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HomeGameingTriple A game file sizes

Triple A game file sizes

Game developers are engaged in a perpetual arms race, competing in ingenuity to offer their fans the most technical and visually stunning adventures. Players’ desire for more immersive, more epic, and more spectacular experiences naturally leads to games that offer… more.

 But larger games mean larger files, which poses logistical problems, especially for console owners. Internal storage space is very limited, and even the most generous current-generation internal storage drives seem small compared to the size of the triple-A games coming out this year.

Did console developers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo anticipate how quickly game file sizes would explode over the lifespan of their consoles and how difficult it would be for gamers to find their own storage solutions? Have computer manufacturers building gaming machines anticipated the storage and speed needs of today’s games?

Who says open world says storage needs

Bethesda’s Starfield is an example of this. Highly anticipated by Xbox and PC players eager for a new open-world (or perhaps open-galaxy) science fiction title, its size is estimated at 75 GB upon release. For comparison, Bethesda’s last open-world single-player RPG, Fallout 4 , weighed in at 30GB when it released in 2015.

Likewise, Baldur’s Gate III , developed by Larian Studios, is a gargantuan 150 GB. Larian Studios’ last comparable production was Divinity: Original Sin 2 in 2017, which had a PC file size of 60 GB. the growing field of open world games, Blizzard’s Diablo 4 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S and PC.

 While it’s true that it was released more than ten years ago, Diablo 3 was a big game for 2012 with its 25 GB. However, its sequel is even larger, with 80 GB.

An enthusiastic female gamer with headphones playing on her computer.

The Nintendo Switch is no exception to this phenomenon either. If its technical limitations and its tiny internal storage capacity (only 32 GB) require rationalization, even Nintendo strives to compete. 

Nintendo’s largest game ever, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom , will be 18.2 GB compared to its predecessor Breath of the Wild ‘s 14.4 GB in 2017. That’s more than half the storage internal of the Switch!

Games are getting bigger and bigger, regardless of genre

2 players hold controllers and compete in a fighting game on a monitor.  Their avatars brandish swords or ninja stars.  Player 1 has 5 hearts out of 5 compared to 4 for player 2.

This rapid expansion isn’t limited to open-world games. Capcom’s PS4, PS5, Xbox and PC remake of the iconic action/horror/survival game Resident Evil 4 weighs in at 68GB, while its 2021 installment in the franchise, Resident Evil Village , weighed in at just 35GB.

Even, Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor for PS5, Xbox, and PC is 130 GB in size, which is larger than its predecessor Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order , a mere 43 GB, by almost 100 GB.

Even games in genres that you wouldn’t expect to require such large file sizes are affected by storage bloat. Street Fighter 6 , the latest in Capcom’s flagship fighting series, is estimated at 60 GB on PS4, PS5, Xbox and PC, while Street Fighter 5 weighed just 12.4 GB in 2016.

Why are modern games so large?

Opinions differ on why games from the PS5 and Xbox S/X era have such gargantuan file sizes.

 The prevailing view is that the electronics industry’s shift for televisions and monitors from 1080p to 4K resolutions has a lot to do with it.

 Higher resolution displays can display much more detailed textures: four times more detailed, in fact.

 Game developers want to use these details to create more impressive textures for their environment and character models. 

Because these textures are more detailed, they take up a lot more space. If we apply this principle to all game objects, we obtain a much larger game file. 

Although developers do their best to recycle textures, there are limitations.

While the amount of work devoted to textures has increased, the budgets allocated to games have not increased in the same proportions. 

Even though retail prices for triple-A games have increased, much to the dismay of gamers everywhere, it is not enough to offset the cost of additional labor.

 Also, industry insiders see another culprit: reduced retrenchment opportunities. When games were primarily distributed on physical media, such as CDs, DVDs, and cartridges, reducing the game’s file size had a clear financial benefit, as it reduced marketing/publishing expenses . 

