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February 2015 Retro Gaming Article

February 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I draw the line when playing a Blu-ray movie forces a PS3 system update

About five years ago I went into an electronics retailer and told the salesman I wanted to buy a CD player. He looked at me as though I was comparison shopping buggy whips. Realizing that he thought I was crazy, I changed my strategy to the purchase of a DVD player, knowing it would be compatible with my CDs.

He showed me an over-priced Blu-ray unit and I explained that I didn't own any Blu-ray discs... so, I just wanted a garden variety DVD player. He was uncertain if he had any plain DVD units since "everyone" wants Blu-ray. Um, Yeah... whatever. As it turned out he had several plain DVD players from a variety of manufacturers, but was keen to oversell me another $100 for features I didn't care about.

PS3 with Blu-Ray To this day, I see no point in paying for a Blu-ray DVD player when the media is more expensive and I can buy all the titles in standard DVD format. I did, however, purchase a PlayStation 3 a few years ago.

In addition to the game library it's opened me up to, I can now enjoy this allegedly superior DVD movie experience. The truth is, I just want to play games - I don't need Blu-ray capability to enjoy watching movies.

I will admit that, over time, I've altered my movie buying habits a bit. When I find one of those DVD/Blu-ray combo packs at a reasonable price, I'll buy it for the sake of having the Blu-ray option. Very often the bonus features are more robust on blu-ray and that's worth a little more to me.

My Internet-less PS3

I bought my PS3 quite late in that consoles life span. I still had many PS2 and Wii games to play and didn't feel as though I was missing out on anything I couldn't buy later on. I read a lot of reviews and everyone seemed to hate the new game process where the game is copied to the PS3 hard drive because the disc mech isn't fast enough to play the game. The disc is only good for storing the game's code. The other complaint was the constant system updates.

As i read up on the PS3, everyone complained that they couldn't simply sit down and play a game. There was always some sort of forced update to perform... over the cable company's lousy broadband service. That whole scenario really turned me off to the entire platform. When I finally bought a PS3 - I plugged it in, attached it to my TV, and waited as it copied game data to the PS3 hard drive.

Here's what I didn't do... I never configured it to reach out to my router. My PS3 has never had an Internet connection. Many of you will balk at that notion, but I have no interest in DLC, Sony Networks offering more stuff to pay for, or 12-year-olds who think its funny to curse into a headset. I just want to play games. And my PS3 has been great for that!

My Blu-ray Movie System Update

Here lies the reason I began telling this tale...
DVD movie So, I'm sick and stayed home from work. I feel awful, but the idea of tuning out the world and watching a kick-ass action flick appealed to me. It wasn't until I was sitting in front of the TV with my lunch that I realized the movie was on Blu-ray, no DVD version. No worries, I figured I'd pop it into the PS3 and enjoy the flick.

I put The Equalizer - starring Denzel Washington - into my console and took a bite of my sandwich. A message appeared on my screen saying I had to perform a system update!

I reflected on all those "update complaints" I'd read about and clicked the controller. I wasn't sure how this would play out since the console had no path to the Internet. To my surprise the fill-bar began filling, indicating the unit thought it was upgrading itself. OK. It occurred to me that the update must have been on the Blu-ray movie disc. How odd, I thought.

My long winded point is that even when I simply wanted to kick back and watch a movie, Sony still found a way to force me to wait through a system update!

There's a thing called "User Experience" and it's something that companies care less and less about as their cost to market rises. I remember being so excited about the first PlayStation and the huge amount of data that would fit on those game discs. For the mech to advance to Blu-ray as a standard, yet be too slow to deliver adequate gameplay seems ill planned. I miss the simpler days of game cartridges that delivered great games with great game play.

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