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Xbox One allows users to play games before they finish downloading

Forza Motorsport 5

When Microsoft’s Xbox One was revealed back in May, we weren’t positive if users would be able to start playing their latest video game before it finished downloading. This week a Microsoft representative confirmed to Polygon that users would in fact be able to "play games while they’re still downloading to the console."

This announcement comes as a relief to gamers in a world where we don’t all have the fastest internet speeds and the ability to download a video game title with the snap of our fingers. The same attribute applies to disc-based games; they can be played while being installed to the system’s hard drive.

At this time, the PlayStation 4 currently supports the "play while downloading" model. Microsoft’s announcement will be a warm welcome to Xbox One fans who can now confirm they have the same feature as their Sony friends.

How important do you think "play while downloading" is?

Source: Polygon, Thanks to pbroy for the tip!

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Reader comments

Xbox One allows users to play games before they finish downloading

38 Comments

That's all well and good, but I won't be truly satisfied until we can play games BEFORE they have started downloading. In fact, we should be able to play them before they come out!

Meh. Assuming games download automatically at 12:00:00 on release day, I'll be asleep during most of the download process. I do have a life outside gaming.

Exactly. What they should make is some sort of 'pre-order' process, where the game is downloaded automatically on release, so by the time you've woken up or come home from work/school*, it's ready to go.
* - do you homework first, kids!

Segmented download its called. Like Office 365. I'm sure they already said this. I mean of course it can do it. Do u think Sony have the software and service resources Microsoft do? Where are Sony one up on Microsoft regards software and systems? I mean secure ones of course.

Sony still has the ability to steam games a la gaikai, Microsoft has yet to address that. Its great to see them confirm the play as you download thing though, I was waiting for that.

If you seriously consider the idea of streaming any game that isn't turn-based, you should be shot.
Then again, people enjoy Angry Birds and it's the same kind of random mess as a streamed action game would be...

Its still a feature. The technology is still in its infancy so it won't be a big deal until later in the console life cycle though. Each system has their pros.

The only way for this technology to have sane usability is quantum entanglement or something like that.
The lag of a wireless controller is barely on the acceptable side. The lag of sending your input through the internet and then getting an image streamed back (is the video quality at least decent? I would expect compression) is just insane.

We have yet to understand how the streaming will be implemented so I say just wait and see how it goes. I believe it will be reserved for this Gen, indie, and previous Gen games at first, that should mean the amount of data being sent is somewhat manageable. No matter what, if we have to wait till 2014 to see it running, it better be somewhat decent lol hopefully technology has advanced since that crappy onlive service.

Actually... Microsoft has had this technology since 2006, when they acquired softgrid which later was renamed to App-V. Its in Version 5.x now! If you run Office 365 on your PC you will see this technology in action as you can start to use the Office applications in a few seconds after starting to download and then it continues to download in the background while you use the software. So Microsoft have lots of experience with this already!

Streaming a game and streaming office 365 are two completely different things. You have to deal with higher amounts of data coming across and try to keep the input lag minimal, and that's not mentioning the resource difference needed server side. App-V is a good start but gaikai already has experience dealing with streaming games and other media, so app-v would have to change a lot to have the same functionality.

Good to hear but I'm still hoping for Steam style pre-orders that let you download 99% in advance of the release so you can start playing pretty much instantaneously. To say that my school internet is less than wonderful is an understatement and since the backtrack on the online checks I don't plan on buying any games on disc.

They did that with skyrim. People downloaded the full game in advance, and upon release they just had to download an unlock code or something. Brilliant ideas indeed

what about play other games/do other things while a digital purchase is downloading?  i'm sure that's possible right?

Agreed. Background downloading needs to be more robust. Currently doing pretty much anything useful on the Xbox stops an active download. :(

I'd guess that you can still buy games from xbox.com and add them to your download queue.  Auto-delivery of pre-ordered games would be pretty cool, I hve to admit.
 
The play-while-downloading refers to thegame mechanics and first few levels being downloaded first, and then the rest of the data will follow.I guess that stalling may occur if you're a l33t gamer with a slow net connection.
 
Open plan games like Forza might have issues here.

I wonder, that close-up from the Forza trailer—or rather just the trailer itself—is that real-time graphics using tiled resources? I remember them being mentioned for the Xbox One as well as on Windows 8.1 PCs.

I don't download. I just like to play from a disc. Most of the time a used disc. I don't even care to be connected to the WiFi for my gaming system. Just give me better graphics and im a happy camper.

cool, im still not buying after you tried to pull that stunt Microsoft...No thanks :D eat your VCR

This all depends on how well the developer packages their downloadable games. People with slow connections can still wait a long time to play the game if the content is not packaged properly.

Very important to me. I don't have the fastest connection but I plan on downloading most (if not all) of my games to take advantage of the fast switching capabilities of the X1. I love the idea of jumping in and out of games and apps instantly like I already do on my 920!

I plan to purchase all my games online. As I never resell I don't want to bother with disks again. Can't wait for my box to arrive....

An important feature for me, as I have a 1/1mbit internet connection, which is really abysmal at this day and age, but as a student with no real income I don't feel like paying twice as much just to download the occasional game and patch faster. So to download a new game, I usually download it all day pretty much, so I'm happy I can start playing it while downloading. That said, personally I'm more of an online gaming so I dont expect to be able to play MP while downloading, if for no other reason but that theres no free bandwidth for a lag free experience :D