I am thinking of Fortnite specifically but I’m sure other games have the same concept. Throughout each season many things can change (guns added/removed, map changes, etc.) without needing to download an update. But at the start of each season an update is required and you must download and install it. My question is what is the difference in these and why can’t all updates be pushed out automatically Without having to download/install? Thanks in advance for the answers!
These two kinds of updates are usually referred to as hotfixes and patches. Hotfixes are server-side changes, while patches push out new assets and code to the player's computer. Because the hotfixes are server-side, there's no need to download something to the player's machine, instead they get the update when they communicate with the server. For patches, though, there is enough that is being changed that it's easier to do it as an offline download and install.