Thursday, June 16, 2011

Free PS3 games cost too much time

We here at Megabits are big fans of Sony and the PS3, and despite the lengthy outage that saw our consoles gather dust for over a month after hackers put its online service out of action, we couldn’t help but feel grateful when the Japanese firm apologized with free games and perks.

Picking two games from five pretty great - albeit old titles - and offering a 30-day trial to its premium PlayStation Plus service, seemed a nice gesture. Afterall, Sony's service means many of us can play online for free so we weren't out of pocket - and not being able to download demos or play co-op games temporarily wasn't too much of a hardship.

So when the PSN came back, I for one was quick to add countless freebies to my download queue and rub my hands together in eager anticipation! Problem was, I was still sat there three hours later.

“Cannot perform background download” was the message that had been emblazoned on my screen. And this was just the first game (I opted for Burnout Paradise, then my freebies - Infamous and Wipeout in the end, the latter coming with a free bonus pack). Fortunately, I’d stopped rubbing my hands together some time earlier, otherwise I’d have worked my way through to the bone!

My internet connection is by no means slow and provides more than adequate speeds with no lag or slowdown. But whenever a PS3 download starts up, it moves at an absolute crawl.
I got so bored, I booted up my 360 and decided to solve a couple of lengthy cases in L.A Noire – switching between the Cole’s escapades and my PS3 menu screen to check its progress every now and again.

Finally, Burnout had left the queue and leapt across to my games list. L.A Noire and the 360 were promptly turned off. Paradise here I come. Alas, as always, I forgot about the PS3's insistence on having to install the damn thing. Not too lengthy a process but a minor annoyance. Done. Now to play...

Nope. Another screen pops up to tell me that I need five hefty updates (equivalent to downloading the entire game again). “Cannot perform background download” appeared on my screen once again. Sort it out Sony!

Why is it that when 360 games need updating it takes only a few minutes at most – but with the PS3, hours of valuable gaming time can be wasted? It completely wrecks the PSN proposition for me and highlights why Xbox Live is my preferred service. Forget any other arguments about reliability, connections, time outs and matchmaking, Sony first needs to get this issue sorted to really compete.

Thanks for welcoming me back, Sony. Problem is, I think most of that 30-day PlayStation Plus trial will be spent waiting for my download queue to clear.


Ah, Wipeout, just about the only game that makes me wish I had a PS3 instead of a 360.

Shame that the apology for a month of disgruntlement is several extra hours of disgruntlement though.