Why Next Gen Game Discs Are Still Required

Even gamers with bandwidth to burn and vowing off physical media formats of any kind might balk at this news.

The digital download version of Sony’s PS4 FPS launch game “Killzone: Shadow Fall” is reportedly set to be a whopping 50Gb in size.

To put that in comparison, one of the biggest current gen games is “Grand Theft Auto V” for PS3 which sits at around 18Gb. Another is PS3 exclusive “The Last of Us” at 27Gb. A major game on Steam presently sits at around 15Gb.

Play as you Download functionality will help, as is the way “Killzone” will also be split into single and multiplayer chunks, allowing players to prioritise which portion to download first.

Yet at 50Gb, that’s a LOT of bandwidth, especially for those on capped usage (which is most of the world), eating up a huge chunk of many a user’s monthly allowance. It also takes up a lot of space on a game console’s hard drive.

Uncapped plans tend to have slower speeds, which poses the other problem – how much of the game will you get through before it might freeze.

The average U.S. broadband speed at present is around 8.5Mbps, which would take 13-14 hours to download a game this size – assuming both your ISP and Sony’s servers are running at 100% capacity.

Sony UK MD Fergal Gara tells Eurogamer that digital downloads are: “still a relatively tedious process. [Sony has] done a lot of work on pre-delivering files. It’s not perfect. It’s not seamless. The file version of the game versus the disc version of the game maybe needs to go through additional QA and additional testing. Some of the problems that have occurred have occurred on older machines, which of course when you go into the next-generation you at least get to reset and start again and everything’s the same age and new. That helps.”

As games grow more and more elaborate and ISPs push for increasing bandwidth caps, it’s a problem that could grow across all gaming platforms from consoles to PCs.