Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Real Cost of Games This Console Generation

As most of you that may read this know I spend more on games than any one human should and there is no justification for that. I just really like to have boxes full of plastic that collect dust. While looking over my budget today and penciling in the fact I just preordered that beautiful new Forza 6 Xbox One. Coupled with the fact I once again had to decide what to delete to install Batman on my Home office Xbox to be able to install Batman. I got to thinking about the real cost of gaming this generation. And it isn't the cost of the games themselves.

One of the surprise factors when the new consoles released in November of 2013 was that the retail games didn't make yet another $10 per game hike. They surprisingly stayed put at $59.99. This was admittedly a refreshing turn of events. That isn't where the real cost of games is this generation anyway. The real cost is disk space and bandwidth.

I know I'm an extreme case. I know there are like 12 people on the planet like me that have nearly every game installed in their household. probably less that have an Xbox on each TV. I know most people will say. "Only install the game you are currently playing" or " Just move a console from one room to the other." but, I'm an adult and I shouldn't have to. I also shouldn't have to wait an hour to reinstall a game that I deleted just to save space so I can play with a friend for an hour or two.

With giant installs (61GB in the case of Halo MCC) and bullshit like 16.9GB day one patches. To give you guys some idea the Xbox One has been out a little over 19 months and there are already just under 4TB of games available on the market. to put this in some type of perspective. The full amount of Xbox 360 games I own digitally over the nearly 9 years it has been on the market don't fill and entire 2TB hard drive. So what happens in 9 years of Xbox One? As development costs get lower and independent developers master the ability to create games in little time will there be 100TB of games available? It's absolutely possible. considering a 6TB drive is the largest drive you can currently walk into a store and buy for about ($250 for and external USB 3.0) and the Xbox only officially supporting 2 drives at up to 4TB I expect my "Home Console" to be maxed out by this Christmas. March at the latest.

So if you aren't an insane person and you just have three games you have little to worry about. the newer 1TB consoles might even give you a little breathing room. Unfortunately disk space isn't the only issue. There is also the issue of Bandwidth. If you have a metered network connection or are limited to an amount of data. Games can become exponentially more expensive. Luckily my internet provider does not seem to care about hundreds of gigabytes of downloads a month. Some people aren't that lucky. At one point Comcast had capped their service at a very generous 250GB of data. I managed to exceed it 2 months in a row. Some providers (mostly out of the USA) charge by usage similar to cellphone plans. Even with my already excessive phone plan (15GB /month) and rollover data. if I we're to download todays new Batman Arkham Knight game. AT&T would charge me about $130 assuming I hadn't actually used any data the previous month.

So cool, you can easily avoid those overages by "simply buying the game on disc" Unfortunately this is only kind of true. Due to disc size limitations some games like Halo Master Chief Collection install a full jam packed disc then still require a 20GB patch. That is prior to the addition of ODST to the collection at another 8.1GB. Or what about the case of Sniper Elite 3. A game that on disc was about 14GB and required that you download a 16GB day one patch. the final install size still clocks in 23.1 GB and that is now after additional patches. It really makes me wonder what was even on that disc in the first place.

Unfortunately these are aspects of this gaming generation that seemingly can't be avoided. And I can only assume in the next iteration we will all just stream our whole experience from the cloud and only "own" a license key. The infrastructure just isn't in place for that at this point and it still feel way to "futurey" Plus, people already threw a fit when Microsoft tried to step closer to that this generation. They are still trying to recover from what dumb people called a blunder. I still think the blunder was in back tracking.  Either way I really hope that disc space and bandwidth don't eventually limit my decisions to buy games I would have liked to try other wise but couldn't because there just wasn't room for them in my life or hard drive.


  1. I consider myself, this generation at least to be much closer to the average gamer and it's not enough HD slave for me either

  2. I have a 3TB currently at 60%:filled. I like to think I am above average gamer when it comes to games owned. I am also thinking of future proofing by buying yet another external. I'm kicking around the idea of getting that Forza6 console.