In the age of the PlayStation 2, software updates were a rarity. Once a game or application was released, that was pretty much it. Fast forward to the present, and we’re bombarded with constant updates for our apps, operating systems, and especially our games. But why is this the case? Why didn’t developers need to update software as frequently in the past? The answer lies in two fundamental reasons:
1. The Power of the Internet: Making Updates Seamless
The Internet has revolutionized the way software is distributed and updated. Here’s why:
- Ease of Updating: In the past, once a game or software was burned onto a disc or cartridge, making changes was nearly impossible without issuing a new physical release. But today, thanks to the Internet, software updates, including for games, can be easily pushed out to users. This includes not only the core software but also assets like art, sound, and other elements.
- Frameworks to the Rescue: Modern development is aided by frameworks that handle the complexities of software updates. Developers no longer need to worry about the intricate details of pushing an update. They simply update the necessary assets or code and hit “Publish”, making the process smoother and more efficient.
2. The Evolution of Software Complexity
Software, especially games, has evolved significantly in terms of complexity. This has both advantages and challenges:
- The Good Old Days: Back in the era of simpler gaming systems like the Apple II, the limited memory (64K max) and straightforward logic paths made it easier to identify and fix defects. Games were like small sandboxes, devoid of the mammoth data sizes we see today.For instance, a known bug in Wizardry on the Apple II caused an issue with the display when using an 80-column card. However, this bug wasn’t game-breaking and was eventually corrected by modern-day hackers.
- Modern Software Challenges: Today’s games are on another level. With vast gigabytes of assets, intricate 3D graphics, threading, and an array of hardware configurations, fully debugging software becomes a Herculean task. While most critical defects are identified and rectified, many minor ones can slip through.A recent example is Cyberpunk 2077 on the PS4 and certain Xbox models. The game had glaring defects, such as characters floating in mid-air, which became the talk of the gaming community.
These challenges make online updates not just a luxury but a necessity. They ensure that users get the best experience possible, free from game-breaking bugs or software glitches.
The advancement in technology and the complexity of modern software have made updates more prevalent. While the ease of Internet-driven updates is a boon, it’s also a response to the challenges posed by today’s intricate software landscape. The bottom line is, these updates aim to enhance our digital experiences, making software more reliable, secure, and enjoyable. So, the next time your game or app prompts an update, remember that it’s all in the pursuit of perfection.