I just read on Eurogamer that Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is getting a 16 GB day one patch on Xbox One.
That’s actually bigger than the hard drive on my Xbox 360 (that’s right, I never upgraded, and somehow I’ve managed to make it this far through judicious deleting and a reliance on physical media).
It’s not much better on PS4, where the day one patch is 8.3 GB. But the astonishing thing is that this game isn’t a brand-new entry in a mega franchise that the publishers are desperately pushing to get out for Christmas. It’s a re-release of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, the latter of which came out first in October 2014. So why couldn’t this 16 GB of data be included on the game disc?
The publishers say that the main reason is that it’s to include the Claptastic Voyage DLC, which came out too recently to be included on the disc. But they also say that the patch addresses “various bugs” and they “strongly recommend” that all players download it.
So why not just delay the game by a week or two, giving the devs time to add this “essential” patch to the game itself, rather than force players to sit through a lengthy download process when they attempt to play the game? 16 GB will easily take a couple of hours to download for most people, and could even take all night for some people with slow internet connections. And let’s not forget those unlucky few who have download limits on their internet supply, for whom this patch could end up costing a pretty penny.
Why inflict this annoyance on your customers? Is it so important to meet the Easter deadline? Or is the reason more coldly financial – was this game rushed out to be released before the end of the tax year in April, and therefore bolster the publisher’s profit margin for 2014/15?
There’s been a worrying trend for bigger and bigger day one patches recently. Patches are a boon in terms of providing the ability to fix bugs that creep through to the finished version, but increasingly they’re used as an excuse to release games in an unfinished state. And in the case of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, we’re not even talking about a new game.
I’m tired of waiting for an enormous patch to download whenever I play a new game – it’s time that publishers started thinking of their customers more than their profit margins.