Day one patches: now it’s just getting silly

I just read on Eurogamer that Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is getting a 16 GB day one patch on Xbox One.

16 GB.

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).

borderlands

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.

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14 Comments

    1. I suppose there could be an element of that, but if that’s the case the patch would only have to be tiny – there’s no excuse for 16 GB.

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  1. Thanks for bringing up the download limit issue. People living especially in countries with poor internet infrastructure will likely find a 16gb download too burdensome. It pisses me off when this is ignored (because I myself lived in one of these countries for a while! It makes a difference when you experience it yourself.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tell you what, both my XB1 and PS4 hard drives are near full, almost all the time. Sure, i could upgrade the PS4 hard drive, but why should I? Just seems if it’s not the bloody games patching its the firmware updating. Spend most my time with those consoles watching progress bars fill up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? That ‘s crazy! I can’t believe they’re full already – all this updating is getting out of control if you need to get a new hard drive after a year.

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  3. I find these day 1 patches extreamly worrying. what happens in a couple of years when the companies decide they no longer want to support the infustructure to support the games and shut them down? Unless you never uninstall the game will you still be able to play it in the form you expect?

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    1. Exactly. There will come a point when the patch will no longer be automatically applied and support is withdrawn, so even if you own the game disc, the game will remain forever broken if you have no access to the patch.

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    1. It’s truly ludicrous – Xbox Ones and PS4s everywhere are filling to the brim with needless patches and firmware updates.

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      1. I can remember a decade ago explaining to a mate that the reason I played console games over PC games was that you get a finished game, no need for patches, no need for updates…

        Makes me feel ill thinking just how much that’s changed in such a short period of time.

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