Dead Rising 3 has just released a patch clocking in at 13GB.

You read that right, folks. THIRTEEN GIGABYTES. That’s equal to two 360 games. Bigger than FIFA 14 on the next-gen systems. Even though we’re now used to patches coming in past the gigabyte mark, this is still a bit of a jaw-dropper. And the best part is, it’s mandatory, as this screencap posted by a Reddit user proves:


From what the Internet Hivemind has been able to ascertain, the patch notes only listing ‘System changes: System stability has been improved’. Producer Josh Bridge has explained that it brings a series of tweaks to single-player and co-op gameplay, including UI updates and improvements to the game’s PP system. If that all sounds decidedly less than 13GB’s worth, you’d be right: The bulk of the update seems to comprise assets for the game’s first DLC mission, Operation Broken Eagle, due out tomorrow. This is the first of – hold on to your hats – four DLC episodes planned, which means that if the others will be comparable in size and also wrapped in mandatory game fixes, it may be time to start buttering up your ISPs whether you plan on buying the DLC or not. It’s also been established that the patch does not stack onto the game’s install size, meaning that the game still takes up 20GB on the Xbox One’s hard drive.

But that’s not the point. The point is the small mountain of data that needs to be downloaded, and what that means for consumers with slow and/or capped internet. While it’s been the case for some time now that an unlimited internet plan is all but essential for stress-free gaming, the fact remains that that in many places internet access is not always guaranteed, and even if it is it’s caps or nothing and some of them are decidedly on the stingy side.

But we all know this already, and we know Microsoft know this already, because this was the exact same issue behind much of the uproar last year when Microsoft announced Xbox One’s original mandatory online policy. It’s not like this is a universal policy, either: updates on the PS4 have mainly been well under a gig, and while you may see the odd several-gig patch crop up on Steam they’re still far, far smaller than this.

While some have decried this development as a sign of how the big, bad digital future is going to screw us all, the truth is that only Xbox is seeing these large updates come in with such regularity. The console itself needed a 2GB update on launch day before owners could even start playing, with Forza 5 needing a 6GB patch on launch. That’s 8GB just to get your console and game working on the first day.

This latest development suggests that while these large updates may simply be a symptom of teething problems early in the console’s lifecycle, one has to wonder if Microsoft really have abandoned their vision of an all-online Xbox userbase. The size of these updates certainly give the impression that MS still imagine their customers as all having, speedy, unlimited internet plans even if the events of last year should have left them in no doubt that this was not the case. And while the enforced install of DLC content regardless of the user’s willingness to buy it has been around for a while, it has been generally tolerated as long as download and storage size isn’t an issue.  For now there’s just an issue with users downloading 13GB of data to play Dead Rising, and while the assurance has been made that this update won’t eat up extra hard drive space there’s still another three DLC missions to come which may or may not be able to be assimilated into the 20GB install.

Much has been said about MS’s recent hubris in the console and OS arenas, to the extent that most of their work last year was repairing the damage they inflicted on their own image post-Windows 8/E3. While the concessions made to the Xbox One’s functionality were garnished with tactical sincerity, the bottom line is that that tune needed to be changed out of obvious and unavoidable needs of business. The band are, however, still playing, and  time will only tell how long they’ll be content with playing the hits when they have Jazz Odyssey Online Only Edition in the bag and aren’t afraid to use it.


As it turned out, it was one makeover too far for Major Nelson...

As it turned out, it was one makeover too far for Major Nelson…