Up For Debate - The Ever Increasing Download Sizes Of AAA Games

Written by Sam Welch on Thu, Jan 1, 2015 4:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Dying Light, Techland's upcoming parkour-themed undead romp with Oculus Rift support, recently stunned us with higher prospective RAM demands than anything we'd ever seen. Those requirements have since been lowered significantly, but in all the bluster, the space it asked of your poor hard drive was barely noticed, but it was 40 GB and it's a lot. The second most demanding game requirements we've ever seen were for Assassin's Creed: Unity which wanted a comparatively friendly 6GB minimum of RAM, but 50 GB of install space. This still is a full tenth of the size of many gamers' hard drives.

Remember how great discs were back in the day? So much easier to store than cartridges. And it wasn’t long after that that we didn’t even need anything as cumbersome as a CD to store our games and media, provided we had a nice big 30 GB hard drive that could fit about 43 times as much. With more and more games asking incredibly high install sizes, those discs are starting to look a lot more attractive again - there are DVDs and Blu-Ray discs now that hold vastly more than CDs but do so in exactly the same amount of physical space, while buying bigger and bigger hard drives to accommodate downloads that often already cost more than the discs is still a very expensive habit.

Of course, we have to weigh up the spectacular improvements we’ve seen in the quality of games. These drastic download sizes are only so big to feed our need for bigger and better looking content.
Where does it end? Has something got to give way? Hard drive capacities will surely keep getting bigger and as it spreads the technology will become cheaper and yes - internet speed will probably take care of how long it takes to download the terabyte-sized games when they arrive, but what kind of power are we going to need to achieve all of this? Is there an upper limit to how much quality and quantity can be packed into a game before we get bored anyway? And besides, do games even need so much detail to be worthy of our time? Everything has its place, but there are so many terrific little indie games that suggest they don't. And for reference, the Xbox One's hard drive, at a user-accessible capacity of 362 GB, will store approximately 20 modern games at most.

And is all this crazy? That wily old clever-clogs Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sound familiar?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
41
Offline
05:05 Jan-04-2015

maybe they can pull off a no mans sky. not actually store the game on the cd but use algorithms to geneate the world as it goes on.

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
11:49 Jan-04-2015

hmm, that's impossible.

0
Rep
41
Offline
17:51 Jan-04-2015

clearly, it is as no mans sky is using just that to generate their non randomly generated universe of a game world

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
01:31 Jan-05-2015

non? well, but size will be bigger than no mans sky...because it more texture than no mans sky and have storyline

0
Rep
13
Offline
00:12 Jan-04-2015

I still have 1.6 GB Quantum Hard Drive on my PII machine. Runs Windows 98 SE like a champ, with PII Pro 450 mhz with the 512KB Cache! and 120MB SD RAM. Awesome machine, brings me back in my childhod when they was the most powerfull machines on the market. Cheers!

2
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
03:09 Jan-04-2015

Yeah I know... We still have a machine in our office with a 1.8 GHz Athlon XP and some 64 MB GPU and 768 MB RAM from 2002... It was considered upper middle class rig for its time...

3
Rep
104
Offline
admin approved badge
18:13 Jan-03-2015

A major problem I find is there are less and less reoccurring assets in games now. When done right they look great and make the game smaller. Also, the number of polygons is getting rediculous. There is a threshold to when a human can see the individual polygons and the threshold was reached a few years ago.

1
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
03:39 Jan-04-2015

They care more about pretty looks now than actual content in game... Look at Dishonored... Graphics are nothing to write home about (maxed out at 50 fps average on 1920x1080 on GT 640 and HD 6670) but it was easily the best game on PC in 2012 as far as story and campaign go...

2
Rep
104
Offline
admin approved badge
04:25 Jan-05-2015

Yeah, new games rely almost completely on their graphics engine to deliver good visuals and it inflates the game. Of course, the new graphic engines are looking more and more the same between ultra low and high. Seems pointless to me.

