Preloading is a relatively new concept to video games and has come on the back of the transition of the internet becoming one of the primary distribution mediums for video games. The process of preloading has become a lot more widespread and in the future it will likely be common across all video game platforms and networks. So what is preloading?
When you purchase a video game online, via some form of digital store. The buyer is able to download a copy of the game, in digital form, to their gaming system. When the download is complete, they can proceed to play the game. As games become more visually impressive, the amount of disk space required will increase dramatically. For those with slower broadband connections, it means a considerable delay in the time it takes for the digital copy of a game to download and become playable. This is where preloading comes in.
When you pre-order a game online, you can sometimes have the option to preload it, depending on the network you purchase the game from. This means you can download the game before it is actually released, but the game will not become playable until the official release date. Lets say for example, a game releases on the 1st of May. A user may be able to download the game on the 28th April as a pre load. If the game fully downloads before the release date, it will not be playable. The user will have to wait until the 1st of May for the game to activate. This becomes useful as it allows someone to pre order a game and play it the second it releases without having to wait for it to download.