One Important Thing To Do Before Gifting A Game Console On Christmas

One Important Thing To Do Before Gifting A Game Console On Christmas
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If you’re thinking of giving someone an Xbox, PlayStation, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, or iPad this Christmas, there’s something you can do to sweeten the deal even more for the recipient: download every update for the console first.

Yes, this will require you to open the gift, take the console out, and then repack it — which sucks if you bought the console brand-new. If you keep the receipt and are careful, though, downloading updates shouldn’t be a big deal. Let me explain.

Nowadays, new video game consoles are a huge drag. No longer can you simply plug a console in and start playing it, like the good old days — chances are very good that you’ll have to sit through some long updates first. Depending on your internet connection, these updates can take hours, especially on a high-traffic day like Christmas. Take it from our pals at Deadspin, who recently chronicled the nightmare that is setting up a new console. It’s the worst. Even friggin’ controllers need updates. The tedium that comes with getting a new console up and running does not jive well with the relaxed joy of Christmas!

While opening a new gift isn’t ideal, my gut tells me that the recipient might overlook this detail if it means they can just hop right in and start playing their new games. Hell, you might even get thanked for it.

If you know the gift recipient well, you might even feel comfortable downloading a few apps you know they will use in the future as a means of saving them even more time. Or, if the console comes packed with games, you might think about installing/updating those puppies before giving them out on Christmas, too. Installing/updating games might be trickier, though, since games are more casually gifted between friends. Anyone gifting a game might not necessarily have easy access to the console it will be played on. But if you can swing it, you should definitely consider downloading updates for video game gifts, too.

Anything you can do to cut the time between opening the gift and letting the user play it will be a godsend, trust me.


  • The first Christmas the Xbox One (and PS4) were out, oh boy.

    In the post-Boxing Day not-normal-yet-getting-back-to-normal retail period, if you walked around games departments all you heard was shell-shocked parents complaining to staff about the Update Woes.

    Top marks to the games store workers this holiday period, you are the true heroes.

    If you or someone you know is about to abuse a young kid behind the counter because of something to do with a console at Christmas, please consider they had nothing to do with your situation.

  • I’ve purchased a few consoles for MrsBS over the years and I have always done this. She appreciates it at least 😉

  • This is why when my brothers fish for video game hints for my birthday or christmas, I shut the ideas down very quickly.

    Besides the fact I have enough to keep me occupied until I live to be 6,001, DRM and updates (like the article listed above) make such a gift too much trouble to be worth anything.

    Even movies can be a headache. I had to tinker with the cabling on my setup as I finally got confirmation that my amp *did not* have HDCP 2.0 thus causing images on my 4K player to scale down (so that’s what the freaking second HDMI port is for!)

    A few days later, my sister in law asked if there was a movie I was interested in. I simply told her to drop the idea as there is no guarantee I can play the bloody thing even though I have darn good equipment.

    At the end of the day, electronic entertainment should not have to be this difficult for consoles and movies. But thanks to publishers (and even some developers) being so paranoid of losing a single sale everything is locked down to the point more harm comes to legit consumers than the bleeding pirates!

  • Last year my daughters got a 3DSXL each. I’d configured them on the wifi and pre-downloaded all the updates and a few demos and fully charged the units. No thanks were given for the service, they are not versed in the ways of the world, but I saw how much they got to enjoy flipping the lid and playing right away, knowing they didn’t have to wait an hour or two.

    These days consoles come with game bundles that are download codes. You can’t very well redeem them to get that 50gb pre-downloaded, so pro-tip for an XB1 owner/buyer, if you pre-install/patch the retail version of a game, when the recipient redeems the code under their own account, there is no download required. This trick has worked for me with such greats as Titanfall, Gears of War 4, and Battlefield 1.

    • This is exactly my situation this year.

      I need to take them both and install Nintendo accounts (obviously new ones, not to be used really ever) on them, connect them to my wifi for updates, put a few games on them to begin with, and then enforce the strict parent settings on them.

      I think I have everything thought of.

    • They might not have thanked you for it, but I hope you felt pretty awesome when they started playing straight away.

      Cos that was damn awesome ‘dadding’ right there man.

  • 1. Make sure you ask about the persons internet plan at least. You don’t want to go giving something like that to someone who doesn’t have internet or who is on incredibly low quotas…

    • Unless it is an online game, their plan should not matter.

      If the game is single player the whole game should be in the box, not like Steam where only the first 9 GB at most is on a DVD and the rest has to be downloaded.

      The game should also be properly tested and not have multi-gigabyte day-1 updates to apply to make it work.

      But that is me keeping to the high expectations of the 80s and 90s which nobody works to anymore.

        • Are they really patches though are are they components of the game omitted form the ‘gold masters’?

          Sometime I think they are not even last minute bugs. They are either a means to see who purchased the games by tracking the download count or (which is more likely) they are core components with-held from the master to prevent the whole game from leaking.

          The game industry is sadly an example where Internet has actually changed things for the worse.