0
Rep
7
Offline
admin approved badge
07:44 Jan-03-2015

I really don't understand where all of this extra data is coming from. Even comparing recent PC games to their PS4/XB1 counterparts. Battlefield 4 on my PS4 with all of the DLC map packs takes up a massive 56 GB of space. I don't think Battlefield 4 on my PC with all the DLC takes up even 1/2 of that.


How can a game like BIoshock Infinite require only around 12 GB but Killzone SF requires 40

0
Rep
82
Offline
22:20 Jan-02-2015

18gb left... it isn't worth it. Im paying 50 bucks for a game to kill my HDD and on top of that, steam locks my download to 381kb/s even though my internet is 2mb/s... downloading will take weeks.

0
Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
08:16 Jan-02-2015

game publishers need to rethink their way of game distribution,
major amount of disk space take uncompressed textures, audio and video files,
I think it would be fair to allow gamers to choose which quality they want to download and also some sort of download checkpoints where one could play incompletely-downloaded game, for ex. me with decent speakers system I'd definitely prefer highest audio quality while I wouldn't mind having lower quality videos maybe and also not the highest textures since my GTX770 is only 2GB anyway; and since I tend to just quickly play-through storyline I wouldn't need multiplayer data at all :P

3
Rep
44
Offline
admin approved badge
06:57 Jan-02-2015

I still remember being shocked that the old N64 emulation ROMS were frequently less than 1MB per game. All of those memories of my childhood took up no more than 1MB?!

1
Rep
6
Offline
02:23 Jan-02-2015

the only thing a gamer like me can do is to return to physical copies i dont have to suffer from waiting for too long and i can uninstall and install the game whenever i like so yep physical copies are the answer

0
Rep
1
Offline
00:36 Jan-02-2015

This is why I find myself playing older games much more often these days. The entertainment I can get from a meager 700mb or so vs the 30-50g...

4
Rep
82
Offline
05:27 Jan-04-2015

same here.

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
11:49 Jan-04-2015

same

0
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
19:18 Jan-01-2015

Estimated download time: infinity+1

11
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
17:41 Jan-02-2015

I though it was just over 9000 hours...?

0
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
06:53 Jan-03-2015

Not on my internet :-)

0
Rep
7
Offline
19:06 Jan-01-2015

It should scan your hardware and let you choose the recommended framerate you want so it can download the right quality of the textures for 30fps, 60fps, etc.


*also: If the game is optimized well then i wouldnt mind a 30-50GB AAA game

3
Rep
6
Offline
18:41 Jan-01-2015

I really don't see much of a problem here. 2 Terrabyte HDD's are quite cheap and you can always put more than or 2 HDD's into your PC. Only people who cry are those who stupidly use SDD's

-7
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
18:55 Jan-01-2015

Read my comments and TheThing2010's comments below... People shouldn't be forced to download and install crap they never plan on using... Those who want such options are the only ones who should have to suffer downloading and installing them...

6
Rep
15
Offline
21:47 Jan-01-2015

I have a "normal" 7200 rpm HD and a SSD. Although the HD has much more space my SSD runs circles around it. Using a SSD is not stupid. Recent games seem to run better when loading textures from my SSD. (far cry 4) BF4 multiplayer I can get in earlier to grab a certain vehicle I want etc.

0
Rep
15
Offline
21:49 Jan-01-2015

I agree if someone doesn't need the ridiculously data heavy high textures why should they have to download it and use up space? Remember a lot of people have data caps on the internet (some fiber networks have no data cap). Why should they download 4k textures when the screen they are on only displays 1080p - 1440p?

0
Rep
19
Offline
18:32 Jan-01-2015

From one point of view, AAA games have grown over the years, and technology's speed and space have increased dramatically. But on the other hand, people shouldn't have to forcefully install things they don't need or want for most games. Sooner or later, technology will be so far advanced to understand it anymore.

0
Rep
-4
Offline
18:14 Jan-01-2015

that moment you download a huge file only to discover that it doesnt work...

2
Rep
26
Offline
admin approved badge
17:34 Jan-01-2015

they should just give us the options to download what textures files we want to run the game at instead of downloading all the textures and other setting oriented file this would save massive storage.

