Updating Games On PS4 Is Like Pulling Teeth

Little things can start to add up over time and eventually a part of you snaps and you just can’t help but get mad. This is what happened to me recently while trying to play some games on PS4, all of which needed updates. The update downloaded fast, but then I had to wait for the copy process. I’d rather have a root canal.

All I wanted to do was play some Red Dead Online. So I booted up the console and scrolled over to the Red Dead Redemption 2 icon and hit X. And then I was hit with an update notification. And the update downloaded fast, thanks to my speedy internet. But then the PS4 began copying the update to the console and this process takes a lot, LOT longer than downloading the update.

This is a common problem that players frequently complain about. Across Reddit, Twitter and elsewhere you can find a near unlimited amount of posts about how awful and long it takes to copy updates on PS4. Not long ago, Screenrant ran an article about this very topic. 

What’s frustrating is it wasn’t always like this. As mentioned in that article, when the PS4 launched and for a few years after, you didn’t deal with this copying phase. But around 2017, Sony changed how PS4s download and install update files for games. The move, according to many, was to help avoid file corruption.

To do this, the PS4 basically downloads the update and then copies all the data and files for the game you are updating and adds the new update data into the now copied data. This isn’t a problem if your game is small, like a few gigs. But for a game like Red Dead Redemption II, which now takes up over 100GB on my PS4, this copying process can drag on for a long, long time.

You can, technically, speed this process up by installing a solid-state drive. But the decrease in time isn’t very dramatic.

Games are big today. Moving forward, with the PS5 on the way, I really hope Sony can improve or remove this copying process. Games are only going to get bigger and bigger during the next console generation. We will probably start seeing 250GB or even 300GB games sooner than later. And even with a fancy solid-state drive, using the current copying system to copy all that data each time a game updates is going to be frustrating.

Maybe copying should be an optional way to install updates. Let players opt out of copying, to take the risk of their data being corrupted through a more direct install. I like to live on the edge and take risks anyways and if it helps me save time, I’m down.

Screw 8K support or fancy cameras, all I want from the next PlayStation consoles is quicker game updates and installs. Is that too much to ask?


    Eh... just set to auto-update and it'll do it while you sleep.

      I find that auto update only seems to happen for games that I've played fairly recently (ie in the past month or two). If I go back to something I haven't touched in ages I nearly always get hit with the updates when I try to start the game.

      While I understand there might be good reason for this in some cases (eg if you had a fairly limited download cap you wouldn't want it downloading updates for games you're not actively playing, and it probably reduces the load on Sony's servers, too), it would be nice if they at least gave the option to have the auto update cover everything installed.

        I was just about to say this. Also, AU only works if you have a Plus membership.

        Sony's approach to game updating is infuriating from start to finish.

        Oh, so that's what's happening. I've always wondered why the PS4 was so selective about what it auto-updates. It doesn't really bother me and if the PS4 was my only console that'd just be the way it is but because I play on other platforms it's always a bit of a shock getting dragged into the process. The only other time I really see updates being installed is when they've literally just been released.

    Sony needs to suck it up and just license Microsoft's tech that breaks games down into smaller parts that get downloaded and updated on demand.

    The current situation is stupid.

    First world problem!
    Just play something else while it downloads.

      I'm time poor, and when I sit down at a PS4, its to play one of its exclusives. It might be a 'first world problem', but its one that is easy fixed as well.

    I usually just go on the Youtube app and watch a video or two while it's copying and installing, but yeah it's a nuisance in general. Here's hoping they fix this process with the PS5.

    Big fukn woop, 1st world problems much

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