Grand Theft Auto V PSN pre-loads prove how much further console digital has to go

Amazon would get a copy of GTA V to you on release day (or even before that if you’re lucky) for 35. So why would you spend 50 on a digital PS3 version?

Well, there are a couple of reasons. Firstly, it means the game will always be there on your HDD in an instantly accessible, non disc-swappable form. It might even load a bit faster too.

But another good reason was SCEE’s policy of allowing you to download the game early (or ‘preload’) meaning that the very moment the game is released you’ll be able to access it.

In actual fact a Sony cock-up meant that a handful of folk who pre-ordered the game at the end of August were able to preload it immediately. This ultimately led to some game detail leaks and undoubtedly resulted in Sony receiving an ungodly bollocking from Rockstar, but when the dust settled PSN was telling customers that the game would be available to preload from September 13th.

When September 13th arrived and the game was not preloading, folk became agitated. The news that its preload had been delayed until September 16th was greeted with unimaginable fury on the PlayStation forums, so much so that Sony and/or Rockstar moved the preload date forward to 15:00 yesterday afternoon (September 15th).

You can guess what happened. Yesterday, 15:06. This is beyond a joke now…”. 15:07. shame on you SONY”. 15:10. You take OUR money and nothing you suck”. 15:11. Still not able liars they are”. 15:13. Well it seems that Rockstar have lied through their teeth yet again and it seems they cannot be trusted with anything they say these days. Part of me wishes GTAV was a flop just so sc*ew them over for doing the same to loyal paying customers.” 15:18. hey sony and rockstar i am becoming a videogame pirate now i will get me a ps3 with custom firmware and pirate all your games because you dont ra** us sony customers in the ass ever again”.

After some reasoned and learned debate about possible GMT/BST confusion, the download went live at 15:39. One member of the MCV team started their download at 15:44. The first 60 per cent sailed down the pipes in an hour. Then things slowed down.

The download completed at 20:44. That’s five hours to download 18GB on a 60MB internet line. And then the install failed due to a corrupted file.

A second download, presumably helped by the fact that it was getting late and PSN was under less strain, took just an hour and a half. An additional half hour installation later and the game is good to go, once Sony’s server give it the digital nod at midnight tonight. Which will of course pass off without a hitch.

Of course, this isn’t an inherent problem with digital. Gamers have been preloading titles on Steam for yonks without any such issues. And truth be told that’s exactly the model Sony and Microsoft need to be following if they want digital to become a viable consumer proposition on PS4 and Xbox One.

But for all those who spent the latter half of yesterday trying to get a working copy of a game they’ve already paid for onto their PS3 – while reading online about those happily playing their Amazon copies – an all-digital future feels today like a somewhat less enticing prospect.

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