25
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
17:45 Jan-01-2015

Seconded... If someone does not want to download 4k texture pack that leaves their poor HDD struggling for breath, then they should have that option... Those who want those 4k textures should be the only ones whose HDDs and internet speeds need suffer...

9
Rep
26
Offline
admin approved badge
18:21 Jan-01-2015

exactly a 4k texture takes up so much space its not even funny and most people don't use it and the pore hard drive suffer's :/

9
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
18:37 Jan-01-2015

It is actually pushing a hugely unnecessary product unto customers who have no desire to use it... It may seem harmless but considering it makes customers who don't want to use it needlessly suffer, it is downright malevolent...

2
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
06:41 Jan-02-2015

Can't agree more. And they should cost more as well. I mean why should I pay for 4k textures when my PC doesn't even support it?

5
Rep
1
Offline
00:33 Jan-02-2015

Ditto for audio files, would be nice if we could choose compression level. I dont have a super hi-def audio setup and dont need uncompressed files

0
Rep
15
Offline
admin approved badge
03:49 Jan-02-2015

actually if the audio is compressed, the system requirements would be even higher, so you should appreciate that. This is the very reason why the installation size for the PC version of Titanfall is so big vs the Xbox One version.

3
Rep
13
Offline
04:36 Jan-02-2015

It's not only about textures. For example languages. Why do i have to download 5 different subtitles an voice acting? I need only one. And some games even store every cutscene in every language separately.
.

3
Rep
15
Offline
06:34 Jan-02-2015

And audio is usually uncompressed nowadays, which can bloat the game quite a bit. It was actually one of the challenges Bethesda had to face when they made Oblivion because there were just so many recorded lines. 8 years later, here we are.

0
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
06:44 Jan-02-2015

Another idea here. How about the cut scenes are streamed directly from the Internet so we don't have to download them? this will also discourage piracy because pirated games do not connect to the Internet.

-4
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
08:39 Jan-02-2015

That would actually be a bad idea... Halo Anniversary received a lot of flak because the terminal videos were streamed from Halo Waypoint rather than in-game... You unlock this cool easter egg that gives you more info on the expanded universe and it makes you leave the game and takes you to website...? That was annoying as hell... Destiny also suffered from a similar issue I believe... Also, imagine someone's internet is down and they're happily playing the game but no cutscene...? How would they proceed...?

7
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
08:54 Jan-02-2015

Yeah didn't thought that :) but I am talking about in-game streaming not leaving the game to watch the video.

-5
Rep
460
Offline
admin approved badge
09:10 Jan-02-2015

You mean animated cutscenes instead of real time rendered...?

0
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
09:12 Jan-02-2015

Yeah something like that....maybe.

0
Rep
307
Offline
admin approved badge
17:38 Jan-02-2015

not everyone have good internet speed or have the internet

0
Rep
15
Offline
17:20 Jan-01-2015

not like we could do anything about it, yep, the horror of being customer..

0
Rep
82
Offline
16:29 Jan-01-2015

Big games can fit into just a few GB.For example,Skyrim is only 6 GB with DLCs.Most of this space is wasted(and i think that's the best term) on graphics,that don't really look that much better than smaller games.

1
Rep
3
Offline
16:20 Jan-01-2015

"And is all this crazy? That wily old clever-clogs Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sound familiar?"


Yeah - Far Cry 3, Definition of Insanity, said by the legendary Vaas.

4
Rep
6
Offline
16:16 Jan-01-2015

you are RiGHT, totally RiGHT, couldn't agree less 0.0... i need 3 days at least to download that sigh (and i couldn´t run it anyways)

0
Rep
9
Offline
16:14 Jan-01-2015

Next-gen games require more time to develop, but that's something developers don't want to understand. They only want to make the game, optimize it to run at a playable level on consoles, add insane system requirements for PC and release the game.

1

Can They Run... |

| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Palit Super JetStream 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-11700K 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 32GB
50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
60% Yes [5 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
33.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
| High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 10GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-8100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]