eli5: Why in the world does my playstation have to copy downloaded update files before using them???

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… Say I need to download an update file to use CoD. It will spend some time downloading the file, then it spends even longer “copying” the file. I don’t get it… I already have the file. How in the fuck could copying the file get me something that I don’t already have? Why can’t I just use the file I have already, that I just got??? Why can’t it just use the downloaded file to update?!?! I can’t wrap my head around it. Some software engineer out there… please make me understand how this could possibly make sense!

In: 13

The game files are compressed and then transferred to your console over the internet. It’s like Ikea furniture. Tightly packaged and easily stacked to save space with assembly required.

Compressed game files are smaller and thus easier to transfer, reducing the load on the download servers and your internet. Copying them locally is the decompression step (unpacking and assembling).

There could be a number of reasons. The most likely reason is that the update files are corrupt and the PlayStation is trying to fix them.

To start, you have an installed game package. This contains everything in the game. It is organised in certain ways to make features work or run quicker.

You download the update file which contains a big list of changes (changes to code, new assets, replaced assets, etc) and also where they go on the game package.

The copying stage is where the console takes those changes, edits them into the game package and removes the previous version.

This is slow on PS4, especially for big file size games or updates. PS5 games have a better way of doing it, but it can still take some time to do.

It’s really no different from how it works on PC. You download an installer, but that in itself is not a program ready to run, takes a while to unpack it and put everything in it’s proper place. PS just calls it copying files instead of installing it, for whatever reason.

It is rather simple, you need to make a copy/uncompress the files you want to update, so you in the event of some error, power outage, corrupted download, the original files stay intact and you can roll-back everything. When complete they can check if the files are updated correctly

If you update the game files directly, you run the chance that your game files going to get corrupted and you need to delete the game and redownload it and if you are unlucky update again.

So you I ask you, you want to do the update fast or you want to do it right?