Up For Debate - Should developers let players decide the file size of a game?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Jul 25, 2020 5:00 PM
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Alright, so with the recent news of the Unreal Engine 5 possibly causing game file sizes to “skyrocket” in the future, and our other recent Up For Debate earlier this week about next-gen hardware possibly requiring a completely brand new PC setup, I thought we could discuss about game file sizes in general, and how developers could possibly handle the issue in the future.

Some of us may be alright with a lot of storage space available, but with games like Call of Duty Warzone shooting past the incredible 200GB+ mark, this starts to pose a problem not just in regards to storage space, but to download speeds as well.

We all hate when a download takes a long time, possibly even sitting there with popcorn anxiously watching the waveforms go by, and accounting down the approximate time till it finishes downloading. But some of us don’t have the luxury of fast internet, and even though we might have the storage space available, a 200GB download can take anywhere from a few hours, to a few days to complete.

Usually these download sizes have more to do with the textures and models used in-game rather than any actual gameplay mechanics. But what the hell is the use of these fancy high-res textures if some of us are just going to keep the graphics settings at Low or Medium quality anyway?

Sure, some games allow you to download a separate 4K texture pack instead for those who can run them, but what about a universal control for throttling the quality of data downloaded?

We already have games that allow us to play the single player version whilst all other assets for multiplayer are still downloading in the background, so why can't we do the same for video game file sizes? Like being able to play the game with lower texture resolutions or model details before the higher resolutions are eventually downloaded?

There’s probably a simple answer to that being somewhere along the lines of “it’s not that easy”, but it’s still something to think about as game file sizes begin to grow and some of us are still trapped with low bandwidth internet.

So with that I ask: should developers let players decide the file size of a game? Should they allow the users to throttle the quality of data downloaded if they’re not going to use the higher quality textures anyway? Or is this just asking too much?

should developers let us decide the file size of a game?

Are big game file sizes a problem?

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01:20 Jul-28-2020

2MB please

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08:55 Jul-29-2020

What AAA game could you put inside 2MB?

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00:25 Jul-28-2020

...when pirated copies of the game or repacks had options for not including the ultra textures and HD 4K videos of the game and other languages.

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01:09 Jul-27-2020

I do think sizes might become an issue if they grow above 200GB per game. I do think some data saving features could be interesting, like not downloading all textures or resources you won't use. Though it might be hard to predict what you need before you test quality settings, but I guess 4k graphics as optional DLC might be great way to reduce size.

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19:31 Jul-26-2020

the other way is for devs to let you download options like low,medium,high and ultra for rtx systems and so on. For example i know for my PC that im not going to use ultra req and ican use low medium for example and if this saves me 5-10 GBs then why , not

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16:01 Jul-26-2020

When I used to play Garry's mod, game usually ended up using at least 300 GB (in 500 GB hard drive...) until I had resolve to removing some old, no longer used content to make space for other content

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12:35 Jul-26-2020

there should be a option for 1080p gamers and 4k gamers, reduced size for 1080p gamers, regular size and price for 4k gamer

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10:51 Jul-26-2020

Yes. Ultra textures, language packs etc. You know. Like a certain good looking human female repack already does for totally-legal versions of games

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12:09 Jul-26-2020

You creep.

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22:46 Jul-26-2020

sad reality is pirated versions like fitgirl repacks are leading the way in combating file sizes, but it does show it can be done

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10:00 Jul-27-2020

as a former pirate I feel like I'm slipping... WTF is "fitgirl"??? xD

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12:08 Jul-27-2020

Its a torrent repack site where games file size is drasticly reduced (be warned thou there are alot of fake sites) + you ll have options for example you don t speak spanish so you won t download it. I sometimes use it to try out the free versions of epic games its giving out with smaller sizes.

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12:45 Jul-27-2020

Oh... well, I always hated european game releases for that reason - the extra languages took up space unnecessarily. I'm from Europe, duuh, but I only really need the English version.

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09:40 Jul-26-2020

Absolutely. Other language audio files, 4k textures etc. are worthless for players who never use them.

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10:58 Jul-26-2020

A cool option would be to optimize the game for the current settings. So you could set all your settings and the game will then either archive or delete the not needed content.

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12:46 Jul-27-2020

It would be quite good if we could, say, click "install" on Steam, then get a little dialog box asking which languages we want (in my case - English only) and if we want any extras, like enhanced textures (which I do want). Not really that difficult to make it happen...

