One thing's reasonably certain about the release of anything reliant on an Internet connection these days: it almost certainly won't work properly at the moment it launches.
We've seen it with numerous MMOs -- most recently Final Fantasy XIV -- and we've seen it with "always-online" games such as Blizzard's Diablo III and EA's SimCity. We've seen it with new multiplayer modes for popular games -- hello, Grand Theft Auto Online -- and, most recently of all, we've seen it with a significant proportion of the million-plus PlayStation 4 owners trying to all update their new consoles at the same time.
Yesterday, it appeared that Microsoft had offered a way around the inevitable day-one bottleneck as everyone competed to download the mandatory 1.2GB update -- without which it can do pretty much nothing, remember. An entry in the Xbox Support pages explained -- in great, idiot-proof detail -- exactly how to check the version number of your console, how to download the appropriate update file onto a USB stick and, subsequently, how to get the Xbox to boot from said USB stick and perform the update without connecting to the Internet. (Press and hold the Bind and Eject buttons as you start up the console from completely powered-down, if you were wondering -- wait until you hear two power-on tones a couple of seconds apart.)
However, it appears there was something of a miscommunication along the line somewhere, since the page detailing the procedure and providing links to the firmware .zip files has since been completely removed, with no mention of it anywhere on the Xbox Support site. The information went up and came down within the space of just 12 hours.
According to Xbox One Daily, a Microsoft representative had this to say:
"The site was not an alternative way to take the Day One update and customers still need to connect to Xbox Live for the update. Because of the complexity of this customer support process we’ve actually removed the page and we will work with customers directly to make sure they have a smooth experience."
Despite Microsoft presenting it as a 23-step process, for anyone familiar with basic computer usage it would have been very straightforward; the only thing you needed to be careful of was downloading the correct version for your console's build number. Exactly why the information has been removed completely is unclear, but it's possible Microsoft simply wanted to avoid any risk of users inadvertently bricking their consoles through a botched manual update. Instead, it sounds as if the Xbox Support staff will be on hand to walk people through the process if they are unable to perform the update automatically through the console itself.
The few people who have managed to get their hands on an Xbox One early and successfully apply the automatic update recommend performing it over a wired Ethernet connection rather than wireless, since your Wi-Fi cutting out in mid-update can potentially cause problems.
Welcome to the digital age!