The PlayStation 4 won't be the only console launching with a critical patch this year. The Xbox One is going to be similarly hobbled.
Actually, hobbled might be too kind a term. Without the update, you've essentially bought yourself a $500 brick.
In an interview with Engadget, Microsoft senior director of product management Albert Penello acknowledged that "functionally, you will be able to do very little without taking the day one update."
Pressed a bit further -- and asked what people could do with the Xbox One if they simply took it out of the box and started playing -- Penello coughed it up: "Nothing. You need the day one update," he said.
Microsoft has made it clear that the system would launch with a day one patch, which is hardly surprising given how many policy changes it has made since introducing the Xbox One back in May. The system currently being manufactured contains a relatively old version of the operating system, hence the need for the patch. There's no word yet on how big this patch will be, nor how long Microsoft expects it will take for you to download and install it.
PlayStation 4 owners who pick up Sony's new console next week will face a similar dilemma. The PS4 will require a 300 MB patch that enables some of the most basic functions of the console, like the ability to play DVDs or Blu-ray discs or compete in multiplayer matches. Other critical features of the PS4 patch include Remote Play on the PS Vita, sharing and digitally downloading games in the background.
Wii U owners might be experiencing some deja vu as well. That system launched with a hefty 5 GB mandatory patch out of the box that took upwards to 4 hours to download and install.
While it's easy to brush this off as simply the price we pay for new tech (many devices require some sort of update out of the box), it's still frustrating. Even if everything goes smoothly, that initial rush you get after opening the box and hooking up the system to your TV will hit a wall once you turn it on.
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