For years, players have complained that ballooning game download sizes are clogging up hard drives and Internet bandwidth. In a recent interview with streamer TeeP, Call of Duty: Warzone Live Operations Lead Josh Bridge admitted that the game’s massive file size is also impacting the team’s ability to release new maps.
Asked about the possibility of adding the original Verdansk map to cycle alongside the game’s current Caldera map, Bridge said, “We want that. We all want that,” before addressing the “technical problem” that makes it difficult: “The install and re-install sizes are fucking insane, right? If we pulled out Caldera and say we’re gonna drop in Verdansk, this could be essentially re-downloading, like, the size of Warzone,” he said.
“And every time we’ve done that, we lose players,” Bridge continued. “Because you’re kind of like, ‘I don’t want to re-download that,’ [so you] uninstall. I think you can’t fit anything else but Warzone on a base PS4.”
Bridge is exaggerating, but only a little. Activision says you need a whopping 175GB of hard drive space on PC for a Warzone install. On Xbox, the base download is listed at nearly 92GB, similar to the size on PlayStation systems. Adding Modern Warfare onto the Warzone package increases the total size to about 250GB on PC and 150GB on consoles.
About a year ago, Activision announced that the “larger than usual” Warzone “Season 2 Reloaded” patch would reduce the game’s “overall footprint” on hard drives by 10–15GB (and 30–35GB when combined with Modern Warfare, depending on the platform). The “data optimization and streamlining” in that update would also ensure that “future patch sizes for Modern Warfare and Warzone [would] be smaller” than the 57GB update being offered at that point.
The results over the ensuing year have been mixed. A February Season 2 patch required only about 11GB of file downloads, for instance, while a December 7 update that introduced new maps required a 41–45 GB download on consoles.
A ballooning 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. An Ars Technica analysis from 2020 found that increases in broadband speeds in the US generally matched or outpaced the increase in game file sizes over the 2010s (though the same can’t be said for the rest of the world).
But massive game files like these can cause more significant trouble when it comes to a user’s total storage capacity. That’s especially true on the latest generation of consoles, which offer less than 1TB of default high-speed storage (667GB on the PS5, 802GB on the Xbox Series X, and just 364GB on the Xbox Series S). Expanding that storage can be relatively expensive, too, forcing many players to delete titles and juggle downloads as they switch between digital games (or juggle titles from old-fashioned USB storage to the system’s main high-speed drive).
In any case, Bridge was remarkably frank about Warzone‘s file size issues and said that “looking to the future, we’re putting a lot more effort into how we sort that out on a technical level so that we can have that [map] rotation. We’ve been really looking at it, so we’ll have more to talk about that, but that is ultimately a goal to ensure that there’s a freshness and a variety of experiences.”