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Make Christmas merrier by getting your video game presents ready now

Don’t wait until your holiday to get your consoles and games working

how the grinch stole christmas live-action jim carrey version Universal Pictures

New video game consoles are going to be popular presents this holiday season. They’re popular presents every holiday season. And there’s an easy thing you can do to make Christmas morning magical if you’re giving someone the gift of interactive entertainment: Open everything right now to get the systems online and updated, and the games downloaded and patched.

Doing so will help everyone in your family, not just the recipient of the gifts. Children will be able to play with their new toys without having to wait hours for the latest firmware or the newest patches for each game, and parents can take a break right after everything is opened while the rest of the family happily plays something fun.

There’s always the chance that each console’s online infrastructure will go down due to the holiday rush, which means that you could be stuck with systems and games that can’t be played or accessed if you didn’t think ahead. Downloading everything you need today will make sure that you can play everything you’d like to play, and it helps relieve the congestion for everyone else.

And remember that many holiday console bundles don’t come with a physical version of each game, but instead pack in download codes. Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Switch bundle requires you to download the game since there’s no card included. Switch games are often small downloads, but many modern games are much bigger. If you bought an Xbox One bundle with Forza Horizon 4, for example, you’re looking at a hefty 67 GB download.

If you’re starting from the very beginning, and a lot of families will be in 2018, you’ll need to set up your new console, connect it to the internet, set up an account, install firmware updates and game patches, and then you’ll be able to play. It doesn’t take very long to detail all the steps, but the whole process can eat up a good chunk of time that’s better to do now. Long gone are the days of plugging in a disc or cartridge and playing right away.

This process could fill up a quiet evening over this weekend, or you could wait until everyone is eager to play the game and then explain to them how long it will take before they can actually do so. Doing things ahead of time will allow you to catch any problems before it’s too late and will make sure everyone can get right to the fun part on Christmas morning, while waiting until the holiday itself means that you may run into issues you won’t be able to work through on a holiday.

Do the right thing, for everyone. Break the seals as soon as you can, and get everything working. Then put it all back in the box and wrap it in festive paper. Your family will thank you, and you’ll feel like a hero. Everyone wins.

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