Digital Games and the Woes of a Small Hard Drive

I love digital games. I have a Steam library of 162 games, a Xbox Live library of over 80 and a PSN library of over 40. However, one problem that has been a nagging issue for a long time now is the lack of hard drive space for said games.

First it was my PC. I lacked the space to hold all of my games so I got a 500 GB external hard drive. As my library grew, as well as my other media, I bought another 2 TB external hard drive. Flash forward to a few months ago and after both hard drives failed, I now own one 3 TB internal hard drive.

Switching over to my Xbox 360, I had a 20 GB hard drive on my first 360. I ran out of space soon. I then got a 120 GB hard drive that seemed to be too much space. When I got another 360 after selling it due to financial hardship, I got a 60 GB which by then proved to be not enough. Finally, I have my current 250 GB which is doing me fine right now but has reached the 100 GB left mark.

Which brings us to my PlayStation 3. I didn't download anything for it before when I had one early in it's lifespan so it wasn't a problem. However, having bought one only two months ago, my 250 GB hard drive has already filled up and I'm having to decided which games to keep and which one's not to. I'll admit, this is mostly PlayStation Plus' fault. It was hard deleting XCOM Enemy Unknown and Vanquish, as well as some install data for some of my retail games but I got Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row The Third and Battlefield 3 in return.

Now I know the solution to my PS3 problem is to get a bigger hard drive and I plan to do so. A 500 GB laptop hard drive is around 60-70 on Amazon and that should suffice for some time. However, as you can see, I've bought many a hard drive and quite frankly, it gets quite expensive. I have to wonder why console manufacturors like Microsoft and Sony don't at least give us the option to buy a console with enough storage. I'm aware that not everyone is going to want a 1 TB console but the option would be appreciated.

Another solution I've heard is some people don't even bother installing games onto their hard drive until they know they're going to play it. However, I like the convienience of being able to just select the game from the menu whenever I feel like it and playing it without having to wait for it to install. Isn't that part of the appeal of digital games? To not have to get up to put in a disc?

What do you guys think? Do you have the same woes about digital games and hard drive space? Do you even bother with digital games?

9 Comments Refresh
Posted by schreiberty

I know how you feel, my pc only has a 300 gb hard drive and i constantly have to delete stuff. I know i should get another hard drive but i always feel like it would be a waste because whenever i do need to delete something, i never feel to bad about doing it, as its usually something i havent played in ages.

On the other hand my 60 gb xbox hard drive was never over 3/4 full, biggest thing on there was fallout3/NV dlc.

Posted by Colorwind

@schreiberty: do you ever install games? Download XBLA or On Demand games?

Edited by alanm26v5

I had a 360 with a 20GB hard drive, which quickly became a problem even with just XBLA stuff. This led me to getting a a 320GB PS3 when I sold my 360 and switched consoles, but also I had this paranoia about filling it up too that I never buy anything digitally ehen given an option (and I don't have PS+). My PC has a 1TB HD and 120GB SSD, and I'm finally to the point after this summer sale where I don't think I can have everything installed at once, and that's starting to bother me.

Posted by schreiberty

@colorwind: the only xbla games i have gotten are either small or single player games like fez or bastion that i delete after finishing. I actually did get saints row 2 on demand and that took up a good chunk of my hard drive for a while.

Posted by Colorwind

@alanm26v5: I understand that feeling. I was going to buy Dead Space digitally on the PS3 but I don't have the space for it.

Edited by Belegorm

My laptop only has 300 GB and it gets to be a problem sometimes; but the thing about steam is that you can always re-download games, and normally when you uninstall a game it doesn't delete your save.

So while I have more than 100 steam games, I only have the like 10 favourites installed at one time.

Edited by Winsord

@colorwind said:

@alanm26v5: I understand that feeling. I was going to buy Dead Space digitally on the PS3 but I don't have the space for it.

The worst part with the PS3 downloads is that you need to have double the space of the file in order to install it. I've got a launch 60GB PS3 that I refuse to upgrade the HDD for as we're so close to the next generation, but it's constantly an issue. Any time a game needs to install or I have an interest in any downloadable games, space becomes and immediate and apparent issue. I'm going to be unhappy in September when I have to wipe a bunch of stuff out that I'd rather keep, just in order to play GTA V.

I'm definitely worried about the next generation of consoles having hard drives that are too small for me over time. Hopefully Sony's sticking with the laptop harddrive system they've got now and I can just drop something bigger than the 500GB included drive in when I've got the chance.

Posted by MildMolasses

@winsord: Downloading BF3 was a nightmare because of the space requirements. I had to delete almost everything off of my 40 gb drive. And because of the way it worked, I couldn't dl BF3 while I had Demon's Souls installed, but I was able to dl Demon's Souls while I had BF3 installed. This shouldn't be an issue with the larger hard drive sizes, and I realize that I'm using my PS3 in a way that they never really intended when designing them, but that doesn't make it any less annoying

Edited by Subject2Change

I never understood the need to have everything installed at one time. If you have a good internet connection you can download a full game from steam in minutes. During the steam sale I decided to pick up 400 Days, The Walking Dead DLC and figured it would take a bit to reinstall TWD. It took less than a few minutes due to the 10mb/s download speed I was getting. This was during peak hours and during the sale...

Hard Drives are not that expensive. Stop complaining that your large collection doesn't fit on a hard drive, when you have a large collection of anything you need to provide appropriate storage for them. Say you collect Baseball Cards or Stamps, it's not the Cards or Stamps fault you are out of space in your binder or are the one purchasing more and more. Also stop buying external drives, pick up Internal Drives and use a Dock to mount them. You also shouldn't be playing games from an external anyway.

1TB laptop drives are fairly new, Sony has been good at allowing you to swap in your own drive and giving some of the largest drives on the market at the time of their consoles release and re-releases. Yes 20/60/80 are all small now, but 6-7 years ago it was the norm, I've been meaning to replace the 80GB Drive in my PS3 for some time now. Finally we are at an age where going fully digital for your console needs is viable. I am all for that. I will totally pick up physical copies of most games, but sales or wanting to preload things will be nice.