Modern Warfare’s Massive Updates Are Gobbling Up Players’ Hard Drives

Yesterday Call of Duty: Modern Warfare received a new update and additional data pack, adding over a dozen gigs to an already huge game and eating up ever more space on people’s console and PC harddrives. Lots of games want to be the only one you play; Modern Warfare seems to want to be the only one you can keep installed.

Based on the official patch notes, the game’s latest update didn’t appear to change much beyond some bug fixes, balance tweaks, and adding Shoot the Ship, a mode that exclusively features the Shoothouse and Shipment maps. That didn’t stop the update from being roughly 10GB on PS4 and 13GB on Xbox One, followed by the need to install a brand new data pack adding another 15GB. On PC the total update download size was 32GB, larger than many games.

Once upon a time people were surprised to learn that Rockstar’s sprawling open world Western Red Dead Redemption 2 would be an approximately 100GB install on console. A year and a half later that’s become the new baseline for some of the biggest games, like The Division 2, Destiny 2, and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Call of Duty, the archetypal AAA blockbuster, hasn’t allowed itself to be outdone in file sizes. In 2013 Call of Duty: Ghosts was a mere 50GB on PC. Seven years later Modern Warfare is a whopping 175GB. With these huge patch sizes, players need to have well over 200GB dedicated to the game in order to keep it updated.

“I do not physically understand how this game can occupy over 200GB on a hard drive,” wrote one PC player on Reddit after the update went live last night. “Don’t get me wrong, game is awesome and looks amazing but the size to harddrive ratio is insane,” wrote another, continuing, “I am basically going to have to dedicate an entire SSD just to run one game, that’s madness.e.g Drive Name: ‘Call of Duty.’”

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Things are arguably even worse on PS4 and Xbox One, especially for those with launch edition harddrives that only have 500GB of space. The full game, including all multiplayer and campaign add-ons, took up 156.5GB on PS4 back in February, according to Eurogamer. Now some players are reporting the final install size at 185GB on that platform. And given how the PS4 requires a lot of extra space on the harddrive in order to download updates, some PS4s have effectively become dedicated Modern Warfare machines. The update sizes are also huge hurdles for people living in places with internet data caps or where speeds are much slower.

Infinity Ward, the makers of Modern Warfare, apologised for the game’s massive updates back in February when the rollout of season two alone required 50GB downloads. “As we push season 2 live I just want to apologise about the download size of this update,” Paul Haile, the game’s production director, wrote on Twitter at the time. “We’re constantly trying to fight back against both download size and disk footprint and in this case we’re re-sending new asset packs to reduce the overall size of the game.”

This latest update is certainly smaller than 50GB, but it hasn’t stopped the game’s slow march toward taking over people’s harddrives. Maybe the eventual game of the year edition will come with an external drive big enough to install it on.

Activision didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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