Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Sony isn’t up to speed on download times

Posted in Editorial, Video Games by Jacob Zinn on November 7, 2009

Sony needs to improve dowload times for PS3 and PSP content if disc-based games go extinct.

The PSPgo, which has a hard drive instead of a UMD drive, has barely been in stores for a month, but retrieving downloadable content seems to take even longer.

Unlike previous versions of the PSP which reads and plays UMDs (Universal Media Discs), the PSPgo uses 16GB of storage for downloadable games.

Background downloads can be performed on content from the PlayStation Store, meaning games and add-ons for the PSP and PS3 can download while you play, watch or listen to something else on the system. Regardless, it might be a while until your purchase is ready.

Sony introduced Media Go, a Windows XP and Vista software that opens the PlayStation Store on a PC and allows downloads for the PSP and the Sony Ericsson phones. Media Go does not support downloads of PS3 content.

PS3 system updates can be downloaded onto a computer and transferred via USB stick to the console, but updates specific to games must go through the PS3 and cannot be downloaded in the background.

On my connection, it took roughly seven hours to download and install the gigabyte of updates for Burnout Paradise. I put in the disc at 4:00 p.m. and it wasn’t ready until 11:00 p.m.

My PS3 estimated a download speed of 6.8 Mbps (850 KB/s)–which should’ve taken about 20 minutes to download the updates–but there is an asterisk next to their optimistic estimations acknowledging exceptions.

Asterisk or not, if download speeds cannot be improved on the systems, at least offer game updates and store downloads for Mac and PC users to transfer to their consoles later.

The last generation of gaming consoles never had to download updates, so don’t release games that aren’t fully tested and ready.

Seven hours of waiting is a waste of time and you don’t want gamers questioning if the game is worth it.

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