Today, barely one game in twenty sold involves a physical medium. And even then, buyers have to download large files in order to install the data that will allow the disc or game card to play.

Granted, the storage costs for these large files run into the hundreds of thousands, if not thousands. million downloads, are considerable.

 But they make it possible to avoid even greater ancillary costs in terms of publishing and distribution. 

In summary, there is less financial incentive to compress and optimize file sizes. Add to this the enormous graphics workload that monopolizes the time available for project optimization, and the sharp increase in game file sizes is inevitable.

Finally, while probably a less important factor, it’s also worth noting that games implement larger, more complex dialogue systems to increase immersion and interactivity.

Increasing the quantity and sound quality of audio files also impacts file size. To return to the example of Starfield , Bethesda released Skyrim in 2012 with approximately 60,000 lines of voiced dialogue. Fallout 4 , in 2015, nearly doubled that total with 110,000. Starfield surpassed its predecessor with over 293,000 voiced lines of dialogue. All of these dialogues require audio files, not to mention the system to coordinate it all.

How to manage ever-larger game files

A Kingston FURY Renegade NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD in a futuristic black motherboard illuminated by neon blue light.What about the players? The six aforementioned 2023 releases alone add up to over half a terabyte, which is way more than a base Xbox Series S can handle (with system files taking up about 30% of the 512GB of available internal storage). The PlayStation 5 would struggle to accommodate another triple-A game of this size on its internal storage, with 667 GB of its 825 GB drive being reserved for game files. Even the popular PC platform will struggle to hold games. games of this size. Gamers either get used to switching games on and off their console every month as new releases require old favorites to be deleted, or they invest in additional storage solutions.

Fortunately, there are plenty of storage options for gamers. Kingston’s FURY product line has been expressly designed to meet the technical demands of contemporary gamers. The Kingston FURY Renegade NVMe PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD delivers exceptional speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s read and 7,000 MB/s write, for PS5 and PC gamers who want to run their games directly to from additional storage space. Its graphene-aluminum heatsink allows it to run at high intensity for longer with superior heat management, making it perfect for extended sessions of heavy use, like gaming. Also available with a heat sink, the SSD stays cool when the game heats up. It offers several capacities, from 500 GB to 4 TB, to adapt to the price and storage needs of each player. Finally, this SSD has the right speed and form factor to serve as the PS5’s internal SSD, meaning you can significantly expand your console’s storage capabilities without the need for peripherals.

For Xbox owners, it is not possible to run current generation games from external hard drives. However, that doesn’t mean Xbox gamers can’t use some extra storage space. External SSDs are great for playing games from previous generations of the Xbox, storing media files, or keeping current games that aren’t used regularly. The XS2000 external SSD uses USB 3.2 Gen2x2, delivering impressive read/write speeds of 2000 MB/s and ample storage space, even in a compact, portable form factor. Its capacities range from 500 GB to 4 TB. Note: Xbox Series S and Series X consoles do not have USB-C ports, so these gamers will need a converter.

Switch players also have decisions to make. This hybrid console has a single SD card slot to increase the storage capacity of the base console, which is tiny. The engineers behind the Switch clearly anticipated the fact that storage would be of increasing interest to owners of the console: it is capable of interfacing with SD cards of a maximum size of 2 TB, a capacity that only arrived on the market in 2023, six years after the console was released. The  Kingston Canvas Go! Plus microSD Card  is a great additional storage choice for Switch users: with a read speed of 170MB/s and a write speed of 90MB/s for larger capacity cards, and capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB, it offers options for gamers of all types, from those who rarely use their Switch to those who use it as their primary or only gaming device.

As games continue to grow in size for a variety of reasons, the industry will adapt to the hardware demands they place on the systems that run them. Whether it’s internal M.2 SSDs, external SSDs or high-capacity SD cards, Kingston offers solutions that reduce the amount of administrative work associated with your games, leaving you more time to enjoy your passion .

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