Call of Duty filesizes are completely out of control. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (see on Amazon), the latest in the long-running military FPS franchise recently acquired by Microsoft, consumes over 200GB of storage on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S when you add up everything it contains. The new Call of Duty HQ download manager alone is itself a roughly 50GB install.
Call of Duty games have had massive digital footprints for a while now. We complain about them every year. Things were particularly bad with 2020’s Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, which ate up a staggering 255GB on PS5 after all its content packs were installed. It seemed like video game filesize inflation slowed down for a bit afterward, but with Modern Warfare III the hit shooter is back to eating up anywhere from a third to half of players’ “next-gen” SSD drives, according to IGN.
Activision tried to explain why this is happening on X (formerly known as Twitter) today. “In preparation, we would like to provide an update on file sizes which are larger than last year,” the company tweeted. “This is due to the increased amount of content available Day 1, including open world Zombies, support for item carry forward from #MW2, as well as map files for current Call of Duty: Warzone. (Note: as part of our ongoing optimization efforts, your final installation size will be actually smaller than the combined previous Call of Duty experiences).”
While it makes sense that all of Modern Warfare III’s map packs, modes, and cross-over content with Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2 would add to the final filesize, Activision’s explanation still doesn’t still doesn’t make clear why players can’t simply download the single-player campaign that came out in “early access” today without messing around with the rest via a convoluted, 50GB launcher.
In theory, Call of Duty HQ is supposed to make MW3’s nearly 235GB footprint easier to manage by streamlining how players pick and choose what content to download and install. In practice, however, many fans seem to think it’s a huge pain in the ass. Warfare 2 players have already had to put up with it for months now, with PC Gamer calling the interface, “a real mess of data management.” Being required for Modern Warfare III hasn’t won the launcher any more supporters.
“Call of Duty HQ system seems way too complicated for casual players,” tweeted Charlie Intel co-founder Keshav Bhat. “The amount of posts I have seen asking how to install [the] campaign or where to find it is insane.”
Plus, if the total size of MW3 is already over 200GB, it’s likely to get even bigger in the months ahead as Activision rolls out additional content, including remastered Modern Warfare 2 maps. I’m looking forward to when Call of Duty HQ gets its own overhaul, requiring players to install a massive patch to fix the massive installer.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’s multiplayer mode goes live November 10.