • I’m told the Xbox has the same ability, but I don’t know why but the PS4 seems better at it. Updating is so much smoother on the PS4 in my experience.

      • And the PS3 I set to download my updates automatically between 2am and 8am each morning (my iinet off peak quota) which means in the last 6 months I have *never* once had to wait for an update to download when I want to play. Not sure if the PS4 has the same thing?

        • With the PS4, you can purchase something over the web (that includes getting those free PS Plus games) and it should be downloaded by the time you get home.

        • The PS4 can download updates automactically as well, but not at a specific timeframe anymore. However if it is a firmware upgrade, you need to agree to the TOS so its still a manual install.
          I love my PS4 but not being able to use my offpeak quota is one my biggest first world problems as I drink quota like water.

        • I do this too, but (and it’s a big one) it DOESN’T work unless you already have the game installed. So if you pull a game out of your pile of shame and go to play it, chances are you’ll have to wait for the update. I’m not bagging the PS+ background or scheduled updating – it’s awesome – but it does have that limitation unfortunately. Not sure how you’d get around that one…

      • I’m not sure what you’re doing differently, but I haven’t had to wait for a patch on a previously installed game since launch on the XBOX One. It does them automatically in the background while the machine is sleeping, then they get a little white flag in the corner of their icon with a green dot in the middle. [Edit: I think that’s what the flag means, it might mean there’s new DLC available, but I get it on the Fable Legends beta as well.]
        Granted I still agree with the basic premise of the article. I don’t think I know anybody who played their XBOX One on the first night they owned it. It was all just browsing apps and waiting. I understand why that’s the case but it’s still pretty crazy. The PS4 is better thanks to Sony realising it was one of the biggest PS3 critisms, but that sort of makes it more worrying. I mean Sony really put a lot of thought into making the PS4 go from putting the disc in to playing as quickly as possible. They really did some great work there and yet it still falls short. Where could they go from the PS4? Could games come with a pre-loading code I can enter into my phone to start my XBOX One/PS4 games installing the moment I purchase the game in store? Would that really make a huge difference?

        Personally I’m hoping Nintendo bring cartridges back with their next console. I mean a Blu-Ray disc isn’t that big compared to a modern microSD card, it’s really just a matter of making them cheap to produce, so why not go down that path and see what happens? It’s not like their consoles have DVD/Blu-Ray players that depend on the disc tray.

      • Well for me, my Xbox seems to magically download everything about 10x faster than anything else in my house. I honestly don’t know how.

        Most of the time everything just auto-updates in the background and I never have to deal with updates except day one patches.

        Don’t know what’s up with your box Mark.

      • Great article Mark. Just yesterday I thought “I should turn on the Xbox One to see if it has any updates”. Yep, 2 gigs for system update plus 500MB for Master Chief Collection. That’s ridiculous

      • Do you have Instant-On mode enabled? That’s the option to be able to download games/updates while off.

        • Nah, because it uses 15W on that mode and I really try to minimise my energy usage. But you’re right, could totally be fixed by leaving it on that mode.

          • What are you going to do with the $25 a year you save by turning it off? A nice 2nd hand game? A movie ticket?

          • I did this religiously for like two years on all my devices and it made a MASSIVE difference to my power bill. Like, $70-80 a quarter.
            When you’re a struggling uni student right on the borderline of outight poverty, every little bit counts.

          • Try once a week just switching it over to instant on with the downloads going over night.. Get up 2 mins early the next day and switch it off. That way the impact on your bill is very little, while most of your updates are done for when you want to play.

            Also a heads up, I leave my x1 in “instant on” in the settings 100% of the time, but when I’m actually done with it for the play session, I get up and switch the console off by holding the on/off button on the front of the console till I audibly hear it turn off, putting it in full shut down mode.

          • I didn’t know you could do that with the X1. I really like how the PS4 lets you choose “Rest Mode” or “Turn Off” From the shutdown menu, so knowing I can do something similar on the X1 is great.

  • Steam gets this right. I leave steam open all day so it takes me less than a minute to be playing any of the games that I want to play.

    Given that I use a laptop for local multiplayer (traditionally the domain of consoles), and a decent desktop PC does everything else (that I want anyway), I honestly don’t see why anyone buys consoles anymore*.

    Glorious PC gaming master race used to be a comment on the arrogance of PC gamers (and still is), but these days I think its pretty accurate.

    *I understand why people buy Nintendos – as they are really the only console make that gets that consoles are great for local light-hearted multiplayer. And indeed a Wii U is the only current gen console I would consider buying.

    • This is what I do as well. I shop on my phone at work, and have it downlaod so when I get home I can play.

      And your right about the WiiU, as a new convert to the PC Master Race (praise GabeN), the WiiU is the only console I want now.

    • My only problem with steam is not steam itself, rather just Dota2, there are so many freaking updates for that game, 90% for shop crap that you will likely never ever see, so annoying to me that I have completely stopped playing it.
      I was playing it all the time, but eventually got completely sick of every single time wanting to have a quick game after work, but no, please wait X amount of time while another 300mb+ download, which fixes 2 or 3 bugs, and MOST of the content is more shop crap.
      But I don’t blame steam, just Dota2 (despite them both being Valve..).
      The shop stuff should all just reside on the servers, and if you are going to be playing a game on a server where someone is using a shop item you haven’t already downloaded, it should just quickly download that stop item as required, rather than everyone having to download everything in the shop all the time it is updated.
      Really has annoyed me to the point I haven’t touch the game and turned off auto-updates about 5 months ago. I dread if I check for updates again and it will be asking for like 5-6 gigs of update… all shop no doubt.
      I realise its a free game and the money is made from the shop, but there should be a better way to do it than have everyone download every single shop item ‘just in case’.

    • I’m being more convinced by PC gaming.

      I’ve been hesitant because I always seem to face issues with PC games. Recently I’ve tried to use my Logitech controller, but it doesn’t work that well with some games, and the batteries die out overnight – I’m probably not turning it off correctly but it’s happened 3 times so I can’t be bothered any more.

      My i7 with 8gb RAM and 2GB graphics card non gaming notebook crashed whilst playing Age of Booty of all things.

      But still, it’s a learning process and I think it’s probably worth learning how to over come these issues. My notebook is coming up to a couple of years old now and works well with many 7th gen games including F1 2012 and Saints Row 3, so I suspect it will handle most 7th games that Steam will want to throw at me – once I get better at figuring out a controller solution (should I look into connecting my PS3 controller?) and configuring it etc.

      • Xbox 360 controller is the best controller for PC that I have used. Had a Logitech sort of PlayStation thing but it was a pain. Friend has used a PS3 controller but for what we were using it for we had to use third party config tools which can troublesome.

        I ended up just buying a 360 controller and haven’t regretted it at all. Been playing a lot of local MP games with it on my laptop (like Nidhogg, mount your friends and Battleblock Theatre). 360 Controller is very windows friendly and a lot of games are designed for compatibility for it.

        • If you can get a hold of an old xbox 360 controller, you can buy the dongle from China for about $4 online and it works perfectly. Usually MS charges $60 or more for the controller with a first party dongle. It takes seconds to set up, works natively in windows and 90% of games support it, too.

