In the early 80s the 8-bit demo scene manage to thrive with pedestrian transfers of 75 characters per second. By 2002 in the heyday of Kazaa, users still on dial-up were pondering whether an awful 28mb cam rip of 28 Days Later would be worth the herculean effort.
These days, some users are still happily gobbling up 700mb YIFY movie rips but for others bandwidth has become so plentiful that only multi-gig Blu-ray releases will suffice. However, there is a point at which even the swarthiest of pirates begin to complain.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is the long-awaited re-imagining of the cult classic game of the same name and as expected upon its release last week it quickly turned up on torrent sites. However, its huge size had some potential downloaders wondering whether to bother or not.
“43GB? holy fuck,” exclaimed Pirate Bay user sealtmx2.
“I have to uninstall like 10 games to play this shit!!” added ucci4life.
Reports suggest that the massive file size is due to uncompressed graphics textures but it comes as no surprise that some believe that annoying downloaders was in the developers’ minds. Bethesda had deliberately padded out the game with junk as a clever anti-piracy deterrent, some concluded.
While extremely unlikely, for some the big download was simply too much.
“43GB, the hell? No thanks, guess I will buy this when the price drops to £29.99,” said user u2konline.
The impatience in torrent sites comments sections was interesting to behold, with several downloaders reporting the abandoning of the download in favor of paying for the game instead. For them, waiting two or three days (according to times estimated by their torrent client at the time) was simply too much.
“I was gonna get this torrent but I saw the size and how long it would take me to download it, I said fuck it I’m getting it from Steam,” said user Caxtilteca. “Took me 2 hours to download 40GB including the day one update.”
Part of the problem, especially when the torrents were fresh, is that due to the time to completion there were a tiny amount of seeders (users with the whole game) compared to leechers (those still downloading). The effect of that was highlighted by speed157.
“38 hours later I finally finish my download and have uploaded 122.15 GB,” he wrote.
But while the huge download clearly deterred some, it appears to have had no serious effect on the number of downloaders overall. Although its size clearly had something to do with it, Wolfenstein: The New Order had the largest torrent swarms of any game last week and by the weekend more than 100,000 pirates had endured the wait to grab themselves a copy.
Reports on exactly how long people had to wait varied, from a few hours to a few days. However, it’s still interesting to see how that desire for content right here and right now led some to the doors of Steam or retailers when they became more convenient than the pirate option. For once and for a few, the boot seemed to have switched to the other foot.