Console for Christmas? Set it up now and not on the day

Legions of young people in particular will be unwrapping a treasured Nintendo Switch, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 this Christmas. But leaving a modern console until Christmas Day to set up can be a big mistake.
Console Christmas
The Switch has helped to restore Nintendo’s reputation and market position. Photo: PXFuel.

Modern consoles

If you don’t think ahead with modern consoles then you could find that much of your Christmas Day is consumed by setting them up, and dealing with a multitude of not particularly enjoyable tasks!

Unfortunately – and also fortunately, once they’re set up! – each of the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 require Internet connections, a wide range of downloads, various Internet services to be calibrated…and that’s before you go into the games themselves, which often require very large updates, particularly if they’ve been on the market for some time.

This means that when Christmas Day morning rolls around, there will be a vast swathe of console users all attempting to set up their machines at the same time! Naturally, this can cause huge problems with any connected services, and may even render some machines basically unusable. At the very least, it might make it impossible for some aspects of the registration and downloading process to be completed successfully.

Christmas Consoles
The PS4 Pro has been a hugely successful machine for Sony, since its release in 2016. Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr.

Key processes

So if you’re sending one of your nearest and dearest a games console for Christmas then it’s vital that you go through a few key processes. Firstly, open the box! Make sure everything is present and correct as required, and that there are no missing peripherals, wires, or other important components.

Secondly, plug the machine in, make sure that it turns on correctly, go through the basic registration process that all consoles require when first being initialized. Then you should connect the machine to the Internet, and ensure that everything runs according to plan.

One this has been completed satisfactorily then you can move on to downloading the range of firmware updates that will no doubt be required. This can be a lengthy process, so sometimes it’s wise to set the machine on its way, and to do something else in the meantime! And also be ready to download any updates for games that you may have purchased alongside the machine, as these can take just as long as upgrading the console itself.

Next you should ensure that the account you have set up is working correctly, by downloading some content. Ideally, you should download a game, and then boot it up, so that you can check everything works. Check the disk drives, check the controllers, check that the display is functioning correctly.

Christmas Consoles
Microsoft is trailing in the current console generation, but the Xbox One has still sold nearly 50 million units. Photo: PeakPX.

Final steps

Finally, back up everything that you have done so far, delete anything off the system that shouldn’t be there at this stage, pop it back in the box, wrap up the whole package, and you’re done. Simple as that!

Yes, the days of simply plugging in and playing a console are over, and in many ways that’s a sad thing. There is definitely something to be said for the simplicity of the SNES, the Megadrive, and the pre-Internet machines. But this is the age that we’re living in, so make sure that you’re prepared!

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