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Stupid Game Download Mechanisms

Why is it that so many game publishers are so lazy to update a game client’s primary download link that when you go to install it, it must download a huge amount of update data that should have been part of the original download.

This is my story:

Many game publishers allow you to download full games directly to your hard drive without using any disk media.  This is especially so for MMO games.  Generally you visit a web site and click the link for what one assumes to be the latest client.  However as I have found out rarely does one’s assumptions prove to be correct.

The download generally occurs without incident and produces a setup.exe of some sort that you must run on your computer. The download size could be in the order of 1-4 GB for a modest MMO game.   It’s not until you run the installer that for an increasing number of games that it detects further updates an needs to download them before you can start.  This wouldn’t be so bad but unfortunately for some the download size for the updates pretty much equals the original download. This is just unacceptable and is a sign of lacking QA, design and just poor PR.

The latest culprit for this is Metal Gear Online Beta for the PS3. Now this only just released already as a beta.  Players had to download this from the PS3 Store. Running it I found an update was required, it wouldn’t have been so bad had it not relied on a peer-to-peer update mechanism which averaged 60KB/sec. The update was large and took ages.  Why not just update it on the PS Store where I could have the latest client much faster? Oh well.

MGO isn’t the only culprit, with it joins Pirates of the Burning Sea, City of Heroes, and Eve Online.

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