Average Game Download Sizes Are On The Rise, But What Is The Cost To The Gamer

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 5:30 PM
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When it comes to install sizes it would be fair to say that video games have spiralled out of controlled during the last year or two. Not too long ago 6GB felt like a fairly chunky install. Now that’s but a fraction of some of the largest games there.

Seemingly spurred on by the transition to the current generation of consoles, free from the shackles of microscopic hard drives and the Xbox 360’s reliance on good-old-fashioned DVDs, the size of installs has increased exponentially. Just two years ago Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was a 10GB download, now Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare comes in at nearly six times its predecessor, taking up a monstrous 55GB. It’s taking a toll on our bandwidth and it’s taking a toll on our hard drives, but how much is it really costing us to store these games…

Top 10 Largest Games of 2014 So Far

Taking a look at some of the biggest titles released this year, the total download size of the 10 largest equals a mammoth 478 GB, averaging just over 47 GB for each game. It's worth bearing in mind that this list doesn't even included Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity, with the latter in particular expected to be a huge download.

  1. The Elder Scrolls Online (60 GB)
  2. Final Fantasy XIII (60 GB)
  3. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (55 GB)
  4. The Evil Within (50 GB)
  5. Wolfenstein: The New Order (50 GB)
  6. NBA 2K15 (50GB)
  7. Titanfall (48 GB)
  8. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (40 GB)
  9. Alien Isolation (35 GB)
  10. Dead Rising 3 (30 GB)

 

The Cost Of Massive Game Install Sizes

Based on current prices, and these are prices right at the lower end of the scale (there are some far more expensive options), a 1 terabyte hard drive will set you back around £40, while a 1 TB solid state drive (SSD) will cost you roughly £300. This means the cost per gigabyte is around 4p for HDDs and 30p for SSDs. It doesn’t sound like much but when you add it up the numbers can get pretty incredible. For just these 10 games, which represent what we expect to be standard install sizes for this console generation, 478 GB worth of hard drive storage costs a pretty reasonable £19.12 to buy, while the same storage on an SSD will set you back an eye-watering £143.40, or £14.34 for each and every game. This is a 47% mark up on your average £30 release.

The Waiting Game of Digital Downloads

Of course the simple answer is delete your games to make storage, but this isn’t always an option for some, particularly those limited by download caps or limited bandwidth. Even on a relatively fast 10 Mbps ethernet connection (the US average), downloading Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare would take over 13 hours. If you delete it and decide one day you want to play it, you’re effectively going to have to wait until the next day until you can get your hands on it. Try that on basic 512 Kbps broadband and you’re looking at a wait of nearly 11 days, and none of this takes into account other uses of the internet slowing things down.

It’s all becoming problematic to say the least, from both a time standpoint and a cost perspective. Unless you preload a game you’re now looking at a significant wait before it’s downloaded, opening the doors for physical copies to once more become the more viable option.

How do you feel about the huge increase in download sizes arriving alongside the current generation of console? Is it making it difficult for you to get hold of games? Has the huge sizes forced you back into physical game purchases? Let us know what you think below!

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12:37 Oct-30-2014

Well, looks like i have to upgrade my internet sometime soon. Goodbye 125 kB/s, you have served me well over the past 2 years.

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03:51 Oct-23-2014

i guess the size are big because 4k texture?

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21:06 Oct-22-2014

And larger games don't mean better games. Not coincidentally, retro gaming is picking up. I don't find games that look like movies to be very appealing. I prefer they look not like motion pictures, but like Doom and Q3A instead.

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10:57 Oct-22-2014

I still don't get how they can make games with nowhere near the graphical fidelity of Crysis 3 (most in fact, are still on Crysis 2's level) and they still don't have as large expansive maps as many 2011 and 2012 titles which had HDD requirements of less than 20 GB... Witcher 2 with all additions still takes up about 40-45 GB I think... From what we've been seeing with these games, we should only be seeing HDD requirements in the range of 25-35 GB... Ridiculous... Utterly ridiculous...

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22:00 Oct-22-2014

optimized stuff means more sentences which makes files larger. also the audio gets improved (7.1 surround, higher bitrate etc). Further than that, not sure what makes the game size bigger

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03:49 Oct-23-2014

hmm, i guess because 4k texture.

