I filled up my Xbox One's hard drive last month.
Sure, I arguably receive more games than the average console owner in my line of work, but less than a year after launch I'm being forced to delete entire games from my hard drive just to play and review new ones, requiring me to then re-install them down the line if I ever fancy a quick impulse play. Forza 5 swerved off the track, Ryse fell on its sword and I'm still struggling to keep on top of things.
And soon Halo: The Master Chief Collection wants to guzzle up another 60GB or so... followed by a 20GB patch. I'm sorry, but this situation has gotten entirely out of control and we're only a year into the current generation. Put the important debate about frame rates and resolutions on hold for a moment, because we might have bigger problems on the console front.
Yes, I suppose I could plug in an external hard drive. I already have one to backup my PC files. And another one for my Wii U. PS4 owners can also upgrade their hard drives using off-the-shelf compontents... but this is missing the point completely. Shelling out for even more hardware masks the fact that we shouldn't have to install all disc-based console games to the hard drive in their entirety in the first place!
I understand and fully accept that some graphically intensive games need to dump their assets to the hard drive, but all of them? Is the Blu-Ray drive too slow to run any files from the disc? Instead of games installing only the files they need to run effectively, they're splurging the lot in a holdover to the 'always online' DRM regime Mattrick tried to foist on us. More annoyingly still, even graphically mediocre games like Worms Battlegrounds that probably wouldn't overly tax a PS3 or Xbox 360 still need to be installed in their entirety.
Certainly not for the sake of our convenience, as we're often forced to wait for extensive periods of time on Xbox One until the entire disc finally installs, perhaps unlocking a little extra functionality to tide us over while it's cluttering up our drives. Pick-up-and-play convenience used to be the main selling point of consoles over PCs, but now the line isn't so much blurred as completely rubbed out, as we'll still need to wait around, set up accounts download a whole mess of patches just to play our games. And as the cherry on the cake, we still need to put in the disc to play games that are already completely installed.
Now, if I fancy a quick blast of Forza 5, I'll have to delete more games... then sling in the disc... then install it... then grab the title updates... before my tyres hit the track.
We're only a year into the console's lifespan. Imagine the state of affairs in 2016!
This would be fine if developers did their best to respect our time and hard disc space. But they don't, and console games have gotten fat.
The Master Chief Collection is a special case seeing as it contains more content than many entire multi-game series do, but even mid-tier titles can weigh in between 15-30GB or upwards. Sure, it's arguably a price worth paying for prettier games, but I'd also argue that developers simply aren't pulling their weight when it comes to being economical and efficient in a pursuit of ever shinier graphics. I also need to point out that console manufacturers aren't solely to blame, since Titanfall's PC version weighs in at nearly 50GB, despite it only being a 15-map multiplayer shooter, because 35GB is dedicated solely to audio. Hell, though, at least most of the beefier PC games, such as MMOs, come with extra benefits and massive player populations -- and most disc-based PC titles let us run the game from the hard drive once installed.
To put this into perspective, consider that Nintendo's economical use of memory allows the entirety of 1080p 60FPS Super Mario 3D World to occupy a paltry 1.7GB of hard drive space. For shame!
It's not just the games that have grown obese and flabby, though. It's the patches. These days we often have to pull down somewhere between 500MB to 2GB of day-one updates just to take our game online -- again, because the publishers were too rushed or lazy to ensure that the build submitted for certification was up to snuff in the first place -- meaning that anyone without a decent connection will have to wait even longer or even smash through their download limits before they even get to the multiplayer.
And now Halo: The Master Chief Collection demands a 20GB title update on top of its 60GB install size. 20GB. More than ten Super Mario 3D Worlds. Most of a Sunset Overdrive. Just to secure the remainder of the content and get online. 343 argues that this is the only way, but would including an install disc really have been "impractical" for a massive-selling franchise backed by an enormous software company? And does all of this really need to be on the hard drive in the first place?
Perhaps I'm just a luddite standing in the way of progress. Playing more advanced and graphically capable games is obviously a good thing, and we'll do what we have to in order to enjoy our hobby. But by the same token, shouldn't developers could be doing more on their end to ensure that we can get to our games quicker and keep them installed for longer... rather than making us jump through hoops for their convenience? And should hardware manufacturers have ensured a minimum 1TB hard drive from the get-go?
No, seriously, I'm asking you. Let us know in the comments!