          • I’d say its a mix of both honestly. I think there’s portions omitted and then a few tweaks. And I agree, I think the internet has definitely changed it for the worse in a lot of cases.

          • Not to get too far off topic, sometimes new ideas themselves become changed for the worse.

            Take cloud computing. Once a new paradigm that finally realised what researchers had been trying for since the 1960s only to be hollowed out to be just a marketing term for anything with an IP address.

      • Hey man. What on earth are you talking about? SHOULD not matter?

        Ever since we bought a PS4 our plan has just been pillaged continually. Patches, netflix… but then you buy one game online, like Witcher. 50gb download right there. At least.

        I know what you’re saying, I want to live in that world too, but we don’t. We live in this world. And honestly, the 80s and 90s aren’t very applicable. It was a different time and I sure as HECK don’t want to only be able to play 80s and 90s games. A nostalgia hit is fine but the art form has moved on.

        Sorry to hear about all your issues with your tech though. I know that pain. My last 2 PC upgrades have been hell on earth. Both times I somehow bought faulty motherboards. The worst item to trouble shoot, remove and replace. I’m seriously considering just buying pre-built from now on.

        • Hey man. What on earth are you talking about? SHOULD not matter?

          My apologies; just shows how firmly set my mindset is. I still buy physical and what annoys me the most is how I still have to download a huge portion of the game anyway.

          If I buy physical, the whole game should be there and not require the rest from the Internet.

          And honestly, the 80s and 90s aren’t very applicable. It was a different time and I sure as HECK don’t want to only be able to play 80s and 90s games.

          There is a charm to them, but again I apologise for that wasn’t what I meant. Back then, due to physical media being the only option there was a heavy focus on bug fixing and game play testing.

          These days it seems to be a case that only a part of the game or even an alpha build is now on the disk and real game has to be downloaded.

          This is not how it should be; make a final build for day-1 or push back the release. The customers are *not* the beta testers.

          But back to the topic. Again, I buy the physical copy (as sometimes that is cheaper than the digital for some impossible to understand reason) so I don’t see it as me expecting too much to have the whole game in the box.

          Sorry to hear about all your issues with your tech though.

          My CPU trouble? All good now; turns out it was a bad CPU so I had a new one put in and Intel actually replaced the faulty one at no cost to me. My local retailer basically wanted to do the same but without telling me and wanting to chart me 100 dollars for the ‘service’.

          But thanks for asking. The good side is I now have a good stock of spare parts incase something else breaks.

          • No need to apologise man. You seem like a great dude and I was just trying to respectfully, yet humourously add a different perspective, which is really hard by text.

            Thanks for taking it in the way I intended it.

            I also really hate it when I buy physical media and find there’s almost nothing on it, and steam or then downloads the entire game. That’s where consoles are definitely one up. And you can sell the disc later if the game’s not a keeper.

            But yeah, the days of standalone physical media for gamers are long gone. I don’t really game that much anymore on PC. It doesn’t feel the same. But I miss the old days. The early 2000s I lived for my (humble, humble) rig. Nostalgia is strong with me. I had nothing but time on my side.

          • That’s where consoles are definitely one up. And you can sell the disc later if the game’s not a keeper.

            It depends on the console. On the PS4, it is safe to say there is at least 99% of the game on the disk.

            I also like how when we “install” it seems to only allocate the space but copies the data over while we play.

            Steam is a let down. I though I had Doom all on the disk but when I got my usage notice I found it to be otherwise. Owch!

            Luckily it reset in a couple of days.

            But the worst offender would have to be the XBone; sad since the 360 was basically the then modern day Dreamcast, adding features other would follow and would become standard now.

            With the XBone, the whole contents of the disk does in fact have to be copied but I suspect they are only using single layer BluRay disks, not dual layer like the PS4, and expect the rest to be collected from the Internet.

            It is bad enough the game can’t be played right away but also the copy process is slower than acceptable (doesn’t help either that the first models only use SATA 2) but this is just shows that Microsoft never wanted to let go of their original plan where console was basically an Orwellian Tele-console.

            Like you though, I don’t game on PC much or even on consoles. But for me, that is mostly because I get a new game, try it out and it’s a resounding “meh”. There is no charm, no cleaver designer, everything is safe so it is politically correct and not hard for any player all for the goal of keeping the unrealistic sales figures secure.

            But I’m getting too far off topic so I’ll close with this. I just love the Indy Game scene and even consider it its own industry. The people in it show that the old art no longer practiced is still viable and one doesn’t need multi-million dollar budgets for the ads alone.

  • As someone who recently had to replace a PS4 that was stolen during a break in. I can confirm the struggle is real. I’ve got over 200GB of updates to go on my PS4 Pro and it’s absolute torture waiting for the updates to finish.

      • Well he is starting from scratch again…200GB in updates is that far fetched….depends on how many games @dmjc had installed at the time (both physical and digital) and having to download those updates all at once

  • Will they download updates without requiring an account to be set up first? Don’t want to give someone a console that starts up with your name on it.

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