You'd Better Have Good Internet Before Buying A Xbox One X

Going home earlier this week, my partner wanted to play Assassin's Creed: Origins. She'd been playing it for a few days - being a double history major, makes sense - and was just starting to get into a groove with the game.

So we went home. Powered up the Xbox One X. Tried to launch AC: Origins. But it wouldn't start. We quickly realised that was because it wanted an update.

A ~41GB update, to be exact.

One of the greatest annoyances with jumping from one console generation to another is that everything becomes bigger. Pixel counts. Graphics options in the menu. Bodies on screen. Lighting effects. Sharpness of shadows.

But mostly, download sizes.

To help combat this, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One X would have something called "Intelligent Delivery". It was basically an option for developers to segment bits of game data so that users didn't always have to download everything at once.

For instance, if you didn't want foreign language commentaries in FIFA, those files could be marked in a way so Australian gamers weren't downloading gigabytes of useless files.

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Of course, the main use of this technology was for Xbox One/Xbox One S users. Developers can mark assets as being applicable for 4K or the Xbox One X. The console would then automatically recognise whether it needed those assets or not, letting users download games quicker, and get to playing faster.

But there's a small problem with how this plays out in practice.

Users don't have a choice. You want to keep playing the game you've been playing for days, and just want to download the patch in the background? Nope, too bad. Want to not download the patch at all? I hope you remembered to uncheck the box in the system settings then, because that's the only chance for you to have any input whatsoever.

And this is a problem that, over the next year, will continually happen. Not all games are Xbox One X ready at launch. Lots of developers are still working on updates, taking advantage of the raw power, refreshing their assets. So you might pop in a disc of something like, say, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Or any other game from a few years ago.

And it'll play a bit better, run a bit smoother. But when it becomes an Xbox One X enhanced title, that means a hefty update. Don't like it? Too bad.

I have plenty of gripes about the software on the PS4. The organisation of the store is astoundingly stupid. Why do I have to scroll down a vertical list of letters (that shrinks) to search for a product? Why are download speeds on PSN consistently so awful? Why can't I just have the one media streaming app I use frequently appear in the main rail, instead of having to go to a separate button, which opens up a separate window, just to launch the one thing I use all the time?

But something Sony does right is updates. When you go to launch a game that's updating, you get a prompt. You can launch the application without the update, but you can't access any online features if you do.

And that's fine. Sometimes you're playing a singleplayer game, like Final Fantasy XV or Horizon: Zero Dawn. Something that could benefit from an online connection, but isn't necessary to enjoy the full experience.

Like Assassin's Creed: Origins.

But the Xbox One X doesn't give you that option. Got the 4K console? Then you'd better be prepared for loads of 4K updates, because they're coming down your internet connection whether you like them or not.

And the kicker - and I can't believe someone at Microsoft approved this - is that once an update begins, you can't launch a game at all. It's a bit like Steam in that regard: once the patching process begins, the game or app is completely unusable.

At least Sony does the decent thing of downloading the update before installing it. With the Xbox One X, the process is basically one and the same.

Now, ordinarily, that wouldn't be too big of an issue. People have learned to live with gigabyte-size updates in this day and age. If you've got cable, NBN, or some form of fibre, it's fine. You'll get the update fast enough.

But what if you're waiting to be upgraded to the NBN? Or you're on 4G wireless? Or good old ADSL2, which most households in the country rely upon?

You're fucked, plain and simple.

And it doesn't matter whether you own a 4K TV. Maybe you wanted the Xbox One X for better load times, smoother frame rates, or better support backward compat titles. Or maybe because you're trading in your old Xbox One, and hell, you want the fastest goddamn console on the market.

Yes, the Xbox One X is the most powerful console you can buy today.

But with the standard of Aussie residential internet, the chances of you seeing that raw power are next to bugger all - because you'll be spending most of your time patching. And you don't have any choice in the matter.

It's a nightmare. Xbox needs to work out a better solution, and soon. Because this just isn't an Australian problem. There are plenty of countries and territories that don't have fibre, don't have high speed internet.

They might have 4K TV's.

But a 4K TV doesn't matter much when you're just looking at a dashboard.


    Curious about this because my internet isn't particularly great (30Mbps, which I know is a king's speed for many) but I didn't wait long for AC:O to install/update on my One X. I'm only using a 1080p TV at the moment though, wonder if that changes whether it updates or not?

    Hopefully this becomes less of an issue as we move away from 4K patches with 4K assets being included on-disc for launch... but maybe there's already jack shit space on an Xbox One disc?

      Well considering they use blurays, I don't think they'll run out of space. The blurays which carry 4K movies are about 100GB.

      That being said, they'll probably be limited by having to keep everything first gen Xbone compatible. So, 50GB which is a standard bluray.

      Last edited 10/11/17 12:48 pm

        Other option will be that games will be shipped with two discs. One for game, one for 4K assets, as described in the "clever way to save space" article linked above.

          I can't see too many publishers being willing to pay for the extra disc if it's cheaper (for them) to just have the customer download it.

            The same could really be said for physical versus digital releases in general.

            Don't know about that. Bluray disks are very cheap and would alleviate server cost as well as bad customer experience. Imagine once 4k has a decent penetration and a big title like GTA or COD gets released and thousands of fans are trying to download 40 odd gig.

          Back in the days of floppy discs, something similar was the standard most of the time. You'd have a game disc, typically disc 1, with various assets grouped together on the relevant additional disc.

          Best example were when 3D gaming was taking off in the late 90's. Some games were purely hardware driven, others software, and a few both. Those ones that were both would occasionally give you the option of bypassing the 3D assets when installing, understanding they were potentially useless assets.

          That's really not much different to what you suggest, so theres certainly history there that shows it works.

