I realized that I’m a believer in a conspiracy theory… You’d think that after all the readings I’ve done, the analysis of what makes them tick, and the dismissive attitude I wrote about them with that it would be hard for me to be a conspiracy theorist. At least I thought that about myself. But alas, I too am a theorist. BUT, I would like to say that the theory I believe in isn’t nearly as harmful as some of the more prevalent theories around right now. It has to do a lot with something I enjoy and something I’m actually going to USC for. I’m a video game conspiracy theorist.
It all started with the release of Call of Duty: Warzone. The game was free to play, and while it had been a while since I bought a Call of Duty (CoD) game, they always were some fun, so what was the harm in playing one for free. Friends started to play as well, and this game was really fun in a group. There was just a slight issue; the game was about 100gbs in size. For reference, most of the comparable games to CoD at the time were about 60~80gbs. So some of my friends who played on a Playstation 4 at the time had to remove games from their console to play with the rest of the gang, I played on a computer so my hard drive was always gonna have enough space. At least that’s what I thought. But we figured the large download size was because the map was significantly bigger and more detailed than other battle royale style games, so we didn’t think that much about it. Fast forward to almost a year after release and Warzone is now over 300gbs in size.
Most of my friends on consoles have had to either buy external drives just for Warzone or delete almost all the other games off of their system. Even I have had to start clearing out storage to make room for updates. We’d always make jokes about how Activision’s business strategy was to stop you from playing other games by making Warzone bigger and bigger, but now that Warzone can’t even fit on a base edition Playstation 4, I’m not so sure that it’s a joke anymore. This is the conspiracy that I’m a believer in.
There’s so many things about the file size that trigger red flags for me, something has to be happening, cause there’s no way this is unintentional. And it’s not that the devs don’t hear it, searching for CoD on twitter 9/10 times gets you someone complaining about the file size. Other comparable games are no where nearly as large in file size as Warzone. Obviously cause Warzone is a “bigger” game than it’s competitors, it’s file size would be bigger, but not this big. To put it into perspective, Fortnite and Apex are Warzone’s two biggest competitors and they’re ~26gb and ~55gb respectively. That makes Warzone about six times larger than it’s closest competitor.
Anyways, realizing that I’m a conspiracy theorist has actually been a lot more enlightening than any of the readings I’ve done because I got a much better idea about the whole conspiracy thing when I analyzed my own thoughts. While I haven’t analyzed enough to know whether or not I’m participating in a degenerative research program, I definitely am falling victim to the human attribution error; someone is responsible, it can’t be a coincidence. And I think part of this is because I’m actually working on video games as a career, Activision is a big money studio so obviously only the best that money could hire would be working there. But maybe it’s just Hanlon’s razor in action, maybe the devs are just bad at compression or forgetting to wipe update files, maybe I’m overestimating their abilities cause of my own experience. But one thing is for sure, I bought Warzone it’s own hard drive cause I was tired of deleting games.