How is it that despite a 10 year head start on the Internet the online
experience of PC games is so much worse than consoles? XBox Live is
worlds better than the pastiche of special accounts, downloaders, and
patch systems of PC games.
Yesterday I decided on a whim to buy Battlefield
. And since I was lazy, I bought it online rather than at a store. If I'd known it would take six hours to install during which
time my computer wasn't fully usable, I wouldn't have bothered.
I now have three or four different systems for installing and managing
games on my PC: Steam, Stardock, etc. All of them suck. And every
single game has a different login system, a different account, a
different way to find friends online and play. Compare to Xbox Live, a
seamless integrated experience. PC games are screwed.
Here's all the idiotic steps the install took.
- 15 minutes to install EA
Link, their toehold on my computer. It runs everytime I reboot now.
- 4 hours to download the 2 gigabyte game installer. There's
no bandwidth throttling so I can't play other online games while downloading.
- 15 minutes to download the 30 megabyte manual pack which includes
16 PDF files in different languages. If I ever need an Arabic manual,
well, I have it already.
- 15 minutes for install stage one where I watch a yellow progress
bar creep up twice with no ETA displayed. What's it doing?
Making two copies of the 2 gigabyte installer.
- 15 minutes for install stage two, the hideous InstallShield.
It thrashes the disk so hard my machine is
non-responsive to other activity.
- 3 minutes watching intro movies I can't skip. Those movies
added 10% to the game download time.
- 5 minutes creating yet another login account with yet another password.
- 5 minutes "optimizing shaders" when I start to play.
- The cruel joke: another 45 minutes downloading the 200 megabyte
patch for the game I just downloaded, necessary before I can play
It's not just that it took six hours for the game to be ready. It's
that it took six hours of dominating my PC making it hard to do other
things. And two of the six hours were a cruel taunting joke where it
looked like I was going to be able to play any second now only to
find yet another period of waiting or another download. Is this really
the best that EA can do? They deserve to be destroyed by a Microsoft monopoly.