          For console-y games, I use in-home streaming from my desktop to my Surface Pro 3. I plug the XBOX dongle into the surface and use my 50 inch UHD TV as a video output. It’s like having a console, but with better graphics and I still have my proper desktop for games I ant to use KB+M for.

          • Yeah, that sounds like a nice setup. A little too complicated for me, and I don’t have a secondary PC / tablet to do the connection / streaming to a big screen – but I can see that in a year or two with a little bit of research and planning that this kind of thing can easily come together.

            I think I’ve bought 3 humble bundles in the last couple of weeks so my Steam collection now rivals my PS3 collection, but the games won’t ever become last gen and unplayable, and I don’t have to pay $80 a year to continue to access them.

            As much as I love Playstation I’beginning to wonder if PS3 will be my last, or perhaps my last focal point. I’m sure I’ll get the PS4 but I’m really seeing no reason to get one until towards the end of it’s life when the console, and more importantly, the games are super cheap.

        • Yeah maybe I’ll get a 360 controller. Yeah I have the wireless logitech playstation looking controller and it’s problematic. I’ve just ordered the wired version as it was cheap, so I’ll give that a go.

          What about the PS4 controller – does that work perfectly or near perfectly with PC games? I’m a Playstation guy so my preference would be for the PS4 controller.

  • Applause.gif

    At least those guys don’t seem like they’d be buying the games any more. So there’s kind of a “vote with your wallet” thing going on. As opposed to someone like me, whose go-to line is “I don’t play games. I just buy ’em.”

    That said I try to keep my gaming life as free of all these tetherings as I can. If a game requires Steam, or Origin, or uPlay, then I just won’t buy it. Humble Store DRM-free or bust. And since I don’t bother playing anything online, my 3DS for example solely relies on on-cart updates for those to come through. Won’t touch the eShop or buy any DLC. There’s plenty of content piling up on my shelves to have to bother with any of that.

    • Any time anyone wants to complain that piracy is ruining the games industry, I only need to point to my percentage of Steam games not played. The number of games I’ve bought and not played, I’m easily subsidizing a horde of spotty teen pirates.

      • I’ll join you on that with my list of “not played” on Steam, UPlay and GoG. Also, all those unplayed PS3 Games in my cabinet, plus the Spotify subscription I don’t use, and all the Blu-Ray movies I’ve never watched, but for some reason felt the need to collect.

        (I realise Spotify only pays for plays, but I still pay for streaming music if I ever wanted to use it).

        • I’m fairly sure that if I were to attempt to play every game I have to “completion” (for reasonable values of “completion”) I would be dead before I was done. Possibly twice over.

          • My steam list is nudging 500 titles very soon. That’s not including Origin, GoG, or any of the eleventy consoles I’ve owned over the years.

            I could not possibly play them all.

    • Steam is incredibly useful and doesn’t waste your time nearly as much compared to what they’ve just said about the Xbone etc.

  • The problem with the gaming industry always comes back to publishers. Whether it would be forcing developers to release a game months before it’s ready or cramming DLC/microtransactions down your throat, it’s always their decision.

    • Publishers are only evil as long as they’re enforcing creative control, protectionist mechanics which affect gameplay and delivery, and are bankrolling developers.

      Take away the role of publishers as extortionate money-lenders who ensure a dev can pay rent and buy food while working on something that isn’t earning any money yet, in exchange for their IP rights, creative freedom, and/or soul, and leave them as just another contractor hired by a competent project manager to perform a service.

      That service being: Providing cohesive marketing and distribution.

      • This – like in television in Australia where it is difficult to make things without creative meddling by producers to make something more like “what the audience wants” (i.e. Shaun Micallef Tonight on Ch. 9 – he was stifled because he couldn’t do any of his satirical stuff), I think that period of difficulty has reached Video Games.

        Why else would Indie dev’s, who forgo a lot of the traditional publishers to get a game out, are being so creative and amazing in their games at the moment?

        On the other hand Publishers do also provide certainty (mostly financially) to ensure a product is finished, and often at a far higher polish than the studio could have done themselves.


        • Record labels for music, too.
          Only instead of ensuring creation (musicians will always, always, always make music – no matter if they get paid or not. That’s what defines a musician; if you don’t make music unless you’re getting paid, you’re not a musician), labels ensured distribution.

          Which used to be hard… and now it’s not. Which means that they have no real purpose, and they hate that and would prefer no-one realize that.

          • As a professional musician who sometimes doesn’t make music when I’m not being paid, I think your definition of a musician is a little off, or at least overly purist.

            Labels, probably purely due to contacts and experience, still know how to get your music out to more people than you would otherwise. And they have lots of money, which often you need. So alas, the labels are still required, at least for the time being

          • Holy balls! You mean I wasn’t the only one that watched this? You don’t by any chance remember the “month of alan jones in 1 minute” sketch do you? That was awesome. For some reason Shaun was never able to find a big audience on any of his many attempts (except TAYG i guess which doesn’t really count), which is sad because I’m a big fan :(.

  • great article!

    If i’m lucky I get some spare time late at night. The other night I thought I would get some quick game time in with Far Cry 4. Then the PS4 update was required and then game update .. I tried to skip so I could play but by the end I gave up – time for bed

    Till next time

  • I had this exact discussion with my girlfriend last night when decided to play Smash Bros. It wasn’t a large update, but it was annoying to have to update a game before you can even play it.

    • Nintendo’s problem is they don’t tell you file sizes and insist on having repetitive download music for what feels like seven hours.

      • You know how it tells you how many blocks it will take? My rule of thumb is divide by 8 to convert to MB. It’s not quite 8 from my calcs (it’s like 7.8 from memory, NPI) but it gives you an estimate.
        Say it’s 1500 blocks, that makes about 188MB.

        Volume slider down, solved.

    • Actually you can hit the start software button anyway, continue to play it and the download updates in the background. Sure you won’t be able to play online without the patch but you can still play the game. When the update is done then just restart the game. You can do this with any Wii U title.

      • You can do this with the PS3 and PS4 as well. Yes, it blocks online access, but that’s no different to not having the most recent BF4 patch on PC, so I can’t see why people have such a problem with this.

  • Last night I had an hour of spare time and was sitting at the computer. Was just me home, and I said to myself “Hey, I can play some games!”

    Then I sat browsing Steam, looking at my library. “I don’t want to play something deeply involved… I want something I can just jump in and play for an hour without thinking. Maybe a puzzle game… But I don’t have any installed… Maybe a new on on sale!?… No, then I’d have to download it.”

    I played Wii for 20 minutes and then got a book.

    Choice paralysis.

    • This is me.
      Part of the problem with digital games is that there is downtime getting the darn things installed, not to mention the hit on your internet quota (if you don’t have a steam mirror).

  • I think it’s unfair to single out the xbox one here, the PS4 has just as many updates that take just as long. It’s gaming in general that has hit this problem. Even steam drives me crazy, with not having a button to stop all background updates unless I run the game (as fas as I could find on their forums a couple months back I’d have to open each games properties individually and set it) it seems to have 4-8 games downloading auto updates every time I open it,

    • Yeah, I get that. I honestly do think it’s a general problem. I just use my PS4 more often which might be part of the problem. It was the same last gen when I used my 360 more often. It felt like every time I turned on my PS3 there was an update to download.

