It would be dope if things were how they used to be. Saturday morning cartoons, music on MTV, and software that’s finished when it ships. But it’s 2017, and everything is weird now. Along with that weirdness comes some inconveniences that can catch you by surprise come Christmas morning. If you’re buying your kid, spouse, or parent (mom, don’t read this article) a video game console for Christmas, do them a favor and open it for them.
No, no. I don’t mean for you to tear gleefully into the box while they watch in confusion.
Whether you’re buying a Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony system for your loved one this year, they all have one thing in common: Update Required.
Just about every gaming system these days is going to ask you to update it when you unbox it. The update might be a couple megs, it might be a few hundred. Heck, it might be a couple gigs at this point. And more than any other day of the year, tons of people are hooking up brand new PlayStation and Xbox consoles and trying to get playing. It can create a glut of traffic that can make the updates unbearably slow. Even if it did go smoothly, it’s still a long wait.
So, after Junior is in bed, or say, your mom who loves Zelda games, unbox the system – carefully – and hook it up. Go online. Get that update loaded up. Most of the big updates systems will see this fall are already out, so your chances are pretty good that things will still be ready when the snow’s falling outside.
Check on those games, too
If you bought the Minecraft bundle, the Destiny 2 bundle, or something like that, consider checking those out, too. This isn’t like the NES days when you had a cartridge in the box that had Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on one cartridge. Chances are, the game in the box is a sheet of paper emblazoned with a cool picture and somewhere between 12 and 25-characters of alphanumeric serial number. If this system is for a younger player who doesn’t have an account setup, you can create their account for them (note – you can change Xbox gamertags later, but not PlayStation) and get that game installing ahead of time. That way, they really can plug and play, instead of plug and wait.
That aspect of this equation gets a little stickier if you’re buying the system for a teenager or adult who has their own danged accounts, mom! Sign-in notifications will go to them if they already have two-factor authentication setup like we told them to, and if they already have a system in the family (let’s say you’re getting your PlayStation fan a PlayStation 4 Pro), the game will appear in their download library and might even start downloading automatically. In that case, they’re going to have to wait. Or maybe you think game codes are a bunch of bunk and want to take the bundle back to the store for a refund – and now you don’t have to find out on one of the few days of the year everything’s closed!
Regardless, getting those system updates installed ahead of time will save you half an hour, maybe even more, and get your gamer causing havoc in-game instead of in-house that much sooner. Just make sure you package them back up they came.