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11:23 Oct-23-2014

And more polygons

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11:41 Oct-23-2014

sure

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09:20 Oct-22-2014

This is just a way to get us buying more games of the shelf

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15:55 Oct-22-2014

But stores don't stock PC games anymore. At least not in Canada.

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08:37 Oct-22-2014

when i downloaded titanfall from origin,it took me 2 hours to complete the download.and thats why i buy the game on dvd and not digital :/

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08:56 Oct-22-2014

2 hours isn't long...you lucky buddy.

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08:58 Oct-22-2014

it took me almost 1 day just download 5gb

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17:56 Oct-23-2014

i mean the internet providers say a game the size of tfall would take 2-30 mins on my internet speed..no **** liars

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10:53 Oct-22-2014

You're complaining for just two hours with Titanfall...? It took me way longer than that to download DOTA 2 damn it...

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17:54 Oct-23-2014

srry for you guys but it still pisses me off :))

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08:13 Oct-22-2014

It would take me under 1,5h to download TESo with my 100mbps connection (12MB/s effective)

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14:50 Oct-21-2014

Seagate, Samsung, Kingston and all those IDGAD storage manufacturers will be happy when their 2TB SSDs will sell like hotcakes because that addictive 2D sidescroller has a maximum space of 70GBs

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13:22 Oct-21-2014

Yes it is definitely bad for a person like me who live in a country with very limited internet speed, thankfully they still sell the cd/dvd at some store (Yet the original copy store in my country is few because of the high rate of piracy in my country) *sorry for bad english

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12:58 Oct-21-2014

Is Bandwidth capping still a thing? I live in Romania, and unlimited bandwidth is a standard (aside from mobile data). If there is one thing that is cheap in this country, that's the internet. Everything else is quite overpriced.

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12:23 Oct-21-2014

Alien isolation REAL instaled size(23.7gb)
Middle Earth:Shadow of Mordor REAL instaled size without HD Textures(34.5)

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10:15 Oct-21-2014

i have a 2mbps connection and it took me about a week to download BF3 (just base game) :(
storage is not my big problem atm since i dont play much games

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09:13 Oct-21-2014

i wont mind if it is a good game or well optimized game. but when it is a lousy game with poor optimization, it just dont worth the hdd space.

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09:01 Oct-21-2014

its funny how cod ghosts is bigger then bf4

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08:54 Oct-21-2014

with the 3rd of November i will have 50mbit dl internetz
That makes 6,25MB/s makes 375MB/min makes 22,5 GB/h
So a big game still takes a while but hey atm i have only 16Mbit so thats nice

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08:45 Oct-21-2014

"Is it making it difficult for you to get hold of games?" Sad to say but yes , 1/3 of my 1TB HDD is occupied with only games from 2014(Bound By Flame,WoW-Warlords of Draenor,Dark Souls 2 ,Ryse Son of Rome,DeadRising3,Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor,Wolfenstein The New Order,Evil Within,Alien Isolation,The Vanishing of Ethan Carter,Risen 3,Thief = 307GB)...:(

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07:59 Oct-21-2014

Much Sadness: took me 4 days to download Shadow of Mordor, since I have a 1Mbps down-speed! And in India; having 1Mbps is considered an expensive privledge! Waiting till I become 21 so I can move to the States! :)

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07:45 Oct-21-2014

This isn't a problem, hard drive space wise, because i can always shell out an extra $100 for a 2 TB hard drive and after 3 years end up with 6 TBS in total but what i can't do is go to The Prime minister of Australia and ask him for some better Internet Speeds. Seriously here in Australia 1MB/s is average.

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07:48 Oct-21-2014

By the way, I mean shell out an extra $100 for a 2 TB hard drive each year.

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07:28 Oct-21-2014

Doesn't make any sense as an unmodded copy of Skyrim takes up 7GB on my HDD and now, when all the textures are 2k+ and with -100 mods (overhauls and compilations, not single armor/weapon mods) it's 20GB. And don't you come back whining about compression to quality at me, you know how good modded Skyrim looks!

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06:38 Oct-21-2014

I've really only gotten into PC gaming in the last 12 months, and back then Black ops 2 (20ish Gigabytes) I wouldn't even consider downloading because of the size. With these 50gb games, I HAVE to buy the physical copy even on my 200gb plan

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