One of the most annoying aspects of the PS3 was installation process. Looking at the black screen, the slow loading yellow bar, and the amount of time left for the install was enough to drive the average gamer insane. With the promises of new technology, gamers everywhere probably fretted at the notion of mandatory installs being a permanent part of console gaming. I would too, but NBA 2K14 on the PS4 gave me hope that if mandatory installs are here to stay, there’s at least a way to make it entertaining.
NBA 2K14 comes with a mandatory install size of 50GB. Ordinarily, there’d be a cause for concern with time, but 2K has done something quite unique. Taking a cue from EA Sports (back when they used to let you fool around on a practice court/field for NBA Live and FIFA) 2K actually lets you play a full game as either the Miami Heat or the San Antonio Spurs during the installation.
At first, it’s jarring. When the game boots up, the stage is already set. Four quarters at six minutes per quarter. On the bottom left of the screen is the installation bar, counting the percentage higher as the time ticks away for the contest. Because it’s loading all of the assets from the disc, the game has no commentary at the outset. There are only the players on the court and the latest selection of songs for this years soundtrack.
The game starts out looking like last generation’s version of 2K14 but as the installation assets load in, you see the power of the current generation take over. Towards the end of the installation, while I was shooting free throws during the last 20 or so seconds, the commentary finally kicked in to give final thoughts on the game that was just played. When the clock on the game hit 0:00, installation was complete.
If all developers use the installation process as nifty as 2K did with NBA 2K14, then we, as gamers, will have nothing to fear from large installation files. Something to look forward to in the next gen.