Sony has promised a number of outstanding features for its new game console, but today we learned of a substantial catch for early adopters. While features like Remote Play, game broadcast, and play-as-you-download are still slated for the PS4′s launch, they will not ship on the first production run. Instead, you’ll need to download a 300MB patch on launch day to gain access to a laundry list of promised PS4 features.
Earlier today, Sony announced that software update 1.50 will be released alongside the initial launch of the PS4. It’ll weigh in at a hefty 300MB, and will enable a number of vital aspects of the new console. Specifically, this update will include Vita Remote Play, second screen functionality with tablets, gameplay recording, game broadcast, play-as-you-download support, multi-account functionality, party chat, face recognition, voice commands, a background music player, online multiplayer, and the ability to play Blu-ray and DVD movies. If you can’t pull down the patch immediately, none of those core features will work at all on your shiny new $ 399 chunk of plastic and silicon.
If you recall, the Wii U had a similar patch requirement on day-one. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s servers didn’t have nearly enough throughput, so it took a number of hours to get the Wii U up and running. In fact, the lengthy patching process even caused some consoles to fail before a single game was played. Sony’s track record with patches and download speeds is far from spotless, so don’t be surprised if the initial patching experience causes a few problems.
So, if Sony already knows the console needs an update, why can’t it patch the PS4′s firmware before launch? Unfortunately, that isn’t feasible with current production techniques. Since we’re only a few weeks out from the PS4 launch, most of the units are likely already off the assembly line, and being prepared for worldwide shipment. Clearly, the engineers were working on the PS4 until the last possible moment, and that means a number of features got left on the cutting room floor. In previous generations, leaving this many features unfinished would likely call for a delay. Now, it’s simply standard operating procedure to ship a broken product with a day-one patch.
Keep in mind, the Xbox One will also receive a day-one update, so many of the same issues may befall that platform as well. While it’s not clear what Redmond intends on patching, Marc Whitten claims that the download will only take 15-20 minutes. Hopefully, the network infrastructure will actually be able to handle the load of hundreds of thousands of customers updating at once. If not, we can expect a record amount of bellyaching across the entire internet.