Why I Am Sitting Here and Not Playing a Game

I’m sitting at the computer, very much Not Playing a Game, when I would rather be Very Much Playing A Game.  Why?

Speed.

I wrestled with the decision of whether to brave the overcast and apathetic Sunday in favor of going to a game store to buy Fallout 3.  In the end, I found that it was available via Games On Demand on the XBox360.  Salvation was at hand.

Or that’s how it seemed four hours ago.

The game’s still downloading, you see.

We see most of our entertainment moving towards a “downloadable content” (DLC), on-demand, streaming, yadda yadda.  But this sort of thing lives and dies by speed.

I used to cringe when Netflix streaming announced that a movie was available in HD–the damn service couldn’t keep up the bandwidth and would pause mid-movie/show and renegotiate a standard resolution connection.  It was annoying because it kicked me out of the action, and it was annoying because they told me “my connection speed has changed” or some other excuse.

I have a 12Mb cable connection.  The limiting factor here isn’t me, it’s the service that wants to sell me content.  And for content that cannot be streamed and consumed while the rest finishes (games, programs, and so forth), speed is paramount to the success of the product on both sides.

I can’t tell if I’ll volunteer for this again.  Not when a slight push to break house gravity would have resulted in me roaming through a post-war future three and a half hours ago.

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