Before packing up our things and moving to rural Ohio I was actually excited to be back where there are seasons and relatively nice weather for most of the year. The one thing I didn’t count on was the complete lack of high speed internet and how it would impact not only my job search (not having bandwidth to post a 500kb PDF resume will make you wonder why you try at all) but also my gaming experience.
I never purchased a digital game until I owned a PS4 and was living in Monterey, CA. I had high speed internet through the same company a lot of you probably go through (you know, because monopoly is the new word for competition these days). I bought Grand Theft Auto 5 and loved it as much as I did on PS3, actually, I loved it more. It was rendered beautifully. The problem I faced upon the initial purchase was that it was around a 50GB download and my internet, as fast as it was at the time was going to give me this game after taking about eight hours to download the software.
I would then go on to buy Black Ops 3, COD WW2 and many other titles digitally because it seemed like a good idea at the time. What I didn’t consider was the fact that maybe someday I wouldn’t have access to high speed internet. It seemed ridiculous after having had it since 2005. The thing that no one seems to think about is that while the games are a big part of your initial experience they also download patches that are sometimes over 8 GB in size on their own. If you have played any game with online access you most likely have experience with having to wait for a patch to download and install… but wait, there’s more.
You might say, buy the game in hard copy form, dummy. Yes, true enough – that’s a valid point to fix the first problem. The patch issue when you have internet that is half a step better than dial-up is enough to make you buy an SNES Classic and find a happy place (Those still exist, right?… A happy place, I mean. The SNES Classic isn’t even available in most places, I digress.).
You can’t play your old saves on games that don’t have the updated patch. Your old game saves are tied to the latest patch that you downloaded. So, if you have been playing Dark Souls, The Witcher, Skyrim, Fallout, Bloodborne, etc. and you own the hard copy disc but you deleted one of those games in order to play something new (Battlefield 1 (76 GB), Grand Theft Auto (76 GB), etc.) you will need to not only install the game again, but you will also have to download the patch to be able to load your old saves.
I can’t complain in regards to almost any other aspect of life in terms of being fortunate in virtually every other facet of functionality. I know I am lucky to be in the position I currently find myself. However, when it comes to gaming and general accessibility to what is becoming a more internet-centralized world, I am at a loss with quite a few people in rural America.
There doesn’t seem to be a true fix for this situation other than demanding better infrastructure when it comes to running fiber optic cable all over the place. You would think that it would be as simple as using your cell phone provider as a hot spot, but the way they throttle your data speed after a rather small amount is used basically puts you into the stone age in terms of internet access.
This is why I urge all of you to purchase your games in hard copy form. Sure, you will have to deal with downloading a patch over the course of a week, but imagine how long it would take you to download your next 50 GB game and then be greeted with a patch on top of that.
There is good reason to go out and buy your game at a store or however you prefer to acquire a hard copy. It seems that the reason relates to time travel, because my PS4 is living in 1998.