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08:51 Jul-26-2020

They should let us decide the game language (audio/display/subtitle) to download/install. Should save a GiB or 2 at least. Another is to install campaign or online component, single player gamers don't want map packs, and vice versa, multiplayer don't need campaign assets.

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10:59 Jul-26-2020

CoD MW2/MW3 have this afaik, although MP is bundled in SP, so the MP download is roughly 15MB. That's not really storage saving xD

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12:27 Jul-26-2020

Yeah but those games probably had MP reusing assets from SP. Meanwhile new MW and Warzone are completely separate entities and still no option to opt for one instead of both, leading to huge download and storage space

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08:37 Jul-26-2020

No. The developers should have the freedom to develop their games but until 5G and unlimited data caps roll around for most people, the developers should take into account all aspects of game development including the game file size and keep it at an optimum.

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05:36 Jul-26-2020

For 4k and 8k and 16k they should provide separate download package, and show some mercy on us 1080p gamers.

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05:14 Jul-26-2020

At the rate game file size started increasing,they should.
4K files huge are extra download for people who play at 1080.

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23:25 Jul-25-2020

Devs should hire repackers at this point if games are gonna become bigger than this (COD:MW 150GB+)

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22:27 Jul-25-2020

About warzone: Its not normal a game size more then 200GB. It might need more tech to make games smaller at size. And not over 5 years that we need 1000TB to run games on.

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22:22 Jul-25-2020

Looking at Monster Hunter World or Fallout 4, both got ridiculously big OPTIONAL texture packs for minimum difference in visuals, you barely see a difference but both are like 35GB. I think that's exactly the right thing to do, if the Size gets out of hand, offer optional FREE high res texture DLC's. I used to have a download speed of 250kb/s max, back then every game bigger than 20GB was an instant nope to me, it's gonna be a similar story with 200GB games no matter my download speed, at some point it's just not worth it anymore.

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11:01 Jul-26-2020

EA: Good idea, but what if those high res textures would cost 15 euro per DLC? That sounds like a plan!


But really, a textures DLC would be nice, same for audio/languages.

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21:41 Jul-25-2020

I think games should be built in modules around the core component, most likely game logic. That way you can have SP and MP as separate components. Texture sizes, and anything else that's not absolutely essential to running the game be an optional download when you buy the game. You can have a choice to download the part of the game you want and need.

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22:14 Jul-25-2020

It used to be like this with Call of Duty on Steam. It was great.

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11:04 Jul-26-2020

Well, the MP component of MW2/MW3 is around 15MB iirc. The whole MP part of the game is bundled in the SP part. I am not sure if this is still the case on newer CoD games. I believe it was like this since the MP maps were partially used in SP, like the Favela map on MW2, I think.

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21:29 Jul-25-2020

I should be able to choose to not download the textures above my monitor resolution.
I don't need that massive 4k textures. I'm not going to use them. Monster Hunter separates these out. The 4k textures are just as big as the damn game.

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21:22 Jul-25-2020

It seems to me, what it might take for this idea to really gain traction would be for the storefronts (Steam, GoG, etc) to provide the framework. Streamline it and take some of the load off the developers. I would love to this this though.

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20:38 Jul-25-2020

Ideally additional download options of a game should be:


1) Optional 4K Texture packs
2) Optional Separate SP & MP components where possible
3) Optional Separate Microtransaction Store component (as this is usually on it's own tab anyway)

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21:16 Jul-25-2020

Absolutely this. It's a no-brainer.

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21:31 Jul-25-2020

I feel like MTX store will usually be the only non optional part.

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09:57 Jul-26-2020

Without a doubt, but it could be justified as a sort of parental control as it could prevent some people from being able to run up huge bills on their folks credit cards.

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19:58 Jul-25-2020

So Halo MCC really did a good job about this- you can select get just the SP or MP part for each game and can remove any of them whenever you want w/o uninstalling the whole game, it's really neat and Destiny's gonna do the similarly too..

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20:47 Jul-25-2020

Where did you here that Destiny is going to do that? The vaulting is removing entire planets from the game that we won't have the option to download again ourselves because patching the game has become to problematic with the current size for Bungie. While the Sp & MP are to intertwined to be made available separately.

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06:47 Jul-26-2020

I don't know if old planets can be downloadable or not.. But I got that news I think from here GD itself, and I haven't played it so I don't even know how the game functions

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10:03 Jul-26-2020

No, unfortunately they won't be. They're being removed to make way for new planets/areas being introduced over the course of the next three years. Bungie have said they might bring some back if the story demands it but players won't be able to download them separately.

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