Between Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and the confirmation the PlayStation 5 will use 100GB Blu-Ray discs, we are entering a new dawn of game install sizes. The next-gen consoles aren’t even out yet and we’re already seeing a tripling of AAA game install sizes from the start of this generation, and even those games were 10x the size of previous-gen titles. Skyrim was 5GB at launch, for example. Fallout 76 was 50GB (and growing massively). Red Dead Redemption 2 is 150GB at launch. In eight years, game install sizes have increased 2900%, and holiday 2020 heralds the arrival of next-gen consoles.

If we all bought physical software, none of this would really be our problem. It would be on the content providers to cram it all onto a cartridge or a disc. But most of us don’t. We joined the digital revolution well over a decade ago, and we haven’t looked back. It’s now pretty much impossible to buy a PC game in a store which doesn’t just contain a code for a download. We’ve made our bed and now we need to lay in it, probably for the next 13 days or so while Red Dead Redemption 2 downloads.

The problem is that while peak bandwidth speeds have increased in some corners of the globe, the vast majority of the world is left behind. Most people don’t have very fast internet, that’s just a fact. For every person touting their 100Mb fibre, or even Gigabit connections for a lucky few, there are tens of thousands sat on 5Mb/s or even slower.

Here is a map of the average connection speeds around the globe according to Fast Metrics. Hover over the map to see each country's average net speed.

Which brings us to Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, two of the largest games in existence right now. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a 150GB install and COD: Modern Warfare is a whopping 175GB. The actual download size should be a little smaller, although we have no idea until the games themselves are actually available.

But, if we were to assume their download sizes are the same as their install sizes, we’re looking at some very lengthy download times for those without high-speed internet. If you’re on dial-up internet, we hope you’re looking forward to playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2021. No kidding. 

Connection Speed Red Dead Redemption 2 - 150GB COD Modern Warfare - 175GB
28.8Kb/s 517d, 20h, 34m, 2s 604d, 2h, 49m, 43s
56Kb/s 266d, 7h, 19m, 13s 310d, 16h, 32m, 25s
256Kb/s 58d, 6h, 6m, 4s 67d, 23h, 7m, 5s
512Kb/s 29d, 3h, 3m, 2s 33d, 23h, 33m, 32s
1Mb/s 14d, 21h, 54m, 50s 17d, 9h, 33m, 58s
2Mb/s 7d, 10h, 57m, 25s 8d, 16h, 46m, 59s
5Mb/s 2d, 21 h, 34m, 58s 3d, 11h, 30m, 47s
10Mb/s 1d, 11h, 47m, 29s 1d, 17h, 45m, 23s
25Mb/s 14h, 18m, 59s 16h, 32m, 9s
50MB/s 7h, 9m, 29s 8h, 21m, 4s
100Mb/s 3h, 34m, 44s 4h, 10m, 32s
150Mb/s 2h, 23m, 9s 2h, 47m, 1s
200Mb/s 1h, 47m, 22s 2h, 5m, 16s
500Mb/s 42m, 56s 50m, 6s
1Gb/s 21m, 28s 25m, 3s
10Gb/s 2m, 8s 2m, 30s

Realistically though, dial-up users should be very few and far between these days. The average internet speeds globally are 46.12 Mb/s download and 22.44 Mp/s upload. That means for the average internet user, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be an 8-hour download, while COD: Modern Warfare will clock in at just about 9 hours. At this point you begin to see where Google Stadia’s trump card could be. You could either wait 8 hours for a download or, with 40Mb internet, press ‘Play’ on a 4K/60fps stream and begin playing instantly. Not for everyone, sure, but it certainly becomes an option to be entertained when faced with lengthy downloads.

If your connection’s slower than the average though then you’ve got a heck of a wait on your hands. For someone using 5Mb/s internet, they’ll need to wait 3-4 days to play either of these games. Anything slower and we’re looking at weeks-long downloads, running 24/7. For the millions of people on these slower connections, downloading these big budget games becomes unfeasible.

It's a problem then, and one which could literally grow considerably in the next couple of years. We're interested in just how big a problem it is right now though, so we're throwing it over to you. How fast is your current internet and does the size of a game influence whether you buy it or not? Get voting and let us know why in the comments section below!