Game Files Are Getting Too Big – Here’s Our Solution
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We now live in an age where video games look and sound better than ever, but this comes at the cost of our HDD. It was a few days ago that I decided to start playing RDR 2 and I was taken aback by the 125 GB download size. (Get RDR2 for 50% off! here-Digital- & here -Physical-)Many other games also prompt large file sizes today, Warzone has been another prime example of this, with the game file being almost 200 GB at the moment. Yet surprisingly, the game seems to be getting even bigger too. But why is that, how did download sizes become so big over these recent years? Well, that is exactly what we aimed to find out. Here are some of the reasons for this crazy trend in the games industry.
It’s no mystery that texture sizes have increased over the last few years. Before, games would maybe have 1k textures at most, nowadays the standard seems to have shifted to 2k textures and it seems to be happening again with 4k textures. 2k textures are already four times the size of 1k textures, so I guess you can already guess why game file sizes has been increasing so much. The problem comes from the fact that most people won’t even use these high-quality textures, the obvious solution would be to just make these textures optional. Some games did this, like Fallout 4, Shadow of War, and Monster Hunter World, but it doesn’t seem to have become the standard even if it should.(Get Monster Hunter World for $17 here or here, for both MH World + the Iceborne Expansion get it here )
Textures are also the hardest to compress, both during a download and on a disk. So offering people the option as to which texture resolution they’d want to download would be a great contributor to making game sizes smaller and more manageable.
Uncompressed Audio And Video
Many developers nowadays seem to just leave the audio files uncompressed in newer releases. As a user on r/pcmasterrace pointed out, games like Titanfall and Metal Gear Rising boast a large file size due to the uncompressed video and audio. Metal Gear Rising is 24.6 GB (get this extremely unique game for $5 here), but about 21.4 GB is taken by the game’s uncompressed pre-rendered cutscenes. Titanfall is in a similar situation, with its 48 GB file size being mostly taken up by uncompressed audio.
While the examples provided are quite old, it is nevertheless an issue that still exists even now, 8 years later. Warzone, the big offender we talked about earlier, has this same issue with a lot of it’s file size being due to uncompressed audio. (If you want to buy Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War & you are on XBOX then check this great deal for the game, for other platforms check here.)
Leftover Files After Updates
As someone who plays League Of Legends, I am all too familiar with the ritual of uninstalling the game every few months to delete the older files that are no longer needed, and the same is true for other games. Rainbox Six Siege had a similar issue with files and unoptimized storage making the game bigger than it needed to be. Thankfully, the developers released an optimization update that decreased the file size by 5 GB, which is something other devs should take cues from. As a personal example too, whenever I clean my old League install, the game usually gets around a 4-5 GB lighter, the game client also seems to run better, all of which points to poor file optimization.
This point ties into the audio one, and I am not here to say localization is bad, it is actually amazing. Giving more people access to a game is always good. I do not, however, see the need for everyone to download every single localization when installing a game. Just like with texture downloads, people should be offered the option as to what languages should be installed.
Perhaps the most shameful part of it all is that pirates are offering this option. Repacks have been a thing for years, and repack groups make versions with only certain languages in the installer. As Gabe Newell said “Piracy is a service problem.” and when pirates are offering a better service, the game industry should reconsider the way they are handling certain aspects of their service.
In the end, game sizes will keep getting bigger. It’s a necessity if we want to keep pushing the medium forward. However, developers have the tools to at least make the problem of large file sizes manageable. Offering customers options on selective downloads would greatly help, not only in terms of freeing up storage but in terms of download speed.
In many places around the world, there exist things like data caps, so as games become larger and larger, downloading them will literally be impossible by official means. Meanwhile, pirates offer repacks of games that are sometimes half the original size of the game. Red Dead Redemption 2 for example, the game that took me aback due to its size, is only 63 GB in its repack form and that is with all languages still within it. Granted, that is only the download size, as post-install the size will still be about the same as the retail version. However, this is still a huge thing for people with slow or limited internet.(Get RDR2 for 50% off here-Digital- & here -Physical-)
Pirates have proved smaller download sizes and selective languages are possible. Meanwhile, certain games have also shown that offering the high-resolution textures as an option can be done. All that is left is for these options to become the standard, rather than the exception.