PS3: Background Patch Downloading?

Last June stories were floating around that the PS3 would, by way of a Firmware Update, get a user reputation system, grief reporting and the background download and installation of game update patches.  Well, we kind of got the grief reporting, but it’s not as slick or as automated as we’d like, and everything else appears to have disappeared into the wayside, with Sony seemingly focused on 3D tech instead of the above issues for their Firmware Updates.

We do assume that the user rep system is still coming, though, several developers have tipped us off to this one at least, but it’s the background patch downloading that’s of utmost importance to me personally just now.  Why?  Because for some reason downloading an update over the PSN takes exponentially longer than it does for the equivalent update over Xbox Live.  The PS3 seems to need to download much more just to get the same job done.

And whilst it’s doing this, you can’t use your PS3.

Yes, the same is true of the Xbox 360 but because patches download (literally) in seconds rather than minutes, I don’t really mind.  But when you’ve got a room full of friends that want to see the latest PS3 games and half of them need updating for 10 minutes before they’ll run online, it’s incredibly frustrating and, to be honest, quite often a bit embarrassing and it’s normally easier to just switch off the online functionality rather than sit and wait it out.

Sure, I could try every game a couple of hours before people come around to see if any need updating, but the PS3 knows which games I own (via save games and Trophies) and thus surely when a patch arrives and my PS3 is idle it could just start the downloads in the background so I could be safe in the knowledge that when I put a disk into the Blu-ray slot the game will automatically be the latest version and I can just jump straight online without fuss.

Will that day ever arrive?  We believe so – let’s hope it’s soon.