Every Game I'm Trying To Play Is Patching

Last Saturday, I expected to finally, finally, get through God of War. That was my first mistake.

Games aren't just finite, complete objects any more. They aren't something I can play whenever I want simply because I can hold them in my hand. Sometimes, developers have other plans.

God of War exists on a disc inside my PlayStation 4, and yet, before playing, my PlayStation asked me to hold off for several minutes while some god hands made immaterial changes to the game. That's OK, I thought. It's just making the game better. The loading bar filled up; I slayed some dark elves. All in all, it was a great time.

One hour and countless cracked-open heads later, my wireless PlayStation 4 controller ran out of juice. (I think there is something wrong with my charger.) To get the controller to charge, I have to prop it up just so, with the wired charger at an exact 90 degree angle, which makes gaming with it impossible.

That's OK, I thought. I have a lot of other games. I plugged in my PlayStation controller's charger and fished my Nintendo Switch out of my backpack. It was time for Splatoon 2.

It had been a few weeks since I'd squid-kidded my way through Inkopolis. I was pumped to get back into the game before the new upcoming DLC and refine my Splash Wall strategy. I clicked on my Switch's Splatoon 2 icon with anticipation. My Switch informed that, actually, Splatoon 2 needed an update. Bummer.

I waited around for a couple minutes, scrolling through Instagram or whatever, until my desire for interactive entertainment, now, overshadowed any morsel of patience I had left for whatever Nintendo was adding to Splatoon 2 over the several minutes it was taking to update. I had to move on. This just was not worth it. It's Saturday, for God's sake. I don't want to while it away waiting.

I moved from the couch to my desk chair and logged into my PC. A few quick rounds of Fortnite would surely satisfy me. I'd definitely downloaded the last patch, which added shopping carts to the game. Today was the day I'd finally get a kill from inside one.

I double-clicked on publisher Epic Games' launcher. My mouse hovered over the "Launch" button. That's when I was hit with another huge update.

What? I thought. I downloaded the patch! It turns out that, shortly after Fortnite's big shopping cart update, the game's servers began crashing. Epic Games had to release yet another Fortnite patch. The progress bar climbed infuriatingly slowly. I waited, staring at it.

At this point, I was a little salty. I just wanted to play a damn game. Never mind these updates, which were certainly making my games better. It's Saturday, damnit! As Fortnite updated, it was clear that I had about a 10 minutes' wait.

Well, I thought, I've done all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and made my bed. The coffee's gone, I have a cup of water here and I don't have to pee. My eyes flitted around my computer screen. Behind Epic Games' launcher, I saw the Overwatch insignia. Oh no. Not again.

Saturday was not the first time I'd abandoned other games' updates to play Overwatch. It will not be the last time either. For me, Overwatch is reliably updated because, like sleeping, eating, and going to work, I play Overwatch basically every day.

I sighed. Begrudgingly, and hating myself a little, I hit "Play". In a few short seconds, I was queued up for a match and choosing a hero. God of War, Splatoon 2 and Fortnite all melted away. I was very busy holding down the objective.

Developers: I am so very grateful to you for keeping your games functional, fresh and polished. Really and truly. It is not your fault that I am impatient and afraid of wasting away a precious Saturday. It's my own fault and the fault of Blizzard Entertainment, who made a game I cannot stop playing. 



    What is this?

      It seems to be a complaint that games that are not played often have patches to be installed when the game is actually played, while games played all the time and therefore get patched all the time by the user do not? I don't get it at all.

        I thought it was a bit of a rant to release frustration about not being able to play the games the author wanted. Also, the author even said they'd patched a game only a couple days before only to find it needed another large patch.

        This is something I can sympathise with. I hate that so many games (basically everything on Steam for a start) absolutely must have a patch before you can play. I get it with online multiplayer games, but it's pretty much mandatory even for single player only. Which is where I find it most frustrating.

        The one that annoyed me the most was Doom's 666 patch that was 34 or 35GB. I just wanted a little single player, demon killing fun one weekend only to be faced with a 30+ GB download... Dammit, sure tell me there's a patch, sure deny me access to multi-player without it, but let me kill demons in single player NOW and patch later!

        It's also why I love games from GoG. Download it, install it and it'll likely run just fine without any of the dozens of patches that improve(plague) games via steam.

        Side note: What the hell is up with Kotaku/Lifehacker. I'm having to log out and back in multiple times to be able to post. It's like it's screwing up authentication every 10 minutes or something.

          Yes I understand the frustration, being on a small island with only satellite internet and normally limited to only a couple of hundred kbs a second and 40Gb per month quota, trust me. I was also shocked by that same Doom patch. I ended up waiting for a mate to get it all downloaded and then just getting a backup of his game to restore into my Steam with the ol' USB hard drive.

          It would be much better by far if it would work more like Ps4 games, where it is exactly as you describe, you can play the game single player without the patch just fine, but just cannot access network features, and the patch downloads in the background while you are playing.

          The gist of the article was just what had me scratching my head. Games that you play very rarely and are quite new obviously (eg GoW) generally receive quite a number of patches in their first few weeks, and if you leave it a while since playing it, it is just par for the course these days that those games can have quite significant patches when you get around to it. And conversely games that you play frequently and therefore do all the small patches all the time obviously will be more up to date and need less patching when you go to play it.

          It's just a lot like windows updates. Leave your computer on very often, and when you do reboot it, you find there are sometimes 20,30,40 patches, where as if you reboot it every other day, you might only have to deal with 5 at a time.

          I find no game is more patch hungry than DoTA. I wish they would just patch it like once a month instead of whenever they like. I have all but given up on it and just leave it in my steam unpatched and don't play it any more. And if/when I do decide to, hey ho, here is a 5-7Gb patch. Which I don't understand since most of the patches are merely balancing tweaks to characters (changed cooldown from 70 to 65, etc). The number of times I have gone to just have a quick game after not playing for a couple of days, and end up being told to wait 45mins to an hour while it downloads ANOTHER patch, even though I only ever play vs bots because of heavy satellite lag (400-650ms) is very frustrating.

          Still, I definitely think that Steam games should run like Ps4 onces as described above and as you said, let me play single player but not access multiplayer while the patch downloads in the background. That would alleviate many of the frustrations I think.

            Damn. I feel your pain. I have a friend on satellite that I download stuff for from time to time.

          you can turn off "Automatically keep game up-to-date" and can play with non-patched version of said game on Steam if you wish

            Pretty sure you have to update before you can play.

              What @[Razor] said.

              Unless you've specifically set Steam into offline mode you're forced to do an update. It should be possible to just refuse the update and that makes Steam go offline mode rather than the other way around.

    I always have something on hand to play while a game is updating. Usually something that is offline, currently Im playing Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga remake on the 3DS between fights in Overwatch and Fortnite, while they either load the next match or update. It's great that I can literally close the console and it's ready for me next when I need it.

    You could say what we really need is a broadband network fast enough to patch games without you having to wait too long.
    As someone on 5Mbps 4G I am often denied the chance to play games with friends as I'm blocked by a "tiny" 200Mb update that takes several hours to update

      You heard NBN though man, if people use the internet, then the internet goes slow! Particularly dirty, filthy, bandwidth hogging gamers with their ridiculous demands of like 20Mb per hour.
      We would have a fantastic broadband internet network, if only people wouldn't use it.

    I get this all the time on my Xbox one. I go to pull out a game only to find it needs a 20gb patch download.

    You could be a devil and just play God of War offline. Being a single player game and all... Not sure what you mean about the charging cable needing to be at 90 degrees to charge though

      sounds like the micro-USB port or the cable is damaged

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