PSN Down & So Is My Gaming Time

Hey everyone, Dan here.

So Matt has decided that it would be a good idea to turn me loose on the internet with my personal ramblings. Whereas the posts you see daily from Matt are regular news updates, most of my writing will be on a more ad-hoc basis covering topics as and when they take my fancy. First up I decided to tackle the problem I had as a result of last week’s PSN issues.

After a full day at work and sorting out other things once I got home, I sat down at about 8pm to play a bit of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. I was only looking to play about an hour, which would have mostly been spent running around between the various inns located within the game in order to purchase Gwent cards, in order to build up the strength of my deck to complete some of the side quests before moving on in the game’s main story. I reached the Isle of the Mists mission and was warned that to progress now would prevent playing some of the side quests, so I’m clearing house on these before letting Geralt turn his attention back to more pressing matters than playing a trading card game. But before I digress any further…

 

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Don’t ignore Gwent in the Witcher III, you’ll need it to complete some quests

 

Problem was when I turned on my PS4, PSN was down. Now normally, being a player who is focused almost entirely on single player games, this wouldn’t have bothered me at all. But oh no, events conspired to make me have to care this time.

As my save file is filled with all the DLC that CD Projekt Red has been releasing for The Witcher III, it seems that I cannot play the game without my PS4 being able to communicate that I have the DLC, by verifying this either through PSN or to the PS Store directly. So unfortunately it has become apparent that this single player game with zero online interactivity, an offline gamer’s dream, cannot be played without a connection to the PSN when first booting the game. Having had internet issues about a month ago, this wasn’t the first time I’d had such issues with the game either.

The question I have is, why? A workaround, suggested online, seems to be setting your PS4 console to being the primary console, for your account, but that workaround only works on that console for that one account, not multiple users. All the DLC is downloaded to my PS4, yes I have the sole account on the console, but why would there not be the functionality in the game to simply read my hard-drive and recognise the DLC? I’ve already signed into my PS4 account on the console, why would I need to sign in online too? This is especially frustrating in that I myself can see the DLC files in my PS4’s library. Not being able to play a game when faced with a network error and not actually needing that network is annoying and something that I hope will not become a more frequent occurrence.

 

With most of the free DLC having already dropped, pretty much every add-on I could have is in my game

With most of the free DLC having already dropped, pretty much every add-on I could have, is in my game

 

Back at the early announcements of the PS4 and Xbox One, Sony came out on top because of openly indicating that internet connections were not needed to either run the console or games. This now appears to not necessarily be the case at all times, which is disappointing. When files are on a hard-drive, they shouldn’t need the PSN to be verified, after all, the verification part should have happened when they were downloaded.

Unlike games along the lines of the NBA 2K series, which uses servers to save files, rather that local storage, which is a completely different subject, games which are totally local should be just that, local. You download music from iTunes and you’re not required to re-activate the track every time you listen to it once it’s associated with your account. Same with eBook purchases with Kindle, download it and the file’s there. If both of these had to go through repeated verifications, then people’s train and plane journeys would become a lot more frustrating.

This screen is seen all too often

This screen is seen all too often…

I hope that, in the future, Sony will introduce a more robust verification method for digital games and DLC, which is not as reliant on connections to the PSN, so that on the occasions that PSN may be down, gamers do not feel like they are left frustrated at not being able to access a game until everything is working again. Until then though, fingers crossed that PSN outages can try and remain to a minimum going forward!