In today's world, gamers & game purchasers are making the switch from physical purchase to digital in droves. The Entertainment Software Association outlined in their 2017 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry that in 2016 74% of game purchases were digital. As we all know, when a game is purchased digitally, it must be downloaded in order to be played, this means that the game will take up more storage space. How big then, would be too large for a video game?
This is ultimately a personal opinion, but let's go through the factors that can affect that opinion; Internet speed and data limits, hard drive size, and quality of game versus size.
Starting with internet speed, for the majority of readers in the United States, this is not a problem but data caps can be. According to fastmetrics.com, the average internet speed in the United States is 14.2 Mbps. Note that the 'b' is lowercase, a lowercase 'b' is representative of bits, the units by which Internet speed is usually measured. This means that a 50GB game could be downloaded in around 8 hours, or overnight. Since I couldn't find an average for data caps, I've taken AT&T's middle range subscription, which has a 1TB data cap, and used it for my calculations. Using this means you can download around 20 50GB games per month. I don't think I've ever beaten 20 games in a single month.
For hard drive size, the majority of gaming PC's use 1TB hard drives, as do modern consoles. A PC with Windows 10 has about 20GB's taken up my system OS. which still leaves us with about 20 games at any one time.
And as for the quality of game against size, there's no reasonable way to quantify this since it's extremely personal and constantly changing with new releases, and with the player's library.
I'd draw the line at 50GB because as we've seen, the majority of gamers would find higher sizes detrimental. This is due to internet speeds and data caps, which leave a lot to be desired. However, the largest game I can seem to find -ignoring simulators- is Fallout 4 with its HD texture pack and all DLC installed clocking in at 93GB. The way the video game industry is progressing, games are quite likely to keep getting larger, since assets and textures keep demanding more space. Of course, it is inevitable -digitally speaking- that video games will surpass data caps in the near future, which could lead to clashes between digital sales of games and ISPs. This could make sales flip back towards physical since developers could always just add more discs to a game if necessary. Unless file compression sees a major breakthrough in the coming years, digital sales might end up losing the title of a preferred method of distribution. However, one way around this might be episodic games, segmenting the titles so gamers can download the game a section at a time.
What do you think? Are video games getting too big? How might this affect the game industry in the long term? Let me know in the comments below.