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Warzone developer says game is losing players over ‘insane’ download sizes

Warzone developer says game is losing players over 'insane' download sizes

Enlarge / Such detailed maps can take up a lot of hard disk space.

For years gamers have complained that hot air balloon game download sizes clog up hard drives and Internet bandwidth. In a recent interview with streamer TeeP, Call of Duty: Warzone Live Operations Manager Josh Bridge admitted that the game’s massive file sizes are also impacting the team’s ability to release new maps.

Asked about the possibility of adding the original Verdansk map to scroll the game’s current Caldera map, Bridge said: “We want it. We all want it”, before addressing the “technical problem” that makes it difficult : “The install and reinstall sizes are crazy, right? If we pull Caldera and say we’re going to drop in Verdansk, it could be basically a new upload, like the size of war zone,” he said.

“And every time we’ve done that, we lose players,” continued Bridge. “Because you’re kind of like, ‘I don’t want to re-upload this,’ [so you] uninstall. I don’t think you can put anything other than war zone on a PS4 basis.”

Bridge exaggerates, but only a little. Activision says you need a whopping 175 GB of PC hard drive space for a war zone to install. On Xbox, the base download is listing at nearly 92GB, similar to the size of PlayStation systems. Add modern warfare on the war zone increases the total size to around 250 GB on PC and 150 GB on consoles.

About a year ago, Activision announcement than the “bigger than usual” war zone The “Season 2 Reloaded” patch would reduce the game’s “overall footprint” on hard drives by 10-15 GB (and 30-35 GB when combined with modern warfare, depending on the platform). “Data optimization and streamlining” in this update would also ensure that “future patch sizes for modern warfare and war zone [would] be smaller” than the 57GB update being offered at the time.

Results for the following year were mixed. A February Season 2 Patch mandatory only around 11GB of file downloads, for example, while a December 7th update that introduced new maps requires 41-45 GB download on the consoles.

A bloating problem

While big budget games have definitely required larger download sizes in recent years, that doesn’t mean those games have taken longer to download, on average. A Ars Technica analysis of 2020 found that the increase in broadband speeds in the United States generally matched or exceeded the increase in game file sizes during the 2010s (although the same we can’t say for the rest of the world).

But large game files like these can cause bigger issues when it comes to a user’s total storage capacity. This is especially true on the latest generation of consoles, which offer less than 1TB of high-speed storage by default (667GB on the PS5, 802GB on the Xbox Series X, and just 364GB on the Xbox Series S). Extend this storage can be relatively expensivealso forcing many gamers to delete titles and juggle downloads when switching between digital games (or juggle titles from old-school USB storage and the system’s main high-speed drive).

Regardless, Bridge was remarkably candid about war zoneand said that “looking into the future, we’re putting a lot more effort into how we technically sort this out so we can have this [map] rotation. We’ve really looked at it, so we’ll have more to talk about, but it’s ultimately a goal to make sure there’s a freshness and a variety of experiences.”