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The anger over PS3 system updates has been gaining steam lately. It seems like there's a new update every week or two, not to mention the mini-updates you're subjected to once the game starts. If you haven't played your PS3 in a month you're looking at 30 minutes or more of updating and even more for each game you want to play. Plus, with the exception of big things like Move support and Netflix, most users typically don’t care or can’t even tell what each update does. It's a system that subtly but effectively encourages you not to continue using the system.
It could have been better if: The updates were actually useful once in awhile and took less time to install than driving to the store to buy a 360 instead.
GFWL was billed as the savior of PC gaming, a plug-and-play system that was going to guarantee quality and make installing and playing a game on any PC with any hardware specs as simple to enjoy as popping a game disc into a console. Years later, GFWL has become little more than a burden to PC gamers and a DRM tool for developers. The system is cumbersome, and has been widely criticized by PC gamers as Microsoft trying to impose a one-size-fits-all policy to all gaming systems (i.e. trying to make the PC in another Xbox 360.)
It could have been better if: It was more like Steam, the digital delivery service that truly does improve the PC gaming experience (most of the time).
One has to wonder how much man-power went into developing the Twitter Xbox Live and PSN clients. After all the work, all gamers got was a service that nobody ever bothers using (it's far faster to just get up and type an update on your computer, or reach for your smartphone). And all Twitter users got was a bunch of annoying status updates about how KillUrMom96 earned a Trophy in Uncharted 2. Can’t you just picture the cliché board meeting where some out-of-touch dinosaur screams about how this “social media” thing is the future? We sincerely hope that guy got the axe after the other suits realized how much money he wasted on this.
It could have been better if: The concept of typing an update with a joystick rather than a keyboard wasn't inherently dumb.
When the Xbox 360 first released, there were two options available: the more expensive version with a 20GB hard drive included, and the pack that quickly became nicknamed (plug your ears kids!) the “retard pack” which came with no HDD at all [society’s moniker of choice, not ours]. Little did we know that both versions of the console were completely inadequate. Over the years, the 20GB hard drive has become almost laughably small as MS releases ever more reasons why you need at least 60GB or more. The 40GB PS3 might be even worse though. With mandatory installs soaking up as much as several gigs per game, it's pretty much impossible to play more than three games at a time without having to jockey back and forth deleting and installing each game. Bravo, Microsoft and Sony. This is how you treat your Day 1 customers?
[Ed note - Actually, it’s not. It’s how they treat their gullible customers, as anyone buying the current Xbox 360/Kinect bundle pack – which has a 4GB 360 and no memory card in the box – is learning.]
It could have been better if: Console manufacturers were honest. Which we how sounds funny – dammit, why is that?
We don't which is more embarrassing for Microsoft's games division: The abysmal life span of its flagship product, or the fact that the company is still trying to convince us the failure rate is only around 30%. An independent survey conducted by Game Informer puts the failure rate at closer to 55%, and there are GR staffers who’ve burned through three or more 360s in the last five years. The problem is that users who enjoy their system the most are the ones who get burned the fastest. The deep, relaxing “breath of air” that the 360’s curved design was meant to symbolize has instead come to symbolize the sharp gasp a gamer takes when they see the red rings. Or the mass breath-holding of gamers praying their systems don't fail before Black Ops comes out.
It could have been better if: Microsoft had admitted the problem sooner, fixed it more quickly, and just been less unfriendly on a corporate level about the whole thing.