Patching the madness: when video game updates fail

Editor: Darryl Linington

Since the current-gen of gaming has been around there has always been one thing that each console or PC has in common, patches (updates). Now I am not talking about Patches the dog, Patches O’Houlihan or any other Patches you may know… I am talking about video game patches – the bane of my, and many other peoples existence.

Why are these patches such an issue? Well, for the past few weeks I have noticed that many of the larger patches tend to fail to download, which is awkward as I have a rather trustworthy ADSL connection that rarely ever drops. This brings certain questions to mind… Do I call my internet service provider? Do I call PlayStation, Microsoft or Nintendo? Why is this happening? What have I done to deserve this? Should I smash my controller? Should I smash my router? What if I smash something and then it magically starts working? What would my insurance company have to say about all of this? Well, I am not about to smash anything yet, but the real question remains who do you call?

Xbox 720

Truth be told, no matter who you call you always get the same questions, but none of the right answers…  Is the power connected? Are you currently connected to the internet? Try and disable this… now enable that and it should start working… wait, sorry sir it’s still not working? Well I shall log the fault with my supervisors and we will get back to you – Which they never do of course.

Now, if you are reading this and wondering what a patch (update) is let me break it down for you. A patch is designed to fix bugs, add content and basically improve the overall stability of a game. However, many patches/updates vary in size from as little 2MB to over 1Gig. Now without these patches you may not be able to play a certain video game online, which can be frustrating especially if you have been trying to download the same bloody patch since Monday!

Yip, that’s right! My current download for Borderlands 2 is sitting at 464MB; however, it has failed at around the 50% mark about 15 times, which means I have pretty much wasted around 7Gigs worth of data if it fails at around the 250MB mark. This means that if I was not an uncapped ADSL customer I would pretty much have burned through whatever cap I had. While Borderlands 2 has been my main gripe, I have also been having issues with a few older titles that I have tried to update. Furthermore, many of the team members from ITF Gaming have been battling with the rather enormous Battlefield 3 patches.

To find a proper solution to this issue I have gone through many forums regarding patches/updates that fail; however, everyone keeps giving the same advice, “keep trying”. This really should not be the case as Xbox Live, PSN and Steam should all be reliable enough to prevent these failed downloads from occurring, right?

To end things off, I would like to ask if any of you have been suffering from the same issues? Additionally, let us know if you come across a permanent fix.

The Overlord, the master, the one who tries to get things done… I think they call it the “Editor-in-Chief”… I may even be cooler than Master Chief, but that remains to be questioned.

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  • NiteFenix

    The PS3 patches are atrocious. There are ways around this though. PS3 proxy is a good one. However, I have noticed that the PS Plus service does stabilise the speed somewhat and there are less failures.

    The best advice I can give on the other platforms are just to make sure that you stay on your service provider’s case until any lingering speed issues are resolved.

  • Christiaan Joubert

    Preach it D!!! :D

    I agree with NiteFenix … whats even worse is when the patch gets released, you suffer through it … AND IT STILL DOESN’T FIX YOUR PROBLEM!

    This is the ONLY reason I used to hate third party titles … and that’s because they are more likely to be hack jobs!

    I gotta say though, as awesome as PSN+ is … it puts extra miles on your ps3 … and research has shown that even the slims have an average lifespan of 2 years ( this is if you game about 3-5 hours a day EVERY DAY! … some of us much more on weekends ) …
    BUT where I could give the XBOX credit, was the 3 year warranty for RROD & now with the new consoles, that’s down to 1 year again :/

    IMO, this gen was a TOTAL abortion!
    … and I’m NOT looking forward to the next one!

    • CataclysmicDawn

      May I have a link to the Slim research? It just sounds a bit skewed, I’ve had mine since Red Dead released, and I certainly play more than 3-5 hours a day on average.

  • CataclysmicDawn

    I generally start installing a patch then go and do something else. Usually that just means switching consoles, but leaving the patch and occasionally checking it reduces the impact when it fails.

  • Tyler Davis

    I have never had a patch fail. Sorry your connection blows :/

    • Captain Obvious

      File transfer protocols which can recover and complete a partial download have been around since the early ’90s. Even in the days of 2400 baud modems, this issue was solved. There is no excuse for it now.

  • NiteFenix

    Oh oh another reason why I love PS+. Automatic updates! PS+ FORTHEWIN!

  • lassenwolf

    Today there are patches the same day that the game comes out. It shows you how much the publishers really care about a finished game. With all the talk about lack of games with Nintendo ;they don’t have patches .They have finished games. Nintendo patched two or three games ever. Skyward Sword and Mario 7 that I know of. That’s why thie first party games are so good. Others need to learn from them. And Im not a fan boy I have all three systems and 2 xboxes