The PC versus Console debate is a constant in the world of video games. Regardless of your personal stance on the topic, there are a couple of points that nobody can really argue with; PCs will always have the edge in terms of power and graphical prowess, whereas consoles have always been much more convenient.
The convenience of consoles stemmed mainly from their ability to run a game from a disc only. No installations meant no waiting period before you could play the game. I remember the days where you could buy a game and be playing it within minutes.
Unfortunately, with the advent of the Xbox One and Playstation 4, those days are long gone.
While installations are to be expected when it comes to digital purchases, it’s the mandatory installations for physical copies of games that really boils my piss. Granted, some modern games are so large that they would be impossible to play without being partly installed, but do we really need to install the whole thing?
Doesn’t this installation process completely negate the convenience of console gaming? I mean, isn’t that the main draw of consoles? With consoles losing their ability to immediately play games right out of the box, it feels as though they’re giving up the only real advantage they have over PCs.
You could argue that both the PS4 and Xbox One allow you to play games while they are installing. While it’s true that you can load up these games mid-installation, I don’t really consider menus and option screens to be playable content. On the rare occasion that you are given some genuinely playable content, it’s usually so restricted and threadbare that it’s not even worth bothering with.
Put simply, the “Play Now” promise of current consoles is a joke. It was a much-lauded selling point of both the PS4 and Xbox One that has since been revealed as the naked untruth that it is. As an example, being able to play only the poxy prologue of Battlefield Hardline for hours on end while the game installs isn’t “Ready To Play” in my book, especially when you consider that the prologue only offers a couple of minutes of actual gameplay. Hardline is hardly the sole offender here. There are far more egregious examples out there that offer the tiniest morsel of gameplay, just enough to provide justification for the initial dishonest promise.
I strongly believe that these apparently necessary installations are killing console gaming. The only real selling point that consoles have left, for me at least, is that they can be played from a more comfortable room in your home. It’s a thin advantage that consoles currently have over PCs, but one that will quickly be lost as more and more services like Steam Link become available.
With digital sales gradually overtaking physical sales it seems that discs will eventually be a thing of the past. I can appreciate the convenience of not needing to go anywhere to bolster your gaming collection, but I will forever lament the loss of being able to play games within minutes of buying them.
If nothing else, an entirely digital future should mean that there will be no need to pre-order future releases.
Ah, pre-ordering. I think I’ve just discovered the topic for my next rant…
What do you think? Are these compulsory installations really necessary? Or am I just being too critical and impatient?