      • Yeah that’s true I guess. That’s part of what annoys me with my steam account, I have so many games I’ve bought that I will rarely if ever play yet every time I open steam it seems like I have a bunch of games I don’t care about trying to use all my bandwidth. I guess if you are using it more often it wouldn’t be updating as often. I’m happy that sites like Kotaku are publishing articles about this though, some of the other sites seem to turn a blind eye to not upset publishers.

        • Probably a bit late for you now, but each game has an “auto-update” option to turn this off if you never play the game or simply don’t care for it to be updated automatically. I think right click it in your library and it should show you an option like that.

      • I had both the 360 and the PS3 and I used to HATE every time I had to power the PS3 up because updates took forever, new game installs took forever… the only thing that was quick about the PS3 was watching Blu-Rays. The 360 on the other hand was a joy to use, updates and installs rarely took more than a few minutes to do.

        BAM! Out comes the Xbox One and it now takes FOREVER to install updates / play games. The only thing that has let me keep my sanity is that I recently got 100mb internet, but I know a lot of friends who have <5mb internet connections, which essentially means they have to skip this generation or wait until faster internet arrives!

    • It literally doesn’t though. I have both and i’ve hit far more problems with updates on my XBOX One than my PS4. They’re generally MUCH bigger on One and have significant problems even getting them to download at a reasonable speed or even just successfully. I don’t think it’s widespread or anything but his experience almost completely echoes mine. Not looking to favour a console but how the hell is it unfair to state one’s personal experience?

  • Wow, I was just having this conversation a few days ago, when I brought Smash 4 to a friend’s house. I was hyped up to play, but he hadn’t used the Wii U in some time. It went a little like this.

    “Let’s play Smash 4!”

    “Okay, seems like we need an update. Already?”
    “Well, it has been out in the states for a few weeks, I think.”

    “Okay, actually we need to download a system update before we can download the software update.”

    40 minutes, a few rounds of Uno and some slow internet later and we were off.
    That’s just Nintendo, but it’s pretty accurate to everything these days.
    If you have a decent sized Steam library, you’ll probably be downloading patches on a weekly basis.
    The Master Chief Collection announced pre-release that there’d be a 21GB day 1 update, and weeks and many patches later, it still doesn’t work right (correct me if I’m wrong here).
    That’s probably the most hyperbolic example, but it’s all representative of the era we live in now.
    Games get pushed out ASAP, and because they’re so huge these days, a lot of bugs or errors don’t get detected until they go live. Or they do get detected and the developers are too bad or under too much pressure to get the game out, and we get Sonic Boom.

    That said, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without patches. I mean, I’d prefer a world where games are perfect once they’re for sale, but it’s better than a world where problems don’t get fixed at all.

    • I’ve been using my Wii U all year, until about October/November due to other releases and commitments. That’s when the system update dropped, which I was also missing when I tried to play Smash. The actual title update can be skipped though, unless you want to play online.

    • There should be nothing stopping you from playing a game just because a patch is out. For a hosted MP game sure having people on different versions would be a nightmare and acceptable to force an update.
      But for an SP game there should be no reason you can’t choose to play an unpatched version. Finish gaming and then kick off the update. No single player game needs forced updates

      • That’s exactly how Nintendo does it. Never had to wait to play a game. It says “There is an update available”. I just play the game anyway. Next time I go to play it it has become “Update is ready” and takes a minute to install, then back to the game.

  • I’ve never really experienced this problem with the PS4 – all my games are digital and it downloads updates for everything for me while it’s in standby. In fact, being able to jump onto the app on my phone while at work, buy a game, and have it be downloaded and ready to go when I get home is really quite cool. Maybe my expectations are different.

    • I think more people will be going digital due to the fact that a game will work off a disc less and less often now. Maybe it is part of publishers testing the tolerances of the market, but I’m sure the likes of EA, Activision and Ubisoft would love people to go digital instead of retail, as it means more money for them.

  • I was having this discussion with my wife last night, she was playing some mobile game while waiting for me to have my shower. I looked at her gaming away, and said the exact words, “You know, I used to play a ton of games, but now I don’t.”
    The last game on my phone was Clash of Clans, but I deleted it months ago, as it became work, it made me play when I didn’t want to, and didn’t allow me to play (without costing extra money) when I did want to.
    Updates on the 360, and a flaky DVD drive have meant it hasn’t gotten a run in months, the updates and releasing of broken games lead to me returning the XBox One. The lack of LAN play means I don’t take it around to my mate’s place for some same room multiplaer.
    The PC is just pissing me off with performance issues (and it is a 6 core with a 4GB 970, not a total POS) , and it is in a different room, so I really don’t game on it anymore, and every time I look at it, it reminds me of work I should be doing instead. I end up coming here in my free moments and reading about gaming instead of playing games. I have a backlog of games that have never been opened.

    I’m a parent, and my free time has a lot of competition, mostly the kids, and gaming has just gotten too hard/inconvenient, when it used to be the *most* convenient thing to do.
    VR is only going to make that worse, not better. I don’t know what the answer is, but the 3DS was the last thing I played a game on, pop the cart in, and play. When and where I want.

    • If I were you I’d buy a wiiu. (If you don’t have one already) it has the best selection of local multiplayer and family friendly games right now ( mario 3d world, mario kart and smash bros) with splatoon and mario party coming next year to add to that. In addition there are older versions of cod and FIFA that work fine if your into that. The game pad will allow you to play in the lounge room and not take up the TV. And there is a huge selection of snes and nes games on virtual console that you can’t buy anywhere else.

      Ps it’s also backward compatible with controllers and wii games so you should be able to get a huge selection used for next to nothing since everyone and their grandma owned a wii

  • I’ll get down voted for this but maybe it’s just a matter of better time management.

    1) Do something else while waiting for the download. Watch TV or make dinner.
    2) Regularly turn on your console to let it automatically update. The PS3 and PS4 can be set to automatically turn off after a period of inactivity – so switch it on before going to bed.
    3) Play on your previous gen console if the current gen console needs to download.

    These won’t solve everything especially when there’s a huge patch but it’ll make it less painful.

      • Yes it does help. But this whole topic is about convenience. HAVING to time manage isn’t convenient.

    • I won’t downvote you but from my perspective ‘better time management’ feels way too much like planning my day around the hobby I use to unwind and relax. I don’t have huge problems with it because most stuff gets updated automatically, but with three consoles, a PC, both Sony and Nintendo hand helds, piles of games, it would be a full time job to keep even half of this stuff up to date manually.

    • That’s all well and good, though it begs the question. (Yes, I am using BTQ as both the literal sense and as the fallacy) Why should we as the consumer have to be compensating for the poor management of others? While you will never get all bugs fixed before release, the onus is still on the production company to do their best to not let the game ship with problems or implement a non-intrusive patching system that doesn’t throw responsibility back to the consumer.

      • But they can fix all the bugs before release, very few companies bother to do it but it is possible.

