Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's 213GB storage hogging is because of 'open world Zombies' but don't panic it can be reduced

modern warfare 3
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

A complete install of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with the full "high-rez assets cache" shizzle comes to a slightly silly 213GB.  According to the game's official Twitter / X / whatever account that's because "zombies" and some other stuff. But don't panic, you can "uninstall specific content you are not actively playing".

More specifically, it's conceded that files sizes for this version of Call of Duty are larger than before. The reason?

"This is due to the increased amount of content available Day 1, including open world Zombies, support for item carry forward from #MW2, as well as map files for current Call of Duty: Warzone."

So there you go. Open world zombies are particularly storage intensive. Well, that and carry-forward maps and stuff. Slightly confusingly, the post also claims, "as part of our ongoing optimization efforts, your final installation size will be actually smaller than the combined previous Call of Duty experiences." 

That implies that there is ongoing work on reducing the overall installation size of Modern Warfare 3. Of course, the headline 213GB was always a worst case scenario.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

(Image credit: Activision)

In practice, few existing CoD gamers will have to give over that much space to the new title. But there's also little doubting that game install sizes continue to balloon.

Peak Storage

SATA, NVMe M.2, and PCIe SSDs on blue background

(Image credit: Future)

Best SSD for gaming: The best speedy storage today.
Best NVMe SSD: Compact M.2 drives.
Best external hard drives: Huge capacities for less.
Best external SSDs: Plug-in storage upgrades.

As we said before, SSD prices have fallen dramatically, with 2TB models on our deals page falling under $100. That sounds impressive, but in a world where a single game can suck up hundreds of GB a pop, even 2TB doesn't allow for a particularly big game library. And with SSD chip makers starting to increase costs, the storage good times may not last too much longer.

The retort might be that gamers tend to focus on only a few titles at a time. So, who needs hundreds of games installed at the same time?

If the actual number of games anyone wants to have installed at one time is a pretty personal thing, there also has to be a point at which game install sizes get silly. And if it's not 213GB, we'd like to know what it is.

It'll be interesting to see exactly how much space Modern Warfare 3 sucks up when it launches in exactly one week's time. Likewise, we'll keep our scanners peeled to see if that figure reduces over time. Watch this space.

Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.