Not that I have any reason to be pondering the SWTOR patch process *cough* but I have been thinking about it over the last 24 hours.
Launch day for Star Wars: The Old Republic, pegged at December 20th, is not much more than a month away, which means that the final DVD that will ship in the box has either already been mastered or will be very shortly.
Working schedules backwards as a project manager was one of my favorite ways to confound the ship date desires of product marketing people. The good ones appreciated that sort of peek into reality, the bad ones would complain up the management chain that I wasn’t being a team player.
Anyway, to get to a December 20th ship launch date that includes product on store shelves, you have to make a master, give it to the replication house to have it produced, stick the final discs in their sleeves, drop them in boxes with all the other materials, seal the boxes, put the boxes in case packs, label and send them off to various distribution centers, which in turn need to be shipped to all the possible retail outlets, all during the busiest shipping time of the year and with enough slack to ensure that nobody gets caught short.
This was all a truly painful process back in the day when you couldn’t count on internet access for immediate patches… and when companies cared about their documentation. Did you see how big that Civilization II manual was I got? And it was accurate and useful, not just ballast in the box to make it feel like you were getting your money’s worth.
But now, you can burn your master disc way in advance and be saved at the last minute through the miracle of the internet and its ability to deliver a launch day “make it right” patch to almost all of your customers.
And if you are shipping an MMORPG, you can patch up all your customers, guaranteed… unless you really screw up and ship a broken patcher… but that is another story.
So it is almost assured that what we get on disc for SWTOR on launch day will need to be patched before any of us can play.
But the question is, how big will that first patch be?
Anyway, back to waiting for my own patching event to finish. 3.4 GB left to download. Time enough to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.