Xbox Game Pass Needs To Curb This Annoying Call Of Duty Trend

Call Of Duty’s absurd file size is the antithesis of Xbox’s entire Game Pass strategy.

Alarm bells for the Call Of Duty fandom rang after the Xbox Store page for Black Ops 6 reported the game would hog at least 310 GB of player’s precious hard drive space. While this isn’t the final size of the game on launch day, it does bring attention a series trend that Microsoft needs to address ahead of the series' big debut on their subscription series.

Following Xbox’s surprisingly captivating showcase for Black Ops 6 on Sunday, eagle-eyed players noticed the reported file size. Players were outraged by the 310 GB file size listed on the store, so much so that Activision and Treyarch addressed players’ concerns directly, clarifying that the figure was an incorrect placeholder.

“The sizes as shown include the full installations of Modern Warfare II, Modern Warfare III, Warzone and all relevant content packs, including all localized languages combined which is not representative of a typical player install experience,” a tweet from the Call Of Duty Updates X (formerly Twitter) account read on Monday. “Players will be able to download Black Ops 6 at launch without downloading any other Call of Duty titles or all of the language packs.”

The tweet provided some much-needed clarity on what’s required to play the highly anticipated game. But players were especially sensitive to the error because it was an entirely believable development.

Over the last five years, Call Of Duty games have become absurdly large. In 2019, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare was a beefy 175 GB to partake in all of the game’s modes, including Warzone, its six-hour campaign, and traditional multiplayer modes. 2020’s ‘Black Ops’ was a startling 136 GB. 2023’s Modern Warfare 3 was a smooth 240 GB, despite it being largely the same game as Modern Warfare 2.

And in the era where most players download their games, Call Of Duty has become a gratuitous burden for those who play multiple games throughout the calendar year. What’s more infuriating is that a good chunk of these huge installs is due to Call Of Duty HQ, the 50 GB dedicated launcher required to get into different Call Of Duty experiences that have already been downloaded. It’s as foolish as it is discourteous when you consider that most current-gen consoles give players less than a terabyte to work with.

Call Of Duty’s increasingly absurb file sizes have made downloading the game a commitment.


To put things into perspective, players who purchased an Xbox Series X had to clear a quarter of their hard drive space to play Modern Warfare 3 last year. God help you if you have a bandwidth cap. With Call Of Duty now under Microsoft’s purview, the tech giant needs to reign in the franchise’s tactless obsession with monopolizing players’ hard drives, not only for the good of players but for their own long-term business model.

From the moment Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard, it was clear that Call Of Duty on Game Pass was a sure-shot way to stir public interest in the fledging subscription service. As industry analyst Joost van Dreunen told Inverse last month, getting millions of players to buy into Game Pass with Black Ops 6 could convince a meaningful portion of them to stick with the service for all its benefits. Namely, gaining access to hundreds of games that are there to try without any limits.

If Black Ops 6 is meant to be the big push for Game Pass, Call Of Duty’s absurd file size is the antithesis of Xbox’s entire strategy this fall.

Modern Warfare 3 released at an astonishing 200 GB when it launched last November.


Game Pass works best when players discover games they wouldn’t have played otherwise. Jumping into Geometric Interactive’s excellent 2023 game Cacoon is an easy lift when trying it out is a 3 GB investment. If it’s not for you, jumping back into the dashboard and downloading another game, like the adorable Little Kittle, Big City, is a quick 1.6 GB download. Even older big-budget titles, like typically tap out at 50 GB, a fraction of the size of the modern Call Of Duty titles. It’ll be tough to try these out if the new ‘Black Ops 6’ is hogging up all the space on your console.

Manageable downloads are an understated factor in taking advantage of Game Pass’ “try it out” mantra the service enforces. If Game Pass’ shiny, new main attraction is anywhere near the same size as last year’s Call Of Duty, it’s an easy way to ensure these new subscribers don’t engage with the plethora of other games available on the service. If Xbox doesn’t address this obtuse trend, they run the risk of spoiling the full potential of what Call Of Duty can do for Game Pass’ stagnant subscription numbers.

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