As of this writing, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will launch on millions of consoles in 13 hours, 9 minutes, and 56 seconds. How can this start time be predicted with such accuracy? In preparation for the launch, Eidos pre-installed much of the game’s content onto the consoles of those who pre-ordered the digital version of the title, and a countdown timer has been placed on the home screen.
Yesterday morning at 5:45 a.m., PlayStations, and presumably Xboxes, began downloading and installing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game files. When logging into their consoles, users were presented with notifications that the game had been installed and a countdown timer in the place of the game’s launch icon.
A look into the downloads folder revealed that all of the “Add-On” content had been installed, but the application data had only been downloaded and not installed. It is almost assured that would-be console hackers are feverishly working to find a way to circumvent the timer to get an early first glimpse of the game, but the attempts will probably be futile as PlayStation and Xbox applications are relatively airtight.
The Deus Ex: Mankind Divided pre-installation and timer are obviously a gimmicky way to create last minute anticipation for the title. However, it has its practical side, as well. Users will be pleased that they only have to wait minutes for the installation to complete rather than waiting for the download to finish, which in some cases can take hours. The application takes up almost 46 GB of drive space, so even connections with high bandwidth will have a substantial wait to download the files. Having the game content pre-downloaded and installed will hasten the launch of the highly anticipated game.
Recently, some Deus Ex: Mankind Divided promotional art that featured protesters holding a sign that read, “Augs Lives Matter” drew criticism from some in the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as some in the gaming industry. Opponents felt that Eidos Montéal was being callous and belittling to the BLM. According to Polygon, BioWare designer Manveer Heir criticized the art as “a bad look.” However, Eidos Montréal’s executive brand director, Andre Vu, defended the art via Twitter.
— Final Encounter Cast (@FECPodcast) August 7, 2016
“You are criticizing our integrity and the fact we try to abuse of recent event [sic] when it isn’t the case. These words were thought in our game way before the current events, [an] unfortunate coincidence for sure.”
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided executive art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête was even more vehement that the art was not an attempt to capitalize on the BLM.
At E3, Jonathan told Polygon that the outrage was “completely ridiculous,” also adding, “It’s a form of art, the people outside don’t think it’s art; it’s just ‘stupid games.’ We’re fighting against those people. And then when we’re dealing with serious subjects suddenly we’re treated as little kids that are just doing video games again.”
Despite the team’s defense of the art, Heir contends that from a marketing standpoint the picture is “bad optics,” and the marking team at Eidos should have recognized it as such.
The fervor over the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided marketing material has died down since it was first released, and with the launch imminent, Eidos, appears content to create buzz through a more subtle means, primarily countdown timers. As a means of creating public exposure for the game, it may not seem very practical. After all, the only people exposed to the timer are those with digital pre-orders. However, it is certain to stir up some public attention. Twitter is already buzzing with “it’s almost here” tweets. You are also reading an article about it right now as well, so there is that.
— GameStop (@GameStop) August 19, 2016
Ironically, the timer was not even Eidos’ idea. Many pre-orders pre-install and place a countdown timer on the screen until launch.
The PlayStation Blog reported that during E3 2014, 10 titles went live with their pre-orders in the PlayStation Store and all of them took “advantage of PS4’s automatic pre-load feature.”
“Don’t worry if you forget,” said Sony. “Any titles you’ve pre-ordered will be automatically pre-loaded and auto-downloaded to your PS4 system by default. All you have to do is pre-order the game, make sure your PS4 remains in standby mode, and sit back and relax.
So charge up your controllers. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided launches at midnight.
[Image via Square Enix]