        Why not delay a game a month to iron out the last problems? And than you hear stories about execs in the game industry deleting bug databases to get a bonus and then shipping a buggy mess. While the consumer screams at the Developers for not removing the bugs or asks why they didn’t beta test. They wanted to remove the bugs, they knew about them. They just had to push the game out the door before it was ready.

        No other industry would do this, I can’t see people being told you’ve been a learner for 12 months you can barely control a car, but here’s your P License, we’ll patch in the necessary instruction later.

        Or the movie industry dropping the big block buster but putting the other half of the special effects in on the DVD/Blu Ray release.

        The game industry has chosen this model of out the door, fix it later. And we as the consumer are either being kept in the dark by review embargoes or don’t care because we want our new shiny now and not when the proper fixes have been made.

        My issue is everything I want to play has an online component and since the Storm in Brisbane on Thursday my phone line goes down every 30 mins. And yes it’s impossible to call Telstra about this problem as I need to spend longer than 30 minutes on hold.

    • There’s an element of expecting the worst that you have to account for.
      “I’m gonna wanna play Game later, I should check now if it needs updating.”

    • 2GB in 1-5 minutes would need a 50 – 260 Mb bandwidth. I just got fibre NBN and I’d be lucky to achieve that 5 minute cutoff.

      • I have 130mb cable here which is kind of standard now, I have been told 1000mb fibre will be introduced next year.

          • Haha yea mate, I’m moving in 3 weeks, my wife is already there and even she is complaining about the internet there and she has no idea about speeds and all that, it use to be “we don’t need this”.

          • Once you get used to something like that, it’s harder to lose it. Here’s hoping things fall in your favour medium to long term even if it isn’t so good straight away!

      • I’m on NBN and 2GB from reliable services such as steam or microsoft don’t take much longer than 5 minutes if that.

      • I’m on cable (generally around 80mbit but it’ll hit 130mbit on the weekends) and 2gb can be sucked down from Steam or similar in about 2-3 minutes easily.

  • Excellent article. One of the best I’ve read on the topic in a long while. You touch on a few interesting points, Mark. Without going into it with too much depth, I think this speaks volumes of the ways in which gaming has actually, ironically, become less accessible in some ways.

  • This is the future – cloud gaming. On paper its fantastic, the consumer wins in every respect. Problem is, the concept is still young, too young to be thrown out on its own. Like an awkward teenager, its still finding it’s feet. A lot of things have to gel for it to see its full potential, the main ones being: better planning and foresight from the developers in regards to their cloud-focused development, and a stronger more consistent internet access across the majority of the user base. Until we hit that point, which could be another few years, then we’ll continue to have issues like those faced by people trying to play Destiny, GTAV, Drive Club, Halo and more.

    I’m sure we’ll get to a point where it’s all awesome and we’re ultimately grateful for it eventually, but right now it feels like it was a bit too early for the developers to take off the training wheels.

    • The problem is that with the potential benefits, it’s pushed a lot more risk onto the end consumer – for now it comes down to nothing more than trust that companies can get the balance right between consumer benefit and efficiency / cost cutting.

  • Bet those same people who “used to play video games” play games on their phone. I sometimes play a quick round of – Kingdom Rush, Ticket to Ride, Small World, FTL – on an iPad while waiting for the PS4 to load. I consider both gaming…perhaps not specifically video gaming.

  • Same thing TV/movie people are failing to understand. Consumers have priorities and not all of them are price. You CAN compete with free, which is why TV/movie people are losing hard to pirates who provide a more reliable product, faster, on more platforms, with no geo-blocking, unskippable studio credits/ads/trailers, portable, installable on any number of devices…

    The same is true of the publishers, each scrambling to create the next Steam. Humble, GoG, Origin, uPlay, and the less successful pretenders like Impulse.

    Why do people get upset when titles are only available on one platform?

    How would you feel if you couldn’t do your grocery shopping in one store. If you want to get milk, you now have to drive to the milk store. Sure, it’s just down the road from the grocery shop, so it’s not like it’s the end of the world. But just try it, dairy farmers. Try that and see what happens. It’s OK for there to be a butcher next to the grocery store, but NOT OK for the butcher to demand that the grocery store’s Deli has to shut down and meat can ONLY be sourced from the butcher.

    Stern words would be said. That’s what Origin, uPlay, etc don’t ‘get’. Consumers want cheaper choices, easier choices, faster choices, centralized choices, MORE choices.

    Not to mention the fact that everyone needs their own separate login or account. For fuck’s sake, I have to remember (not write down) fully THIRTEEN unique usernames and passwords in regular use every day at work. And at home, multiple email accounts (for different purposes), half a dozen gaming enthusiast websites, Steam, Origin, Humble, GoG, banking, insurance, tax, Apple, two fucking dozen MMOs, plus every other brand new game which thinks that account-managed forced online is the best solution to piracy, shoe-horning online requirements where they do nothing to benefit the customer experience, just the publisher’s peace of mind. FUCK THAT.



    I really wonder when we’re going to reach critical mass.

    • Granted origin has gotten a good deal better than its early life incarnation. That it has competitive sales that flog off its AAA titles at pitifully low prices is a major step in the right direction.

      • I’ll agree that they do nice sales and freebies but I still can’t stop seeing it as bait for a trap. Something to help them capture a share of the market with the long term goal of making users dependent on their system so that dependence can be exploited. Even if exploitation isn’t the goal today, once in that position it’s only a matter of time before the potential is brought up and it’s not the sort of organisation that turns down potential revenue streams.

        • Personally, I see it more as a way of cutting out the middle man. And that’s understandable. If you CAN host your own files and distribute them, why not do that and avoid paying the 30% of the sale to Valve as the middle man?

          The problem I have is when stuff is Origin-exclusive. That’s when they’re forcing you to go to two different stores. That’s when they’re being consumer-unfriendly.

          • I’m all for direct sales options but I feel like exclusivity and the advantages of having consumers locked into their system are the goal of Origin. Less cutting out the middle man and more inserting themselves as their own middle man where one isn’t needed. Full disclosure, I made a shitload of money this week by acting as the middle man. I don’t think it’s wrong, I just have some pretty big reservations about signing myself up to be in a position where EA hold all the cards.

    • I have to shop at Coles and Woolworths for some stupid reason because while I can do the majority of my shopping at either both have small amounts of things I can only get from one or the other.

      And to be clear the products are store specific and from companies like Masterfoods, Hans and Cotties. Hell Coles and Woolworths sometimes have the same product but exclusively sized. What madness is this.

  • I had a stint a few months ago where I just got bored with my PS4. I’d pop a game in and within 20 minutes I was bored and went to do something else. I stopped playing for about a week.
    Then I decided to take my SNES out of the cupboard and play some Yoshi’s Island. Every night I was playing for multiple hours and after I finished Yoshi’s Island, I moved on to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy.
    It was like I had forgotten how to have fun and my SNES rekindled that sense of fun I got from video games again. Still haven’t touched my PS4 since then and I’ve moved onto playing Smash 4 WiiU now and still having fun.

    Anyway, I agree that there is too much in the way to get to the ‘fun’ we have with games and the near instant injection of fun I got from those SNES games showed me that I still love playing video games… It just takes a little longer to get to that inner core of pure fun in most games today which is a shame thinking about it now.

