For the past few years, PC gamers on Steam have been able to enjoy a little feature called pre-loading. In essence, it allows you to download the game before its launch and immediately start playing the second it comes out. The same functionality hasn’t been available on consoles for a variety of reasons, but the next generation has finally made it possible.
If you visit the Titanfall page on Xbox.com, you’ll be greeted with this little notice (emphasis mine):
Pre-purchase: You will be charged the full price immediately for this pre-purchase. Xbox One game expected to release on March 11th, 2014. You may download the game from Xbox Live before then, but it will not be playable until after 12:01 AM PST on the release date in your country.
Titanfall may be the first console game to get the pre-load treatment, and it’s a damn good game to start the trend with. The beta test last weekend confirmed the hype for many, and sold the game for others who were far more skeptical. Being able to jump in right at midnight on March 11 is a wonderful bonus for those who will be pre-ordering the title through Xbox Live.
As for other digital titles, it doesn’t look like a pre-load is in the cards. The upcoming Kinect Sports Rivals only has a pre-order page, but no promise of a pre-load. Granted, it’s still a little far out and Microsoft may offer the pre-loading option once we’re closer to the release date for these games.
Still, it’s a promising trend that other should follow. Being able to download a pre-order at release is nice, but being able to pre-load before release is much nicer. The Wii U might not be able to manage such a feat for its digital releases, but Sony can surely make it happen. If it can, consumers might be more tempted to go digital for the convenience of minute one, instead of day one, access.