Video games are huge. I don’t mean culturally or financially. I mean they’ve ballooned to massive sizes, upwards of 30 or 50 gigabytes. If you’ve started purchasing your games from Microsoft and Sony’s marketplaces, clicking that “Buy” button is accompanied with a long wait. If you’re on Xbox One, though, that wait is about to get shorter.
The latest update to the Xbox One offers increases download speeds across all connections, but the boost is biggest for those with the fastest connections. If your connection speed is 100 Mbps or greater, Microsoft says you should see an 80 percent boost in download speeds, while those with connections below the 100 Mbps mark will see a 40 percent increase. Background downloads have seen some optimization as well, and should be “more resilient to intermittent connectivity issues.”
I decided to test this with my two Xbox One consoles. I updated one, while leaving the other with the previously available firmware. Running the Xbox One’s built-in speed test, my updated Xbox One saw a download speed of 165 Mbps, while my other console puttered along at just 40 Mbps. Downloading the recently-released Xbox One version of Bastion, I saw varying speeds, but they reached higher than they usually do, hitting 20-plus megabytes per second and hovering around 13-17 for most of the download. Not bad, Microsoft.
Some caveats, though
This, as you might guess, will be based somewhat on the setup of your home network and the connection offered by your internet service provider, and Microsoft notes that downloads running while playing games will be slower than those that run while the console is otherwise idle.
The update also promises to improve the reliability of streaming music apps, and updates the firmware of the Xbox One wireless controller to improve performance. The update is available now and, yes, every second the download takes is agonizing, knowing it could be taking less than half as long.