  • Can you not just skip the updates on ps4 / xbone? I cant remember the last time I actually bothered downloading a patch for a console game. Unless there’s some game-breaking bug I don’t tend to bother (I only play online multiplayer games on PC). I just cancel the d/l and go on playing?

  • Funnily enough, having no internet for the last two weeks has meant that my games have worked just fine without even trying to update. But those are existing, already installed titles except for smash.
    Still, it’s all worked a lot better than I expected.

    • I tried going offline with the Wii U for a while, but the way it complained at every single startup that it couldn’t find an access point got too annoying. Is there a way to turn that off, or have you just been putting up with it?

      • Never saw anything of the sort, it just worked.

        I didn’t question it or go digging in case I accidentally activated something like that.

  • This is why I’ve started to play more and more mobile ‘casual’ games. I get my instant fix and generally don’t have to worry about updates too much, or if I do, they’re tiny. I don’t have to devote an hour to sitting and playing it (because most of them have long timing periods inside the game anyway, like wait 8 hours to upgrade this building kind of thing) And I’m ok with that, actually. My time is becoming more and more limited the older I get so only having to check up on a game once every 8 hours for a few minutes a pop is OK with me.

  • 100% agree with all of these comments.

    The frustration with games at present has lead me to abandon my practice of buying every console and now I just own a PS4.

    On a trip to Melbourne recently, I stopped in at a friends who had an Xbox One. Of course he wanted me to try it out. The frustration with waiting for his games to update and then issues with logging in were unbelievable. Instead of what my friend would hope to be a fun experience and his hope that I would be tempted to buy an Xbox One so we could return to gaming online again; in effect did exactly the opposite.

    My partner even comments every time I go to the den to get a bit of gaming in and I emerge minutes later to say a game is patching or the service is down for maintenance. This happens more often than not. So typically we just end up watching a movie on TV…and don’t get me started about the size of the patches. I don’t download movies or stream videos so Phone, PC game and PS4 game updates account for most of my 100 gig download limit. At present I have 2 games that I can’t play because both have queued patches close to 20 gigs each. Insane.

    The fractured PC gaming scene you touched on also drives me mad. I only have steam installed now and I don’t buy anything with third part DRM or EULA agreements required. I realise I am missing out on many great games and I am tempted but the always online component has bitten me so hard so many times that I feel it is just not worth the trouble.

    As I type this, the latest Steam sale is currently ongoing and as of the last day, I have bought nothing. I have added quite a few items to the cart but the third party DRM has lead me to remove everyone of them.

    I am a gamer whose first experiences were on Commodore 64 so I grew up with games taking 5 minutes or more to load, but the current hurdles a gamer faces to just boot up a game are to me even more frustrating than that. Perhaps when the publishers realise how much this is effecting sales (and I have no doubt it does as the number of my friends who “just cant be bothered anymore” due to the above issues) then maybe we might return to a more streamlined method of getting into games. We can only hope.

  • Once upon a time I thought that phrase was the result of a false perception — a marketing hangover, basically — the idea that games were for children.

    You know, I don’t think it is (your many examples above) that drive adults away from gaming. Sure, PC fragmentation, buggy game releases, day one patches, etc. may play a part but i still think there’s a general/popular censuses that games are for kids, and you should “grow up” or “grow out of it”. I know I’ve reached a point at social events (weddings, bbq’s, birthdays) where i don’t even tell people my hobby is PC/console gaming. They all have the same look on their face when you do, that “shouldn’t you have grown out of that by now” look, or “that’s nice, my 10 year old plays games too, you must have the same maturity level”. I think the expectation that once your over 30 you shouldn’t be playing video games anymore is more of a factor than anything else.

    • Pretty close to 95-98% of my coworkers and other work contacts hold the same opinion.

      I think the perception of games as ‘a normal adult hobby’ is much more in the minority than full-time gaming enthusiasts and games industry professionals – steeped in the industry and networking, socializing with people who share their passion – are experiencing.

    • Being the stubborn person that I am, I want to be that guy who will still be playing games when I reach 80 or die, whichever comes first, unless I start getting bored by games. Unfortunately all the yearly iteration is making it pretty hard for me to be that guy, so the only solace for me so far is that I have grown my PSV titles alot in the past year, mainly indies and JRPGs where some innovation is still commonplace.

  • I had this a little while ago with Uncharted 3. I had an hour or so to kill, thought it might be fun to re-visit, and it wouldn’t let me play until I installed all the updates. They took too long, I never played it.

    Stupid game. You were good enough last time I played, and I have no interest in ever playing your multiplayer mode, so why am I forced to update?

  • I feel like every time I turn on a console it wants an update, probably because I go weeks at a time where I don’t touch the console.

    I think my PS4 is still running that broken update because I haven’t turned it on again since to get the less broken update. I used my PS3 to watch a dvd this morning and that wanted an update too which I promptly ignored. Almost every time I want to check out the estore on the WiiU or 3DS it forces me to download an update first. All these bloody updates chew through my download quota!

    I mostly game on PC now. Steam does its thing in the background and is quota free so it doesn’t bother me, and I avoid the Origin/Uplay debacle simply by rarely playing games that use them.

    It is strange how the Xbone wont let you play a game without downloading the update, is there not an option to play the game “offline” without the update? Can you yank the ethernet cable out of the console so it’s not even looking for updates?

    Console makers should really restrict themselves to quarterly updates rather than pissing them out every few weeks.

  • During the work week this is true… but I have a day off tomorrow and I am going to spend damn near 90% of it on the couch with Dragon Age or at my desk with WoW.

  • This article shouldn’t necessarily be an issue for Microsoft or Sony. We’re in an age of constant security updates and with that comes the demand for constantly updating content, games included.

    It is certainly not Microsoft or Sony’s fault that everywhere else in the world has the internet bandwidth to be able to handle such updates and Australia still falls behind. My 50gb/mth quota means I can’t play as much Destiny as I want because it uses roughly 1gb per hour of play, whether I’m in a group or not. My 2mb download speed is an issue for patching or DLC, but Ive grown accustomed to starting the download then having dinner, reading to my kids, putting them to bed, and I’m set to game after that.

    The worst thing for me is that my ISP used to include a lot of game traffic in their freezone which softened the quota issue, but now this is no longer the case. If the infrastructure isn’t going to improve, more effort should be made by ISPs to keep up with this bandwidth demand.

  • This. This is a great explanation of the reason I am back to being a PC gamer. I grew up on the Amiga, then PC. I succumbed to the allure of consoles with the PS2, then an Xbox 360. Many hours of fun were had on both. But in the last few years I have found that Steam has provided exponentially better value for money and have spent less and less time on the Xbox. The last time I spent more than $10 on a game was, hmm, I can’t remember. Oh, yes, Rust on Steam in early access.

    Steam is always running on my PC, so updates are transparent – done before I go to play the game. Someone mentioned frustration with steam always downloading updates for games they rarely/never play – but it’s simple to turn off updates for a game, or even better – uninstall it. Sure, I have over a TB of space left on my games drive, but if I am not playing it, it gets uninstalled (well, archived). Steam gets it right – price and platform. The next console I get will probably be a Steam Machine.

