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Giving Someone a Video Game Console This Christmas? Do This First and Be A Hero

It happens every Dec. 25th. Once the presents are open, people begin plugging in their new PlayStations, Xboxes and (this year) Nintendo Switches, eager to play a game for a little while before they sit down for dinner.

But that excitement quickly turns to frustration—and sometimes anger—as required system updates can’t be made, due to overwhelmed servers.

If you’re one of the many people giving a video game console as a gift this year, do yourself and your recipient a favor: Take it out of the box first.

It’s commonplace these days for systems to have a mandatory update out of the box – and many new games also require a patch before their can be played. In some cases, those updates and patches can be as big as 94 GB.

Even in the most ideal of bandwidth situations, that’s a party foul. But because so many people are trying to download such big files simultaneously, the back end servers of console manufacturers often buckle, meaning no one can download the updates – and those consoles that were meant to be the big gift of the holidays are little more than doorstops. (The holidays are also a favorite time for hackers to focus on video game companies, typically with DDoS attacks.)

By setting up the systems before they’re wrapped, though, you’ll not only avoid that logjam, you also have the opportunity to ensure that the console is loaded with games the recipient will love.

Christmas and the holidays, after all, are supposed to be a time of joy – not screams of frustration.