Last night, my fiance decided to have a quick game of Little Big Planet on the PS3. Although we’re currently not heavy gamers (more due to our environment than anything else), Little Big Planet is one of those games we like playing, especially to have a quick blast of the vast array of created levels.Sadly, our foray into the online aspect of LBP last night lasted all of 30 seconds, when we were greeted with an alert that is painfully familiar to gamers everywhere: software update required.
Granted, we hadn’t played LBP for a few months, but the prospect of a near-200Mb update was enough to put us off. Not everyone has uber-fast broadband all to themselves – and if your shared connection grinds to a halt when you do so much as download a podcast on iTunes, then you can probably guess that this LBP upgrade just isn’t going to happen. At least, not yet. Ever since the Xbox 360, regular software updates have seemed to have become the “in” thing amongst video game developers; all of which gleefully release point upgrades every time a new bug is noticed.
Yeah, as a gamer, I’d rather be able to play games that aren’t buggy – or at least, only have to wait a little while before those things get ironed out. Great if you’re a huge player of online games where your experience can be ruined in a heartbeat by these bugs. Not so great, as I’ve already said, for people whose online hookups are a little pedestrian. To be honest, I’m not really offended by upgrades, per se, it’s more the fact that developers use it as a crutch in lieu of beta testing. I’ve lost count of the games I’ve bought where, on day one (and in some cases, a day before they officially hit the shops), the game presents me with a required software update as soon as it hits my console.
In the immortal word of Bryan Alvarez: “WHY?!”
How is it that bugs are found between the game going “gold” and hitting the shelves? How is it that these are always found and fixed at this point, and never before the game gets published? Why is it that I’m forever downloading updates for my library of video games? Even my iPhone isn’t immune to this, with my variety of apps requiring seemingly daily updates to fix bugs that 99.9% of the time I never experienced in the first place (but weirdly, sometimes, only start to experience after they’ve been fixed. Hmmm….)
If I could pop in a game, knowing that I had a good chance of being able to play the damn thing without needing an upgrade, then chances are I’d be on my PS3 a lot more. In the meantime, I guess my game playing will have to remain limited, at least until the time comes when our internet connection is either fast or not shared.