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Why did the filesize of nearly every game became so big.

Feb 13, 2019
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I am always wondering why the file sizes became so big for nearly all games. Is it laziness on the developer side or are there other reasons behind it.

I grew up in the times of Commodore 64 and later than the Nintendo Entertainment system and the file sizes at that time were so small compared to today:
NES (between 8 kB and 1 MB)
SNES (between 0.23 MB and 4 MB)

Now, fast forward to today and we barely see games that have smaller sizes than 1GB.
Now I am not stupid, I know that modern games need a lot more space because of the higher resolution which also require much higher resolution textiles, the better quality in Sound, Music etc. So I am not saying that so small sizes should be common, but I feel that many developers became lazy with the availability of so much more space.

For example, there are a lot of compression techniques available which would probably make it possible for the sizes to be much smaller, but I think developers these days don't care about it anymore so much, like they used to, when there was only limited space available.

Another example are all these indie games, which are made to look like NES or SNES games, but there file size is usually not even near the file sizes from that time.

So do you feel most games need to be so big and eat away all the space on our hard-drives or do you also feel that due to the comfort of available space developers became lazy and games are much bigger than they need to be.
 

elliot5

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as someone who has worked on games, I'd rather not have to do assembly code and bit manipulation trickery to get a pixel to render a specific color just to keep file sizes down. Storage got real cheap, and the commoditization of engines means general purpose game development, which loses out on some efficiencies. Plus as you mentioned the modern demands of quality. Some assets are poorly optimized/packaged in bundles, but it is what it is. Again, storage is cheap so it's not that big of a deal.

With SSDs being standard we should see better utilization of assets/compression. Sony's done great work standardizing kraken compression tech to bring down file sizes, so there still modern methods to improve in this area.
 
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bender

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We've seen some reduction in size now that the new consoles have faster drives. There is less need to duplicate data for faster access like with spinning disks. Game worlds are bigger, visuals are higher resolution and more detailed, voice acting is the norm and there is little need to use lossy compression on audio since you aren't trying to cram everything onto tiny storage mediums.
 
Jun 1, 2021
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Another example are all these indie games, which are made to look like NES or SNES games, but there file size is usually not even near the file sizes from that time.
The secret with many of the games that many modern developers like to call 8bit or 16bit games is that in reality, the vast majority of these games could never come close to running on a real 8bit or 16bit machine.
The secret with many of the other games that you're talking about is that people already moan far too much about games as it is, to get a company to then increase the time and with it, the cost of creating their games will mean they either make less money on their games or the charge people more for them.
In reality having the tag line of "Look, we didn't really bother with the last two months of testing but look, we managed to save you a whole GB of storage space during that period" isn't really going to impress anybody.
 
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Feb 13, 2019
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I mean it is also a fact that developers don't have enough time apparently anymore to make their games, because they are not given enough from the publisher. I mean the old games nearly always got put out in a very polished state, because there was no possibility to patch it later. These days the developer / publisher just throw out what they have, hope to be able to fix the biggest bugs via a day 1 patch and patch the rest (or not) in the future.
 
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ReBurn

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It's actually all relative. Those small file sizes for early games weren't actually small back then. Many of those "small" games pushed the storage and processing capabilities of the machines they ran on.
 
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Aug 26, 2018
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I mean some games for sure are insane in size, biggest culprit is COD which i dont get how even their base game is 150GB.

But you still have modern games that have low file size:
Need for Speed franchise is about 20GB each
Ace Combat, Resident Evil 2 R, Horizon Zero Dawn etc are all below 30GB

The only really large I remember are COD as mentioned, Gran Turismo Sport and MK11.
 

MrA

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Games got huge with excellent graphics, audio, and pre rendered cutscenes. That’s really all there is to it.
yeah, seriously 8/16 bit era games were composed of limited color tilemaps with some sort of sequenced audio, devs might have had to use all sorts of clever tricks and illusions to get the best performance and minimize size as storage was a premium, today we have single textures that are a map of millions of pixels with all sorts of extra detail in different layers, music/sounds/voice made of huge numbers of giant samples, and movie files,
laziness has nothing to do with it
Definitely has to do with laziness from Developers in some cases. Particularly Call Duty developers. Why is every call of duty well over 100 gigs?
that seems more intentional to stop other games from being installed instead of laziness.
 
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Hoddi

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Modern games are already highly compressed. If you were to fully unpack some of them then even 50GB games might balloon up to a terabyte or more. People often mention Call of Duty in this regard but the simple truth is that these games have massive amounts of source data. There's a reason these games are so expensive to make and yet every COD released since 2017 has been compressed using Kraken.

There's not even all that much data duplication from what I can tell. I recently played through Cold War from an HDD equipped with a large SSD cache and the cache hit rate was quite high which means that it wasn't all just duplicate data.
 

Knightime_X

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I feel as if UE5's nanite and luminus or whatever its called will help greatly in reduction in some fashion.
 