    My only issue is that my kids are growing up, getting to the age where they will probably need their own steam account – and I might have to rebuy those games we all enjoy. But then again, if we had multiple consoles, I would have to buy multiple copies anyway.

  • I’ve never found myself having an issue with update/install times. We may all be adults now (I’m 34 and been gaming my whole life), but not all of us have these issues. I get hours and hours of game time in every week, despite working full time and having a domestic partner.

    I guess I’m just one of the lucky ones?

  • Although slightly off topic, the combination of not having internet because of the nbn upgrade and living in a town house (takes forever for them to figure out how they should hook it up in “MDU’s” 13 months and counting since the area went live)

    I spent Monday night at my Parents house after buying a hard copy of far cry 4 and the second disc was marked forcing me to download 10gb of missing files, then I had to download a 3gb patch and by the time I got home I ended up going to bed. Tonight though, tonight!

  • What happened to all the hype around playing a game while it’s downloading, is this possible on anything yet???? Why can’t I play the game as it was and load the update in the background, applied on reboot?
    I try to update the PS4 and the games as often I can but with a 3 1/2 year old in the house if I start the console he gets excited and want to play and bedtime gets delayed wife gets upset and everyone goes to bed angry…… the rest is for my therapist.

  • Great article and very well said.

    As someone who spent the last few years in the gaming wilderness I completely understand and agree with you. I recently picked up a PS4 and Wii U as I wanted to get back into playing games on the weekend and use them to unwind etc.

    I never had a PS or XB before so the system updates, game updates, patches etc were all new to me and extremely frustrating. I get that this is how things are these days and all the components of the games are a higher quality etc but that doesnt mean it didnt frustrate the hell out of me when I had a new game to play. To those of us not used to this kind of thing or returning or new gamers, probably seems crazy. It did to me at first.

    Meanwhile, check out that SNES controller. Still a thing of beauty after all these years.

  • I just don’t have the time any more. I haven’t bought a new console since the Wii, which I lined up for at midnight. I work, I have a social life, I have a girlfriend. Any free time I do have, I don’t usually feel like spending it in front of another screen.

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  • I have tons of consoles / handhelds and a pc. If one needs to update then i switch over to something else. When you main type of game for the last 10 years has been an MMO you get pretty used to patches and downtime lol.

  • “Remember when you just put in a cartridge?”

    “Remember when you put in an audio tape that spent 30 minutes talking to your computer in order to load the game up ONCE?”

    Mark is engaging in some serious old-man ‘in my day’ forgetty-think here. Computer games have almost always required a fair amount of ‘set-up time’ to get working. Has he never been to a LAN party? Nowadays my console does all the updating by itself. That’s an improvement.

    • If anything… your post pretty much shows that for all the improvements we’ve had in technology gaming has pretty much regressed to those early casette days =P

      • The difference being in the old days if a game was bugged, that was it- there was no such thing as a ‘patch’. Now I have games that literally evolve as I am playing them (I’m thinking L4D2, Destiny, GTAO). If that means I need to get my console to download some things overnight… okay. Honestly, getting games to run is NOT a huge problem. It’s like saying you can’t get into bike riding because you don’t have time to pump up the tires.

        • Here’s the thing though.. in the “good olde days” the worst you normally get would be just an amusing glitch and stuff. Very rarely did you get game breaking bugs because…well games weren’t that *huge* to begin with and even back in the days of BBS games could still be updated with patches/versions… and then when games did get big enough for major glitches the patches weren’t goddess insane huge either.

          And it’s honestly all relative as well. If the bike tire is going to take me a whole day to pump up that tire then why bother with bikes? Especially when say I have a perfectly serviceable pair of skates that I can put on and use in a few seconds. Sure I *could* invest time in said hypothetical bike and of course it’ll be fun… but that’s half a day I could have also enjoyed on skates! Which is basically the point of Mark’s article. Yes PC is fun. Hell I still play PC on Steam and whatnot. But there are other stuff out there competing for my short time span for entertainment. Troubleshooting to get a game to run is fine. But when all you’re doing is waiting for said patch and troubleshoots then it gets bothersome rather quickly.

  • As of right now the things I play are:
    – PC
    – PS4
    – 3DS

    While I agree on all fronts that buying a new game sucks now with the feeling of putting in a disc – having the game install then wait an hour or 2 for updates, the PS4 really seems to manage downloading and installing updates well, especially now that you can in fact pause downloads also.

    But once you own the game and are using it even on a weekly basis these updates become less relentless and I find if I switch my PS4 on when I walk in the door from work – by the time I actually get out of my work clothes, talk to my GF, have something to eat/drink I can walk back and immediately start gaming – the system works!

    The 3DS (and nintendo in general) is just light in data and feels more at home on Australian internet – Best way for pick up and play gaming in my eyes as I can open and close – connect and disconnect – yet still enjoy the story and then switch on Wifi to battle and trade.

    PC is good but has become fragmented, steam and blizzard have that pretty resolved for me but it does stop you when you feel like some battlefield or Heroes of Might and Magic/Assassins Creed to become prompted by your login you scramble to remember and have to reset again for the 35th time..

  • I have been a happy gamer ever since i upgraded to pc gaming. Yes, sometimes there are crappy bugs and you need to spent much more than consoles to own one but once you do man is it worth it. Being able to game at 4k60 is just simply mind blowing. Oculus rift will top this off too.

  • This.. oh so very much this. It frustrates my wife that the very first thing I do when I get home isn’t to say hi or kiss the kids, it’s to turn my PC on just in-case there’s updates for the games I plan to play. Worth noting is I enter the house from downstairs where my PC is. Admittedly, I have a lot of games installed so each day there’s 5 or 6 updates on the go, but there have been so many nights ruined when the game I had my heart set on needs a massive update.

    You are right when you say that every little minute is precious. In my tiny windows of gaming time each week, I get cranky with updates and cranky with external impositions on my very important ‘me’ time, I just want to enjoy myself for a few hours on a few nights a week and forget the endlessly growing roles and responsibilities in my life!

    And I don’t have my PS3 plugged in anymore, game installs and ridiculously slow downloads mean l that it just doesn’t suit my lifestyle.

  • I get 12 Gigabytes of download a month. But still manage to play all the Xbox One games I want, the solution is this nifty feature in the network settings called Go Offline, no more of that Halo Master Chief update, it just let’s me play.

  • I agree with most points made in this article.

    I’m 40 and love games. I always have. Since the age of 6 or so.

    I’ve rarely allowed myself to be more into games than I was for the 7th generation.

    I literally bought 100s of games, whereas prior to that I had mostly been a pirater.

    At a rough guess I would say 90% of the remaining 80+ retail disk based games that I still own have been unplayed or virtually unplayed. Approx 80% of my 80+ PSN+ games will go unplayed – and as such what I once thought was amazing value is increasingly becoming less so. Sure, I have plenty of games if I keep my subscription, but if I’m not finding the time to play them what’s the point.

