Technology

Halo 5 download issues frustrate some gamers

Halo 5 is one of the most hotly anticipated video games of the year Image copyright Microsoft
Image caption Halo 5 is one of the most hotly anticipated video games of the year

Some gamers eager to play Halo 5, one of the most hotly anticipated Xbox One games of the year, have expressed frustration over slow downloads.

Several would-be players of the new title, which launched on Tuesday, have posted comments online complaining that the game is taking "hours" to download.

Halo 5, which is available digitally, is 55 gigabytes (GB) but also includes a patch of a further 9GB.

The patch must be downloaded on launch day in order to play online.

One Twitter user commented that their download had been running for over seven hours.

"7 and a a [sic] half hours later and halo 5 hasn't finish game installation download... [Never mind] the online updates," they wrote.

Another, on Reddit, said their download became "stuck" at 85%. A few hours later they added a comment explaining that the download had completed.

"Now it's 9:00am and I got work in 20 minutes. So much for sleep lol," they wrote.

Yet another added, "Started my install nearly 10 hours ago and when I woke up this morning my download was at 34%. I am absolutely furious."

However, Microsoft has played down the issue.

"The download speeds for Halo 5: Guardians are normal and working as intended," a spokeswoman told the BBC.

"There were isolated reports of slower speeds last evening, shortly after the worldwide launch, but everything is now working as expected."

Digital disappointment

Issues with downloading large video game installation and update files are increasingly common, according to Piers Harding-Rolls, a games analyst at IHS.

"If you go for a digital version you've got to download the whole game and if it's a very popular one you're likely to be dealing with a slow network as well," he told the BBC.

While there are advantages in the sense that games can be updated with new and improved content, problems can occur when new files fail to distribute smoothly, he added.

"From the consumer point of view, it's not great to have to wait many hours to get access to content," he said.

"This is an issue that console companies and publishers really need to look at seriously."

Mr Harding-Rolls suggested that the approach of "pre-loading", in which a video game is downloaded to a console and then activated on launch day, is a good way around the problem.

While the main game file for Halo 5 did pre-load for many users, they were still forced to wait for the 9GB update file to download and install before they could start playing online.

It's not the largest "day-one patch" there's been. Elder Scrolls Online, for example, which launched on PS4 and Xbox One this summer, included a 15GB patch on launch day.

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