A big game will soon be getting a little bit smaller, at least in terms of file size. Earlier this week, Digital Extremes announced that it will be shrinking Warframe’s file size in an upcoming update.
According to an official Digital Extremes post on the game’s forums, players can expect to save about 6.6 GB of space sometime in the near future, with a goal of up to 15 GB sometime after that. The only downside is that the initial patch download will require players to have about 6.5 GB of extra space to start with.
The reason this extra space is needed comes down to how Digital Extremes is shrinking things. Apparently the process involves some newly remastered textures that are roughly half the size of their original counterparts with negligible visual differences. While this isn’t the only method that Digital Extremes is using to decrease the game’s file size, it is one that the developer thinks will have a large impact.
In the grand scheme of PC gaming file sizes, Warframe isn’t even near the top of the list of worst offenders. Digital Extremes’ game takes up somewhere around 42 GB for most people, while games like Fortnite take up around 130 GB, and Modern Warfare takes up nearly 200GB.
While getting the file size of a game down is certainly a nice quality-of-life gesture for players — and a way to make sure your game stays installed — it has more practical benefits as well. Solid state drives and NVMe drives are slowly gaining popularity with mainstream PC players, but they’re still pretty expensive, which means most consumer’s capacity is still pretty limited. These drives are significantly faster than standard hard drives, which means that things like loading and texture streaming in games is much quicker and easier, freeing up developers to be a little bit more creative with how they use resources and how they hide loading.
In fact, the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S will all come standard with extremely fast NVMe drives and both Sony and Microsoft have made it an important selling point on their consoles’ power. Unfortunately, with that valuable real estate more limited on PC, games have to compete for the right to be installed on smaller, faster hard drives, and Digital Extremes shaving 15 GBs off of Warframe’s file size should help its case.
According to the Digital Extremes post, these space-saving Warframe updates will be handled over the course of three patches for the game that are scheduled to go out throughout the rest of 2020. The post also mentions that other platforms will likely have similar improvements, but the focus of the post is mostly on the specific numbers for the PC version.