So, you managed to snag a hotly-demanded piece of gaming hardware this Christmas. Congrats! Whether you’ve got a PS5, an Xbox Series X/S, a Nintendo Switch, or an Oculus Quest, you’ve got a great gaming machine that will weather the years. Then you wrapped it up and put it under the tree, as one does. Here’s the thing, however: you should have opened it first. Why, do you ask? You’re about to find out.
A modern gaming console is hardly a plug and play experience. They require updates, they require accounts, and in many cases you’ll find yourself downloading games rather than buying them on discs. All of that runs through the platform holder’s servers, be they Xbox Live, PlayStation Network or Nintendo Switch Online. And those servers can get busy, particularly if there’s a lot of traffic.
Christmas morning represents a singularity in the world of gaming services: a moment when more people are unboxing, updating and setting on consoles than at any other point during the year, probably by a solid order of magnitude. That means a ton of other people are also going to be going through that process of updating consoles and establishing accounts, clogging the servers with massive traffic. And, naturally, that means things are going to go a little slower than usual.
I’ve prewritten this piece before the inevitable crush, but just take note: you might find that the updates are taking forever, you might find that account creation services are temporarily down, or any number of other problems that occur when this sort of traffic happens. It’s a pain, because it means that your giftee may not be able to get to gaming as soon as they could, and because they have the shiny piece of console right there in front of them.
But take heart, because these things will get resolved with time. Maybe a few hours, maybe less, but this is a problem endemic to Christmas morning that will, in all likelihood, pass pretty soon. I’ll do my best to keep you posted about any major problems that are taking longer than expected, but in the meantime hang tight, because games await.
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