Are next-gen console’s hard-drives too small?

PS4 vs Xbox One composite

When the next-gen consoles were announced earlier this year, much was made of the technical specifications of each. A lot of focus was put on the PS4 internal architecture having 8GB of GDDR5 memory, whereas the Xbox One would be packing 8GB of DDR3 instead (a hot topic, I’m sure you agree…). Even now, the focus is on 1080p vs 720p resolution and maintaining 60 frames per second on the respective launch titles.

One thing no-one gave much thought to was the hard drive space. This was understandable. Primarily because both machines were reported to have 500 Gigabyte hard drives and no-one is interested in what makes these consoles the same. Secondly, 500 GB is enormous. Much bigger than most current-gen hard drives.

This, however, will be under much closer scrutiny from now on as the install sizes of the Xbox One launch titles were recently announced. PS4 install sizes are almost certain to be of similar size.

The alleged install sizes are as follows:

  • Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag – 20GB
  • Battlefield 4 – 33GB
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts – 39GB
  • Dead Rising 3 – 19GB
  • FIFA 14 – 8GB
  • Fighter Within – 9.2GB
  • Forza Motorsport 5 – 31GB
  • Just Dance 2014 – 22GB
  • Killer Instinct – 3.4GB
  • Lococyle – 13GB
  • Madden NFL 25 – 12GB
  • NBA 2K14 – 43GB
  • NBA Live 14 – 9GB
  • Powerstar Golf – 3.9GB
  • Ryse: Son of Rome – 34GB
  • Skylanders: Swap Force – 15GB
  • Xbox Fitness – 246MB
  • Zoo Tycoon – 2.6GB
  • Zumba World Party – 24GB

Assuming anyone is insane enough to buy all the launch games, the install adds up to a whopping 341.35 Gigabytes – of a 500GB hard drive (and let’s not forget the operating system that uses “a significant amount” of HDD space)!?! The games have a mandatory install too, so you can’t just play a slower-loading, ‘less installed’ version, to save space.

Now, I appreciate it’s unlikely that anyone will take up all the launch games, so this isn’t going to be a problem right away. However, over the first year or two, it’s not unlikely that people may rack up a collection of 10-15 games. With install sizes of the major titles coming in at anything from 20-40GB, that hard drive space is going to be eaten up pretty quickly.

HDD
PS4 Hard Drives can be upgraded from day one.

What does this mean for consumers? Well, one of two things, probably both. Firstly, we are going to have to get a lot more used to deleting our older games from the hard drive and creating space for every big new release. Secondly, the general public will be hearing more about ‘Terabytes’ than ever before. The second wave of next-gen consoles (version 2.0) will almost certainly be coming with 1 – 2 TB hard drives.

The good news for early adopters of next-gen consoles is that external hard drive storage may become available down the line on Xbox One (though its native 500GB Hard Drive is non-removable), also the PS4 hard drive CAN be upgraded on day one – should you so wish.

What seemed at one time to be enormous, has suddenly started to look a little feeble in BOTH next gen consoles. Let’s hope that the indie companies, eagerly developing for the PS4, keep the downloadable game sizes small, otherwise the space Sony have afforded them by not crowding the launch with triple A titles will be counteracted by the fact they forgot to leave them any space on the hard drive!

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