I finally got my hands on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection this past weekend, thanks to a decent trade-in promotion. It's the first new game that I've picked up since Sonic Generations back on November 1st, and I was excited to get it since I've been a pretty big fan of the Metal Gear franchise since playing Metal Gear Solid 13 years ago.
When I got home from the store, I was looking forward to popping the disc into my PlayStation 3 and seeing how the games looked in HD... but upon reading the disc, I got the message that I've seen way too many times over the course of this console generation:
Version 1.01 found.
A 60MB file for three games that already existed.
Combine that with my slow internet speed, and the required update took long enough to kill my enthusiasm and I shut the console down when it was finally over. I haven't turned it back on since, and am not sure when I will. It was a complete buzzkill... almost like some sort of penalty for wanting to play games from the last console generation on a new platform.
We've come to just accept that updates—including ones that occur the day that games hit stores—are the way it is. This is after years of console video gaming when publishers shipped games knowing that they had to get it right the first time, or else risk defective returns and consumer backlash. Bugs in games from generations past were frowned upon and negatively affected not only reviews, but consumer experiences. These days, we expect bugs in our games because a patch or update will inevitably fix most problems. It's as if the responsibility to ship bug-free games has faded and is no longer recognized.
When I've talked about my stance on this, I've run into pretty staunch defense:
- "You don't NEED to update."
- "Get a faster connection."
- "Without Day One patches, games will be repeatedly delayed."
- "I'd rather constant patches than a permanently broken game."
- "Deal with it."
I get that sometimes things can get missed and that constant connectivity allows these things to get fixed without returns or recalls. It's a great tool, but why do we see this so much and so early? It's like DLC in a way. Good intentions at first, but has become overdone and questionable as time goes on. Games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, for example, get shipped with bugs that get explained away because of the game's size and scope... then forgiven because of a patch that not everyone can access. Sure the game is big, but PS3 owners seeing performance issues because of save sizes got through QA? Really? Look at the 100+ MB Day One patch for Battlefield 3 on the Xbox 360. Why is this even excusable? Even high-speed internet users endure a window of waiting instead of being able to get into the game that they just spent $60 on.
Oh, it's just how things are. I see.