    Currently my lounge is a mess, for whatever reason – and until that gets thoroughly sorted I don’t have a place where I can relax and play games on the big screen. But that’s ok because I find that I generally prefer to spend my entertainment / relaxation time in front of my PC – typically multi tasking between watching a TV show / movie / youtube video, checking various websites, playing a casual web browser based game, and frequently some minor work based task.

    When I do play PS3 I face the same updating issues that are discussed in this article. On top of that, my favourite game is Battlefield 1943 and sometimes I get really weak internet connection (or none at all), and frequently the PS3 will crash whilst playing 1943. Once it crashes, the re-booting process can take a good 10 to 20 minutes.

    When I got my PS3 I was very excited about being able to play online, but my experience has been that (with Battlefield 1943 being the only significant exception) I find it too difficult to compete with other players that no doubt have much more time to invest in learning how to play the games better than me.

    It’s fun having online competition, but not when you constantly get your arse handed to you, and I’ve only been able to have B1943 as an option in which I can hold my own. It took 100s of hours for me to get there.

    So when I look at the new 8th generation, I have to consider whether I can justify investing in a new system when I have so many unplayed games for the current gen, as well as a burgeoning Steam library, which will increase substantially on the strength of Humble Bundles alone.

    I also have to consider whether it’s worthwhile to pay $80 a year for PS+ when I don’t get the time to spend on the quality games that they generally provide. And do I want to pay $80 a year in order to be able to have multiplayer on the 8th generation? That really does seem like a pointless step back.

    For me the 8th generation is competing with my huge 7th generation backlog of games and free online multiplayer; and everything that my PC has to offer.

  • This honestly reminds me of why I barely bother w/ physical PC games anymore.

    See the whole point of grabbing a physical copy for me is the fact I’m on a craptastic ADSL1 connection. Seeing any patches north of 1gig to 1.5gigs means an incredible amount of time wasted w/ the PC on and me not being able to do anything online because it would slow down the already slow download.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back from me was Company of Heroes 2. Don’t get me wrong I love the game but I come home and install the sucker on release date and find that 700mbs was from the disk… followed by nearly 3gigs of “patches/content” that had to be downloaded. Why the hell did I bother w/ a disk then? A shiney metal box for crushing roaches?!

  • I used to play video games religiously, but for the past month my interest has waned alot. In the past month I’ve bought the new WoW expansion, the new CoD, Halo MCC, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Far Cry 4 and Super Smash Bros on Wii U.

    WoW, CoD and Smash are the only games I’ve been playing, and even then I haven’t been able to stomach playing any of them for more than 30 minutes. As for Assassin’s Creed, Halo and Far Cry, I can’t even stomach playing them for 5 minutes before getting bored and doing something else.

  • I think the way I play games seems to be different to everyone else – most of the games I play are old. Basically when I finally decide I’m going to spend the next weeks / months playing a particular game, I start it up, do the lot of updates, then thats it for the time I ever spend on the game. I have such a massive backlog that the games are several years old by the time I get to them.

    Works out heaps cheaper as well. Seems the industry rewards you for waiting for a game to actually be properly finished before playing it.

  • And is is why I honestly think people without a lot of time to play need to get a wii u! I love the wii u and only get roughly 3 hours game time a day if I ignore other duties that night and it’s just way to much fun, even more so for party nights with friends over! It is the most underrated console I have ever seen, it does get a few updates but they are tiny and you hardly notice them!

  • The only reason I never have this problem ia because I only install what I intend to play on my PC and then leave Steam open all the time to update whenever.

    But holy shit. Wouldn’t it be nice if American publishers realised that we don’t have American internet speeds? Or, and I’m just throwing this out there, if we had fibre to every house, rather than shitty copper.

  • For me, My PS4 will automatically download when it’s in standby (or Rest mode as it’s now called)..the only time it didn’t is when I disconnected it to plug in my PS3 (due to my now 5 year old nephew wanting to play Skate 3) and went overseas and had to sit through the following updates

    PS4 2.02
    EA UFC
    Destiny (at a whopping 2.8 GB)
    Network patches for WWE 2K15 and GTA V

    Now…I think most (if not all) gamers don’t mind downloading updates for their games…but being forced to download a patch on day 1 (or day 0) even week 1 to patch game-breaking bugs which should have been picked up during QA is just crap…it tells me that some developers are just rushing the game to get it out on to the marketplace and fix it on the run (looking at LittleBigPlanet 3, AC: Unity and Halo: MC Collection as examples..Driveclub is another example where the game-breaking bug is not really software related more that they didn’t test online servers and it crapped itself).

  • Video games loaded faster from the tape drive on a Commodore 64 than they take now to install on an Xbox One. Nuff said really.

  • Great article Mark,
    I am, demographically, pretty close to the average “gamer” in Australia, I think. White, male, mid-late 20s, white-collar, tertiary education. I haven’t been into handhelds since GBC days, I tend to do a majority of my gaming at home, formally on the X360, now on a PC (ah, the sweet post-uni return to the glorious master race). My gaming is in three distinct catagories: (1) Single Player, PC. Mostly over steam, updates constantly in the background and allows me to disable updates and keep playing. (2) Multiplayer games, PC. Again, since my PC is on for reasons other than gaming, I get updates in the background, no issue. (3) Local Multiplayer, generally on the X360, sometimes on the PC.
    In the case of local multi, my wife and I want to play; the chances are we don’t both have a lot of time to wait for updates, between both arriving home from work, or needing to get to bed, or other commitments. It was frustrating when I did my multiplayer gaming on the X360, because we’d throw in a multiplayer game like L4D or borderlands and it’d require a 10 minute update. I understand the need for bug fixes and balance, but if/when we want that I’d be happier to seek those updates myself. Now, at least, we control that by never connecting the X360.
    The real bogeyman here though is always-online single player gaming. This killed me playing Diablo III (that, and the fact that it wasn’t as fun as II), log on to play for an hour after dinner and “Guess what? It’s Tuesday, servers are down for maintenance. Don’t want to play with other people? Too bad, we don’t trust that you’re not pirating the game.” or “We made 1001 small tweaks to balance PvP beyond level 40, so please wait while 2GB of patch downloads. What? You just want to play with someone in the same room, or single player, and you really don’t give a damn about PvP balance? Too bad, you’ve got time to spare, right?”

  • I’m in a similar boat. I teach Game Design & Theory for a Uni, and while the response when I tell people generally is “Oh, that’s really cool!” it actually means I have little time to actually play the games I want to play. I’m also head of department which means most of my day is spent on logistics and staffing and organisational issues.

    These days I tend to read and write more about games now than actually playing them. I might be capturing footage of Spec Ops: The Line for a lecture on subversion design, or demoing the first level of Bioshock to show iterative design principles, or even showing Pong, Donkey Kong, Pacman and other arcade milestones in a games history lesson. This means I might be running a game, but not really ‘playing’ it. Add to the mix a 4 month old and suddenly the concept of free time is a distant, distant memory.

    I’m still immersed in gaming every other day via websites like Kotaku, Rock,Paper,Shotgun and Edge Online, and grateful for it but I’m finding being able to sit down and burn through a game like the old days is near impossible. I bought Aliens: Isolation on release and still haven’t had a moment to sit down and play it. What have I played? Team Fortress 2. Minecraft. Dungeon Keeper 2. Games I’ve already spent 100+ hours on over the years. They’re easy, I know the systems, I don’t need to spend precious minutes learning mechanics or controls – or in your example, waiting for a massive update on infrastructure that doesn’t really work all that well.

