Leading up to a new console generation always brings promises for improvements on where the previous generation failed because, I mean they should be better. That’s part of the point of new hardware, to be better at the things that the old generation couldn’t do as well or couldn’t do at all.
When Mark Cerny gave us a lecture back in March, one talking point that made my ears perk up was when he talked about game file sizes potentially being drastically reduced. It’s no secret to anyone, especially those with Call of Duty: Warzone installed on their console, that game file sizes have grown astronomically. Currently, Call of Duty takes a whopping 168GB of space on my PS4 Pro, with the only game coming close to that size being Star Wars: Battlefront II which takes up 120GB of space. Even single player titles take up a fair amount of space, too. The Last of Us Part II takes up 78GB of space and Marvel’s Spider-Man takes up 72GB.
I’ve already made the purchase of an external 2TB HDD, in order to give myself access to these games and everything else I may want to have at a given time. So when Mark Cerny talked about the SSD being able to allow developers to use the drive more efficiently and without added bloat like 400 mailboxes, it was very exciting to hear. Smaller game sizes are a bonus for everyone, and if I didn’t have to look at buying an external device just to be able to have access to the games I want to play most, then that’s a great reason to make the leap into next gen.
Unfortunately, our first look at game file sizes indicates that this issue will not at all be fixed with next gen. We’ve now learned the file sizes for two of the launch titles for the PS5, Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls.
Miles Morales on its own will come in at 50GB, while the ultimate edition of the game which comes bundled with Insomniac’s PS4 Spider-Man game will take a whopping 105GB of space. Demon’s Souls on its own will take 66GB of space. None of these file sizes are any smaller than the current generation it would seem, though I’d argue that they at least aren’t any bigger. That is, for now. The better textures and higher resolutions are no doubt going to add to file sizes, and suddenly we’ve gone from this maybe being a problem that could be solved by next gen to the reality that it may not be solved and may actually get worse.
It’s an upsetting thing to consider. I’ve almost always hit the limit of what my console can fit on its hard drive, and it’s always a pain to have to try and figure out what I can delete in order to make space for whatever game I’m trying to play. It’s a problem that is only compounded with the fact that I’ve also never had great wi-fi and have only recently in my life been able to have access to an ethernet connection. That means the thought of deleting something and then possibly re-downloading it becomes a chore that can take an absorbent amount of time. Time that I’d much rather be spending playing on my console, rather than watch a download bar slowly inch towards 100%.
I recognize that these might be isolated problems only I’ve dealt with, but I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only gamer who has made the choice to turn off their console and allow the download to continue in sleep mode just to let it go as fast as possible. I’m also probably not the only one who has pre-loaded a game in anticipation, only to discover a large patch upon release needed to play the game and ultimately, just went to bed instead because the file size was so big even with a fast internet connection it would still take a while.
Game sizes are already too big, and so far we’ve only seen what the file sizes for two single player games will be. I shudder to think about what the multiplayer sizes will be, especially with the inevitable patches that will come along and add on to an already large file size.
One thing I will say though is that this is the very beginning of the console generation. It could very well be the case that we’ll see developers be able to optimize that hardware to it’s best capabilities later on in the generation, and we’ll start to see file sizes go down. That however, remains to be seen, and if these two launch titles are any indication for the kind of space AAA games will take up, it’s not looking good.
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