            Yep, or like the article suggests - one chunk for single player, one for multiplayer. I'm sure there are millions that only play Call of Duty for one or the other, not both.

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has run into this issue, drives me up the wall

    I got my Xbox One X on launch evening and wasn't able to play until Thursday evening. I installed Forza 7, GOW 4, ROTTR & Wolfenstein 2 from scratch. 200GB of updates in total! I've got 100mbp internet and it wasn't a pleasant experience. I feel for anyone with a slower connection, and even I may not have the fast connection in the future. Why they haven't provided a second disc with all of the textures on new games is beyond me!

    It's not unique to the One X, I got my Xbone as an xmas pressie and was staying at my in laws with limited internet so stayed offline. When I got my console home and online Halo 5 Origins needed a 41gb update! I assumed there was a secret mode that allowed you to watch every episode of Friends in HD because I didn't notice a single difference after the update!

    Loading times either seem the same or worse as new generations of consoles arrive.

    The trade off is much better graphics between generations, I guess it's worth it or we'd all still be playing on old consoles all the time!

    Side note - does anyone think that the One X will fragment updates for games? I.E. the One X gets its "enhanced" updates first, then they'll release the same bug fixes etc in an un-enhanced update at a later date?

    So the X has gone backwards from the regular 'bone, which can quite happily update shit in the background whilst letting you use your console to do other things. Hurrah for progress.

      It's not well worded, but you can still. It works the same way as the One; you can't play the game you are updating, which is what Alex's gf wanted to do. But you can still play other games/watch Netflix etc, just not ideal when you want to play something that has a 41gb update.

    As someone with an 8 Mbps connection at best, this is a bit of a deal breaker. Being forced to wait a whole day before you can play a game is absurd.

    The update was only 1800MB not 40GB. Maybe install the game first before hitting update

      ... the game was installed almost a full week prior, and my partner had played it the three days prior to that. The game wouldn't have even launched if it wasn't installed previously, and the game wouldn't have said "updating" on the Xbox dashboard either - it'd have said "Installing".

        My update was only 180mb (which I think is what OP meant to say) also, but then I'm in the standard model Xbox, so therein likely lay the difference.

          Definitely. The extra update was for the XBX enhancements (which was mandatory).

            If only there was a a simple workaround for this 'issue' that was floating around for weeks before launch. Predownload all the 4k assets with your games you wanted to an external drive on your Xbox One, plug it into the Xbox One X on launch day. Problem solved. #OperatorError #PoorChoices ????????

              A lot of those assets/enhancements/patches still aren't out (Destiny 2 being an example), but sure, that would be a useful alternative.

    Yep. I returned the XBX after waiting 28 hours to be able to play the game that came with it, and realising this was how it was going to be with almost everything.
    Took it back and traded my other console on a PS4 Pro, it’s not perfect, but on my internet, being able to download patches while still being able to play the game is an absolute necessity.

    Man, the things I take for granted, both as a PS4 owner and having decent internet now.

    I started re-downloading Elder Scrolls Online last night. Although it fluctuates if I'm using resources or not, after a pausing and unpausing the download it said that 70gb would take 118 minutes. Once I started playing BF1 that went up to 3 hours though.

    Hmmm Kotaku. I doubt you will post this response but it seems you have a journalistic integrity problem. wall to wall ps4 pro advertising since launch day for the x and numerous less than positive articles slightly dissing the system. I have had no such trouble with the x and especially not with origins. something a little fish hmmmm. there was something that went wrong with your setup then. Its a great console, things have never loaded faster, games look amazing...... 4k mordor is a different experience. have a look at all the advertising in the sidebars if you dont have ad block.

      Hi. Your comment's approved, so not sure what you're talking about there. And sure, games look amazing - nobody's levelled a question about the hardware itself. I imagine you have pretty decent internet at home?

      I had the exact same issues as the article, reporting facts is hardly bias.
      I can’t see them being swayed by advertising, it could just as readily be Microsoft advertising here tomorrow.
      This is a genuine problem for anyone with internet caps, or without really fast internet. They need to fix it so that you can play the game while the patches download, as in my case a single game can take days.

      I have to say it feels like you need an anti depressant before I come to the Xbox section here.

    You could of just turned the internet off on the console if you wanted to play it without the updates. Personally it didn't bother me at all I played other games whilst it was being updated in the background.

    I was contemplating buying the x or the s. Now just might be the final nail in yhe coffin for the x.. What with a tinsey 2mb line, I'll still be downloading cod ww ii updates until they release ww ii 2...

    Just want to throw my 2 cents in here.

    I purchased the XB1X and Assassins Creed Origins on launch day. I immediately noticed how much faster the UI was and it only took about 10 minutes to install the game (~40gb). I was then prompted to install a 1.8gb patch that according to what i've read, enabled the HDR features within the game. Even on my horrendous 1mb connection, it took less than an hour.

    I'm a little confused as to why you had to download another 41GB because the entire game is listed online as 41GB including the XB1X enhancement features. It sounds to me like, for whatever reason, your console decided to re-download the entire game?

    My first few days since owning the console have been nothing but positive. It feels fast, responsive, and the game looks absolutely amazing on my 4K TV. Very satisfied with my purchase.

    Last edited 11/11/17 5:01 pm

    Ozzy Xbox moaners, If you upgrade your speed dingo, instead of spending your dollars on Cans of Fosters one of the richest countries in the world with the highest internet speeds and what do they do these dingos get blurry eyed and moan about there conections anytime i listen to them on the xbox they are always crying in there soup Ozzy boy why dont you buy a game boy and give everybody peace you little cry baby try cleaning your xbox up you tube or go off line dingo your a blouse and a half, you know we all know who you are on the xbox your id is Slowdingo with the backward compatability issues, haw koala bear lay of the juice and say something worth reading slow surfer

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