Sophist

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Game are now targeting a much bigger resolution, we went from 256×224 (Nes) to 2560×1440 (QHD) and are in 3D; your 8×8 nes tiles is now a 3D Model that may have thousands of vertices, edge, ... per animation frame coupled to hd textures.
I read somewhere that Id Software's Rage textures in total were taking more than 1TB of memory before compression.
 
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TheDuskwalker

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Every time I see this topic brought up I always immediately think of how Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PS4 was 67GB at release.....it's now 36GB after a patch that came around 6 months after release, or how Monster Hunter World on PS4's file size was 16GB at launch then was a little over 20GB after all patches and DLC, yet the Iceborne expansion DLC was 30GB, bringing the file size to over 50GB total (the quest and monster list was similar to base game but new areas and stuff added was about half, yet double file size?).

Gives an idea on how things can be optimized in some scenarios, but devs just don't do it for whatever reasons.
 
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Hoddi

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Game are now targeting a much bigger resolution, we went from 256×224 (Nes) to 2560×1440 (QHD) and are in 3D; your 8×8 nes tiles is now a 3D Model that may have thousands of vertices, edge, ... per animation frame coupled to hd textures.
I read somewhere that Id Software's Rage textures in total were taking more than 1TB of memory before compression.
I think you're right about these numbers. Rage needed lossy texture compression to get it down to ~20GB which is also why it looked pretty rough at close inspection.

If they released it today then they might have been able to use lossless compression but it might also be closer to 100GB in size. 20GB was considered huge back then but it almost seems quaint nowadays.
 
Jan 14, 2018
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For fuck sake why you guys always go with this stupid argument. Why the fuck someone “lazy” would become game developer!?
Lazy... look at Call of duty saga, and there is the perfect definition of Lazy... HOW THE FUCK IS POSSIBLE THAT THEIR SHITTY GAMES ARE 120 GB OR MORE FOR A MULTIPLAYER!!!!!?????? And See Games like Resonance of Fate HD/4K edition that only take 16 GB?????!!!
 
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Danjin44

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Lazy... look at Call of duty saga, and there is the perfect definition of Lazy... HOW THE FUCK IS POSSIBLE THAT THEIR SHITTY GAMES ARE 120 GB OR MORE FOR A MULTIPLAYER!!!!!?????? And See Games like Resonance of Fate HD/4K edition that only take 16 GB?????!!!
You might think their games are shitty but that doesn't make the devs working on those games lazy, sorry that just not reasonable argument.
 
Jan 14, 2018
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You might think their games are shitty but that doesn't make the devs working on those games lazy, sorry that just not reasonable argument.
I have seen the game for more than 6 years and it is the same, only more "HD", there is no evolution of the gameplay and the movement sequences are almost identical to those of a 7 or 8 year old game, of course they copy the same action sequences.

And yes, it is not possible that now you have to buy a higher capacity SSD, because your game consumes almost half of the PS5's SSD ...

Incredible and it is verifiable.

Here you will excuse me, but in this case, the Call of Duty developer are extremely lazy.
 
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JimboJones

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Lazy... look at Call of duty saga, and there is the perfect definition of Lazy... HOW THE FUCK IS POSSIBLE THAT THEIR SHITTY GAMES ARE 120 GB OR MORE FOR A MULTIPLAYER!!!!!?????? And See Games like Resonance of Fate HD/4K edition that only take 16 GB?????!!!
Always thought it was a mixture of having loads of dlc, even though you might never buy it someone else might and it has to show up in your game so you gotta download it too.

Less decompression made work easier for the last gen console CPUs and allowed a wider variety desktop CPUs to run it.
Please correct if wrong but it's always the two reasons I see pop up.
 

haxan7

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Do you download games over a slow internet connection?

If you don’t, this is virtually a non-issue.
 

BigBooper

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You might think their games are shitty but that doesn't make the devs working on those games lazy, sorry that just not reasonable argument.
You gotta use some common sense. Lazy in this context doesn't mean they are just sitting on their butts doing nothing. It means they didn't plan for or do this particular job. Only idiots would think any individual developer has control over the project enough to control something like file size.

The project didn't include the work it would require to have a small file size, hence they didn't try, hence lazy.
 
Jan 14, 2018
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Always thought it was a mixture of having loads of dlc, even though you might never buy it someone else might and it has to show up in your game so you gotta download it too.

Less decompression made work easier for the last gen console CPUs and allowed a wider variety desktop CPUs to run it.
Please correct if wrong but it's always the two reasons I see pop up.
you are right in your words =)
 
Jan 14, 2018
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You gotta use some common sense. Lazy in this context doesn't mean they are just sitting on their butts doing nothing. It means they didn't plan for or do this particular job. Only idiots would think any individual developer has control over the project enough to control something like file size.

