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Published on October 29th, 2013 | by Tony Odett

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Question of the Week: Will My Console Work on Launch Day?

Welcome to Critically Sane’s Question of the Week, where we do our best to answer an inquiry posed to us by the community. Have your own question? Tweet it to us @criticallysane or put it in the comments below!

Will My Console Work on Launch Day?

Probably not. And guess what? You’ll be fine.

I’ll be there on launch day, too, Xbox One in hand (my PS4 purchase comes later). I want to be a part of the excitement: I want one of those top of the line, all-inclusive machines in my living room as soon as humanly possible. I want to experience every feature they have to offer. And, damn it, even though I have no expectations, I want to chop heads off in Ryse. On November 22, I might get my chance.

The thing is this: I don’t foresee this whole thing going very smoothly. The Xbox One has a mandatory patch to even work at all. And the PS4, after Sony’s recent announcement, needs a patch in order to do anything other than play offline games (you can call that optional if you want, in the same way that a starving man calls food optional). And, frankly, when you go from zero (or very few) users to a million or more, your system is going to get tested in a way that you can’t have possibly simulated. And it’s going to break. Some of the recent rumors about the Xbox One’s OS are pretty disturbing, and Microsoft really hasn’t done an effective job in dampening them down.

Xbox One

Arthur Gies, in his Battlefield 4 review, mentioned that he had gotten the chance to play that particular game on both next gen consoles. The Xbox One version didn’t have multiplayer at all, and the PS4 version was buggy and unstable. So Microsoft was unwilling (or unable) to show off their current state, and Sony’s network seemed strained by even a very few users. The writing is on the wall here: day one for both systems could be disastrous. Launch will be immediately followed by a scramble to patch unforeseen issues, and to make all those features we’ve been promised work. Who knows how long that will take?

That said, remain calm. Be patient. If you’re not capable of handling the initial hiccups, why are you buying a console at launch? And, if you are taking that day one leap, you have to maintain perspective. You’re not buying a system that will shrivel up and die after a week’s use- this is an entertainment center that will grow and evolve over a span of years.  The Xbox 360, at launch, was a gaming machine. There were a few crappy movies available for download, but mostly you had a few games and the Live arcade. Over the years, you’ve gained netFLIX, an indie games channel, apps for HBO and ESPN, and a host of other services. Getting a console at launch is a ticket not to initial frustration, but to step one and all the steps to follow of an evolutionary process.

PS4

So, on the 15th and the 22nd, get your console, take it home. Look at the beautiful machine as you unbox it and set it up in your entertainment center. Crack open a beer (or a soda, for you young’uns), sit back, and enjoy the ride. It may be a day, or a week, or even longer, but mind-blowing entertainment will soon be in your reach. And you have the golden ticket to the adventure.

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About the Author

A longtime blogger/games writer with a distinct love of strategy, he brings the smarts and the sarcasm to the Perfectly Sane Show and to Critically Sane. Always going on about games with vast strategic minutia, Tony also writes as the Critically Sane Strategist.



  • Don Parsons

    I’m sad I won’t be there for launch day, but if people really expect sunshine and rainbows on day one, they are just fooling themselves. I also don’t think the turnaround will be very long. I think MOST of the system will be functional enough to blow minds within the first 24 hours. Sony already has their patch available to download to a USB drive, I read a few comments elsewhere about people hoping to speed up the process by doing that.

    • Napoleon1066

      They need to get that out there. Microsoft, too, if it’s possible. If it is, I have my flash drive ready…

      • Wolf

        Should we be okay with this? Not that we have a choice, but still, as a consumer, I kind of want the product to work when I purchase it? Its part of why I kind of hate games that patch on day one.

        • Napoleon1066

          I think enough consumers have accepted this as “just the way it is” that there’s no reason not to leave things the way they are. I mean, Diablo 3 didn’t work at all at launch and still hit 6 million sales.

          Plus, I think consoles are a special case in terms of online connectivity. How do you beta test a million consoles’ affect on your network? You can’t. You can guess, but if you’re upgrading or significantly changing your networking interface, even previous experience isn’t going to help a huge amount.

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