Xbox Series X install sizes will be saved by dedicated decompression hardware

May 7, 2020
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Games are huge now. With major AAA games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and more coming in at over 100gb a piece, a curious part of the next-gen question is how colossal Xbox Series X install sizes will be handled. 

Thankfully, massive Xbox Series X install sizes is something Microsoft has been preparing for.

In an interview with GameSpot, Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald explained that the upcoming next-gen console will include dedicated hardware-based compression technology to help alleviate huge file sizes.

“[Our compression] allows games to consume as little space as possible on the SSD while eliminating all CPU overhead typically associated with run-time decompression,” Ronald said. “This includes BCPack, which is designed specifically for compressing texture data that often is one of the largest contributors to overall game size… to help compress the actual size of the assets.”

Much like Xbox’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the next-gen Xbox console will allow players to select gameplay components that they wish to install instead of clogging up SSD space with twenty unused languages, unplayed multiplayer components and more. However, this is on a game-by-game basis.

“Developers can also take advantage of a platform feature to only install the pieces of the game players need, thereby minimizing the amount of content that needs to be installed or downloaded to the SSD. We’re providing a lot of tools to help them be more efficient,” Ronald continued. “If you’re on an English console, [you shouldn’t] be taking space for French or Spanish audio files, things like that.”

“Ultimately there is no silver bullet… We don’t want to arbitrarily constrain our developers in the worlds that they want to create, but at the same time too gamers make it very clear, they don’t want to download 300GB games.”

With next-gen games requiring much faster internal storage to run, Xbox Series X will be doing away with traditional mechanical hard drives in favour of Solid State Storage. While you can keep current-gen games on an external hard drive, Xbox Series X games will have to be played from either the system’s internal SSD or proprietary SSD memory cards.

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