The project didn't include the work it would require to have a small file size, hence they didn't try, hence lazy.
Exactly!!

and to be honest... the team of Chernobylite... they are more competent that all Call of duty team.... At least for me their game Chernobylite have a great graphics and the only take 40 GB.... NOT THE 120 GB LIKE THE OTHER SHITTY GAME

 

Kenpachii

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uncompressed stuff = less performance hit.
introduction of 4k textures and video and high quality audio

People have internet connections fast enough and space to install it so why bother reducing it.

I feel as if UE5's nanite and luminus or whatever its called will help greatly in reduction in some fashion.

It won't because 8k will make its introduction and there you go again.
 
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Amiga

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I am always wondering why the file sizes became so big for nearly all games. Is it laziness on the developer side or are there other reasons behind it.
Audio content. games have tons of recorded dialogue these days. And texture resolution effects size a lot.

We've seen some reduction in size now that the new consoles have faster drives. There is less need to duplicate data for faster access like with spinning disks. Game worlds are bigger, visuals are higher resolution and more detailed, voice acting is the norm and there is little need to use lossy compression on audio since you aren't trying to cram everything onto tiny storage mediums.


True. Tales of Arise on PS5 is actually a couple of gigs smaller than the PS4 version.
 

Shmunter

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Lazy... look at Call of duty saga, and there is the perfect definition of Lazy... HOW THE FUCK IS POSSIBLE THAT THEIR SHITTY GAMES ARE 120 GB OR MORE FOR A MULTIPLAYER!!!!!?????? And See Games like Resonance of Fate HD/4K edition that only take 16 GB?????!!!
It’s all the skins, trinkets, bedazzled guns etc.

Textures always are the biggest assets.
 

Tschumi

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I think it's because compression tech took until PS5 (in particular) up catch up with the increase in texture/model file sizes/amounts
 

Shmunter

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Size is an issue, and Sony is the first ones to seriously tackle the issue by dedicating hardware directly at the problem.

Will take awhile for universal uptake.
 
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Rodolink

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well you want huge open worlds and "HD" graphics, 8k textures Hifi audio etc.
ps. also devs aren't lazy, we are extremely constrained in terms of budget in all regards, and not everyone has the tools and resources to tackle these problems. (check Capcom games end credits ie.)
 
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SlimySnake

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Definitely has to do with laziness from Developers in some cases. Particularly Call Duty developers. Why is every call of duty well over 100 gigs?
Free maps and lots of them. Mw has something like 40 free maps. They used to make you pay for extra maps but now there are free so everyone has to install them.

They are also very content rich. They have single player campaign, dedicated coop campaigns and all ship with dozens of maps. Not many games do that anymore.

Tlou2 shipped without coop and no no and still shipped with two discs and 78gb
 
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WitchHunter

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I am always wondering why the file sizes became so big for nearly all games. Is it laziness on the developer side or are there other reasons behind it.

I grew up in the times of Commodore 64 and later than the Nintendo Entertainment system and the file sizes at that time were so small compared to today:
NES (between 8 kB and 1 MB)
SNES (between 0.23 MB and 4 MB)

Now, fast forward to today and we barely see games that have smaller sizes than 1GB.
Now I am not stupid, I know that modern games need a lot more space because of the higher resolution which also require much higher resolution textiles, the better quality in Sound, Music etc. So I am not saying that so small sizes should be common, but I feel that many developers became lazy with the availability of so much more space.

For example, there are a lot of compression techniques available which would probably make it possible for the sizes to be much smaller, but I think developers these days don't care about it anymore so much, like they used to, when there was only limited space available.

Another example are all these indie games, which are made to look like NES or SNES games, but there file size is usually not even near the file sizes from that time.

So do you feel most games need to be so big and eat away all the space on our hard-drives or do you also feel that due to the comfort of available space developers became lazy and games are much bigger than they need to be.
BECAUSE... you need to consume.
Hard drives: BUY MEEEE
RAMs: NOOO! DON LISTEN TO THEM, bUY MEEEEE INSTEAD!
SSDs: KHM.... 5,5 GB/sec anything else? Ofc under 1TB you are a peasant. ; )
 

Larxia

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The worst part is that it's not even related to the quality of the assets most of the time, just some... maybe lack of optimization, or...artificial size?

I know that a lot of people seem to complain nowadays when a game isn't heavy, I've seen so many times posts on forums like "wtf, this game is only 12gb? must really suck lol". It's incredibly stupid, but for many people, the size of the files seem to be equivalent of the quality / amount of content, therefore, I wouldn't even be surprised if some devs are making their game files bigger on purpose just for this. It's really stupid because people also complain about the lack of available space, but people are dumb so...

The original Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is 8 gb, and the "remaster" is 30gb while having many WORSE textures than the original.
 
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Knightime_X

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uncompressed stuff = less performance hit.
introduction of 4k textures and video and high quality audio

People have internet connections fast enough and space to install it so why bother reducing it.



It won't because 8k will make its introduction and there you go again.
>_>
<_<
>>_>>