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WTF?! Games often leave large amounts of data off of the disc, forcing disappointed users into unwanted downloads. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II may represent a new extreme for the practice, at least for console games.
A Twitter account cataloging the on-disc contents of retail games has revealed that the PlayStation 5 disc for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II contains only 70MB of data. To make things worse, the game – launching this week – requires a 150GB download. The same is likely true on Xbox.
Users have often complained about needing to download massive day-one patches that keep them from enjoying a new game as soon as they insert the disc into their console. Modern Warfare II takes things a step further, requiring customers to download the entire game even if they bought a physical copy, and it's a huge download at that.
The game's predecessor – 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – also suffered notorious download sizes and storage requirements. However, that title had the excuse of being attached at the hip to Call of Duty: Warzone, which isn't the case for the sequel. The only silver lining is that Modern Warfare II lets players save space by independently installing or uninstalling the campaign, co-op, and Spec Ops modes.
70mb … pic.twitter.com/NkgamI1VIs— Does it play? (@DoesItPlay1) October 26, 2022
These days, many big titles require significant downloads, prioritizing digital distribution over retail discs. Despite the spread of high-speed Internet, the trend is still a problem for many users with slow connections or data caps. Many might not be able to play Modern Warfare II on day one.
Shipping a disc with only a tiny portion of a game is a new step for console releases, but not for PC. Digital has reigned supreme on PC for years, as most computers don't even ship with optical disc drives anymore. Because PC Blu-ray drives never caught on, some publishers gradually transitioned from shipping games on several DVDs to offering boxes or cards containing download codes.
For a mid-transition example, Bethesda shipped some PC games like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and 2017's Prey on a single DVD containing a few gigs as the rest would download over Steam. An old example similar to Modern Warfare II was the PC retail disc for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which contained only a Steam installer.
A large number of console users still depend on physical copies, however. Since Modern Warfare II discs are essentially empty, they only serve as ownership licenses users can still rent, trade, sell, or borrow.
In other bad news for Modern Warfare II's offline experience, the offline multiplayer mode only contains three maps and one mode – Team Deathmatch. Recent entries in the series included much more offline multiplayer content. Luckily the franchise continues to support split-screen.
Additionally, Infinity Ward warned users against changing their device's region to New Zealand to start playing the game before it officially launches where they actually live. Using the trick could lock players out of the game until their local street date.