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Dear game developers: Gamers are not made out of bandwidth


Like a lot of people in North America, I have a pretty mediocre Internet service. My typical download speed is around 1 MB/s and I have a 100 GB monthly download cap. I can be charged up to $50 a month for busting said download cap. In those conditions, buying digital copies of current-gen AAA titles is off the table. Downloading 35 GB of data for The Witcher III or 49 GB for Wolfenstein: The New Order or Batman: Arkham Knight would likely mean I’d have to effectively pay $120 for the game as opposed to the usual $70. And screw that noise.

I know that high definition textures take up a lot of space and that makes final game file sizes bigger, but there are such things as compression and optimization. Developers had to use it last gen because the Xbox 360 still used DVDs and games had to fit on those. That resulted in most digital games rarely going over 10 GB, which was manageable. Now that both the PS4 and Xbox One use Blu-Ray, however, a lot of  developers have apparently gone completely nuts and stopped optimizing their stuff. And that needs to stop. Gamers are not made out of bandwidth.

With game file sizes getting out of control like this, physical copies are godsents. Or at least they would be if it wasn’t for shit like this:

Image credit: Thadeus J. Fluffnstuff on Facebook

That’s right: not content with already taking up over 10% of the default PS4 hard drive, Batman: Arkham Knight requires a 3.5GB day one patch as well. The file size itself wouldn’t be much of a problem if I could just delete the game when I need space and reinstall it by simply putting the disc back in the console, but publishers’ « release it now, patch it later » mentality means that every time I reinstall a game I deleted, I’ll have to waste time and bandwidth to redownload gigabytes of patches. Remember when the big advantage of console gaming was that it was plug and play?

One solution would be for Sony and Microsoft to allow us to keep the update files on the console when we delete the games themselves, but that wouldn’t excuse the bullshit devs and publishers are pulling: game file sizes and patch culture need to be reined in, especially if the industry is serious about that all-digital future dream. The current model is unsustainable in the long run.

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About DirgeNovakone of us since 3:41 AM on 06.25.2011