We’re staring down the barrel of a next-gen launch, and these machines are coming in extremely hot. We’re already seeing a number of delays, mandatory patches, and rumours popping up everywhere that the core operating systems aren’t ready for primetime. If you’re buying into these new platforms on release day, you can certainly expect to run into a few problems.
First off, a few major games have been delayed past the launch window. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, a highly anticipated title, was recently delayed until 2014. If that wasn’t enough to bring everybody down, Sony is in a much worse situation with its launch line-up. Driveclub, a PlayStation 4 exclusive aimed at competing against the Xbox One’s Forza, has been pushed back into next year as well. Driveclub was promised as a day-one free title for PlayStation Plus customers, so this delay threw a monkey wrench into Sony’s plans. Instead, the small indie game Contrast will launch alongside Resogun as the two free titles for Plus subscribers.
Sadly, the launch line-up just isn’t very strong this generation. Sure, big name titles like Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV will launch on the PS4 and Xbox One, but they’re coming to the current generation beforehand. In fact, you can play those games right this very moment on the Xbox 360 and PS3 (and PC). By the time the new consoles roll around, they won’t be considered new and exciting releases anymore. What are we left with – Knack and Killer Instinct? That won’t instil much confidence in early adopters.
At launch, both consoles will require a day-one patch. Sony has confirmed that the 1.50 patch will weigh in at a hefty 300MB, and will be required for core features like online multiplayer and Blu-ray playback. Microsoft hasn’t been quite as forthcoming, but it has confirmed that a patch will be available on the day of the retail launch.
While this isn’t necessarily a ruinous issue, it’s a hurdle that not everyone can jump. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to have full-time access to a high-speed Internet connection, so it will be a hassle just to pull down the patch. Also, that’s assuming that the network infrastructure will be consistently up at launch. After the rocky launch of the Wii U, Diablo III, and SimCity, online requirements don’t exactly have a reputation for working well.
While Microsoft has been willing to show off its new operating system and user interface in controlled environments, it hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with showing off live builds. Sony is, for the most part, in the same boat. There have been a handful of rumours bubbling up regarding the incomplete state of the Xbox One’s OS, and this is slightly worrisome. It seems as if the shackles of the Black Friday release window might be having a negative impact on the state of the consoles.
All this remains in the realm of conjecture at this point, but I do get a bit antsy when I hear about fundamental issues this close to launch. I’d love to be proven wrong with a smooth launch for everyone, but I won’t hold my breath.
For more on the next-gen consoles, check out our article on the PlayStation 4's easily replaceable hard drive, and how the Xbox One isn't playing ball with enthusiasts. We also recently took a look at the Xbox One and PS4's DRM.