    I have a gamers collection, but I don’t have a gamers time. My 600+ game Steam library sits there, taunting me. I have boxes of Xbox and PS games still packed away from a move, unplayed and unloved.
    I want to play them all, I really do. I want to sit down and commit hours and hours a week like I and my house-mates used to, playing all the way through the night and then sleeping until midday, but it’s just not viable. Damn do I miss it though.

    It’s a weird position to be in, and something I see in a number of gaming blogs and publications from writers who are now adults with adult responsibilities. You’re in the world of games – right there in the thick of it, but those very adult responsibilities that afford you the finances to buy all of the games you could want is actually the barrier of preventing you from actually playing them.

    I can’t help but think that the retirement homes of our generation will be filled with game libraries, with consoles littering the rec room and octogenarian shouts of “GODAMN WATER TEMPLE” echoing out…

    • “It’s a weird position to be in, and something I see in a number of gaming blogs and publications from writers who are now adults with adult responsibilities. You’re in the world of games – right there in the thick of it, but those very adult responsibilities that afford you the finances to buy all of the games you could want is actually the barrier of preventing you from actually playing them…”

      Nice to read an article by someone else who gets ‘it.’

      • There’s also the problem of burn-out. People are advanced pattern-matching machines. We get bored when we see the same stuff over and over. As you grow up, you game, you notice the same stuff over and over. You can only play so many mario, metroid, zelda, megaman, space sim, FPS, kill this foozle, fetch me a rock, deliver this toothpick, etc, junk over and over before it gets old. The graphics get better, but every plot has already been done. So, it’s sort of like reaching that age where you get your first job, and you could afford any toy at the toy store you ever wanted as a kid. But now you’re a teen, and you just out-grew toys. They no longer hold your interest. Same with gaming as an adult. It just gets old. You know it’s bad when you’d prefer to spend a day off cleaning the house, balancing the check book, looking at investments, or some other “adult stuff” then chipping away at the game catalog you’ve bought. It’s really bad when you start installing stuff, and then you feel like it’s a chore having to work through it. I bought like 5 games during Steam’s last winter sale. 4 of the 5 felt like “Work” to get through. 1 kept my interest, but even then I could put it down whenever I wanted. It’s not like when I was a kid. I’d rent a game, play it until exhaustion to 3am, wake up at 6am and play it more until I had to return it. Now it’s like “meh, I’ll get to it if I get to it”. Gaming becomes a lot like sex. It can be nice when you’re older, but you don’t necessarily have to have it, and you definitely aren’t as excited about it as you used to be when younger.

  • This article is not true in some points. First of all, sometimes being able to play a game on the PS4 within 30 minutes? WTF? PS4 knows that if you don’t want to update the game you can just play it, and straight away. PS4 also doesn’t force console updates on you before you want to play a game. The only time you would have to wait before playing a game is if it has online features that you want to be using, which in this case would happen on any console and PC etc. I think the Playstation is definitely less hassle than the Xbone for people with family and full time jobs with limited gaming time. If he means first putting the disc in the console for the first time, well that’s also understandable. A game these days range from 10gb-30gb in space probably even larger. They aren’t little 16-bit cartridges anymore…I think too many people these days complain about the state of gaming at the moment. I have been a gamer for almost 20 years of my life and I am quite happy with gaming as a whole right now. Sure there are ups and downs all the time that goes without saying.

    People complain a lot these days, just saying.

    • If he’s a game journalist I could see him having to sit through updates in order to review the most up-to-date version of the game. True, you as the player could avoid that, but he as a journalist could get called out for “dude, that was patched in the latest version” when he writes at article if he didn’t let the game update.

      So, I can see his side of things.

  • Extremely worthwhile read.

    In my mind this is a problem that has crept up over small increments–growing pains, if you will. Thankfully, the solution is going to come quickly and likely by the time ninth generation consoles (also,probably the last) hit shelves. Two words which Microsoft has made commonplace: automatic updates. The trick is for developers and console manufacturers to have an open pipeline for updates. Next, consoles would, while in standby mode, compare active game profiles against a live database of version revisions (part of that pipeline we discussed a second ago). Viola, updates handled on system downtime opposed to our time.

    As for casual gamers migrating to consoles: think of it more like how gaming has evolved on the personal computer. Now, take that mindset and apply it to mobile devices (the modern version of personal computers). Consoles will likely go away and be replaced by mobile devices aimed at the gamer crowd–hardcore gamers will, of course, want the top-of-the-line gaming mobile devices, while casual will stick to the garden variety personal (mobile device) computer.

    Mobile Gaming Taking Over the Video Game Industry:


  • I’ve gotten the same way. I mostly stick with Steam. I like when publishers realize their game is waning in popularity and reduce the price accordingly. I like when they bundle all the DLC into one “GOTY” or “Complete” pack that I can just purchase the game once with everything and get on with life.

    However, that doesn’t seem to be the case much anymore. Game I really want to play seem to retain “first-day” value for really long. Then they crank out $15 DLC’s, mess around with Season Passes, it just gets too confusing. I just want to buy a game at a reasonable price and feel like I’m getting the full experience instead of “surprise, there’s more content coming down the pipe, and it’s going to cost you another $60, sucker!” ugh

    I also don’t like how we just see the same old games puppy-milled out. Steam’s a great example, because both Greenlight and their normal queue are loaded with clones. How many Elite space 4X simulators can you have? How many FPS that pretty much do the same thing can you have? How many racing games that all look alike can you have? If you’re new to gaming it all seems fresh, but if you’ve gamed for a long time it all just gets stale.

    I don’t like how companies are moving towards bilking the consumer for tons of cash, making game purchases confusing, each wanting you to use their own stupid online store, the fact that the store could go away any day and I lose all my stuff, the fact that online/multi-play seems to be tied to services that are then disbanded and you lose that functionality (eg: Games for Windows Live and GameSpy) …I’m tired of handing control over to others when I’M the consumer.

    To be a gamer these days means to take a slap in the face and ask for more like that’s the norm. And it’s not a “kids these days!” problem. It’s adults these days. As kids we bought into this garbage, so companies did it more and more. Now this generation of kids is growing up with all this junk like it’s normal. It’s our (adults) fault. We should have fought back with our wallets, but as greedy little kids we just kept tossing our parents cash at things, and now we’ve created a huge rut that’s hard to get out of.

    • Steam has killed gaming for me. Buying steam games is such an ordeal in time wasting. Starting the game also involves starting steam,..why? Why do I have to go through a third party to JUST PLAY THE GAME? Steam never turns off while playing a game offline; still running in the background; restarting itself if you do manage to turn it off. Re-installs require downloading several gigabytes no matter if you have the DVD. (What’s on the DVD,..just the Steam OS?) You don’t own your games any more. Steam owns them and your account and YOUR TIME! On Top of all that Steam is Malware not matter what anybody says. You only have to examine at what it does.

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