Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone has hit an unwelcome milestone on PC: it's now over 200GB.
The monstrous install size was reached on PC with the release of a mammoth 54GB update for Modern Warfare owners, or an equally egregious 47GB download for Warzone only owners, this week alongside the launch of Season 5. This is the one that added a train and blew the roof off the stadium.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone on console almost got to 200GB, but recent updates on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has seen the game's overall install footprint reduce in size as developer Infinity Ward optimises the game's asset packs.
Of course, on console you're able to reduce the overall install footprint further by deleting parts of the game you don't want. On console, head over to the options menu and you can set your game installs. If you don't care about multiplayer, for example, you can delete the multiplayer packs. If you don't care about the campaign, you can delete the campaign packs. If you don't care about Spec Ops (who does?), delete the Spec Ops packs. And if you're on PS4, go ahead and delete the Survival Pack. Don't worry. I'll wait.
But, for some reason, you cannot do any of this on PC. In fact, there is no Game Installs part of the options menu at all on PC.
This seems odd to me, given the PC platform is usually the most customisable. And it's become a particular frustration for me recently. A few months ago I moved from playing Call of Duty on my PS4 to playing it on a gaming laptop (late to the party, I know, but it's so much better!). I had hoped to be able to reduce the install footprint of the game on my harddrive as I have been able to on PS4, but I can't. And now Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone is taking up a whopping 200GB on my laptop. It's not cool.
At this point, the free to download battle royale Warzone is probably considered by most people to be a separate game than Modern Warfare, and there will be many millions of people who have Warzone only installed on their consoles and PCs. But I'm a fan of both Modern Warfare multiplayer and Warzone, so I need both installed as I switch between the two.
Then there are the downloads. This is hardly news at this point, but Call of Duty's massive downloads stick out like a sore thumb. I don't know of any other game that issues such huge updates so regularly. So while the install footprint is levelling off - or even getting smaller on console - those downloads remain a complete pain.
I was somewhat surprised to see the Season 5 patch available to "pre-download" on PS4 a day early. I've never seen that before with a game! This meant PS4 players could hit the ground running when the update went live at 7am on 5th August. But PC and Xbox One players had to wait until 7am before they could download the update, and I'm not entirely sure why.
Warzone is immensely popular, with more than 75 million players at this point. A massive number of people download Call of Duty's updates all at the same time. Virgin Media told me this week that Warzone's Season 5 update sparked a 60 per cent uplift in traffic on its service on Wednesday compared to the previous Wednesday, which is remarkable.
During peak time (8pm to 10pm) on Wednesday there was a 20 per cent uplift in traffic, which is the highest for four weeks. Even on Tuesday, when the pre-download went live on PS4, Virgin Media saw a 10 per cent uplift in peak time traffic compared to the last four Tuesdays.
Overall, an additional 22 petabytes of data was downloaded compared to Monday to Friday last week, with Northern Ireland and Wales seeing the largest uplift. At the peak of recorded traffic, the equivalent of more than 52 PS4 Warzone patches worth of data was downloaded each second.
This was Virgin Media's busiest spike in peak time traffic since... can you guess? The last Call of Duty: Warzone mid-season 4 update on Tuesday 30th June.
It's worth noting Fortnite released an update on the same day as Warzone Season 5, and while Virgin Media said it may have contributed to the dramatic surge, the Fortnite update was only 2GB.
As Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone continue its assault on the nation's broadband - and our harddrives - thoughts turn to the next generation of consoles and how Call of Duty will work on them. I'm guessing we can expect the massive installs and downloads of the current generation to continue on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC. But my fingers are crossed PC at least gets the same mitigating options as console this time.
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