There’s nothing more exciting for an avid gamer than coming home to finally play a brand spanking new Xbox One titles like Elden Ring or Dying Light 2.
There’s also nothing more annoying than waiting for updates and data installs instead of getting right into that new game.
If you’ve just put a disc from a brand new released game, you’ll likely be asking why it needs to download or install updates at all.
Why Do Xbox One Games Take So Long To Install?
Xbox One games may take a long time to install because the disc often installs a portion of the game onto your Xbox One console’s hard drive. Doing this speeds up load times during gameplay. Your game may also just need to do a large update.
The game development industry is a lot of hard work by a lot of people.
Even in the largest of studios, software engineers, artists, writers, designers, and nearly everyone on the team works overtime.
It’s no surprise as tech companies are notorious for abusing internships to get around massive workloads.
As such, games can be released just before development teams can get in a last-minute batch of fixes into the release deployment.
To solve this problem, developers create a solid deployment point with their games and release a day one update to fix any issues resolved after that.
Day one updates are not normally large files and don’t usually take too long to download.
When you combine the disc install time with the download time for updates, it can start to add up quickly.
Can I Speed Up Xbox Game Install Times?
There are ways to improve your Xbox One game install times.
Part of the long install times for game purchases through the Xbox Store is the time it takes to download the game files.
This will vary depending on the file size of the game you choose to download.
For instance, one of the largest games to date is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with a file size of 200 GB. That is hefty file size.
The average internet speed of the US is around 100 Mbps or megabits per second.
It takes eight bits to make a byte.
That means the average US internet user can download around 12.5 megabytes per second.
Since a gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes, CoD’s 200GB file size takes around an average of four and a half hours to download.
If you want to install games with larger file sizes faster, the best thing you can do is secure a faster internet connection.
Check with your service provider to learn about different service speeds and pricing.
Most ISPs offer up to a gigabit service with download speeds of 1 GB/s in areas with the connections available.
Gigabit services can lower the download speed of that 200 GB file from four and a half hours to around five minutes.
It’s more than a noticeable improvement. It’s the difference between playing nearly immediately or playing tomorrow.
Other than upping your internet service, you can also replace the internal hard drive of your Xbox One with a solid-state drive.
Part of the install process requires that your files be written to the console’s internal hard drive.
A standard hard disk drive isn’t terrible, but a solid-state drive can be up to 100 times faster.
A bonus to installing an SSD is that your in-game loading times may also be reduced.
When a game is installed on your console’s storage drive, it has to load all the assets and information about that game and keep it in your console’s RAM.
Then as you play, it has to reload assets from the storage drive to the RAM to keep up.
The faster your storage drive can read the data, the faster it will transfer and load.
With both a gigabit service and an SSD like in the Xbox Series X, you can have your games downloaded, installed, and playing in a few minutes or less.
The downside is the price.
Gigabit service is usually among the highest monthly cost programs ISPs provide.
SSDs are coming down in price, but you’ll want to have a terabyte or higher to keep up with your digital library.
A compatible 1 TB SSD costs between $90 and $150.
Is It Faster To Install Digital Games or Disk Games?
It depends on the game. There are some games with a file size so massive that it almost feels like there isn’t a difference.
Some games only use the disc as a way to verify purchase and initiate the download.
For games that play off of the disc, it is significantly faster to install the game to the storage drive from a disc than from the internet.
This is because the disc reader has access to all the information it needs.
It can read and directly write to the drive without dependence on your internet service.
Even with a gigabit-speed connection, your Xbox will still need to download the game before it begins to install.
This gives disc installs a head start of a few minutes.
Here’s the forgotten logistics: There’s more to the purchase of a physical disc.
You have to first go to a place that sells games on disc.
That already adds time when compared to a digital purchase.
If you live more than five minutes away from the closest Game Stop or big retailer, a gigabit internet service will net you the game a lot faster.
Close to instant gratification.
On the other hand, older games on physical discs can be found for a discount at select locations.
Most places price used games in relation to popularity and the base price of a new game.
The Xbox Store has sales all the time as well.
In some cases, digital sales can lead to the cheapest prices you can find.
Online sales aren’t based on age or popularity.
In some cases, digital copies of games never decrease in price.
Another important thing to note is that even once you have a physical disc in hand, most games still require an update to be downloaded to play the full game or use online services.
Overall, the time cut by purchasing a game online makes up for the time it takes to travel to a physical location and purchase a disc.
With a fast enough internet connection, you can go from thinking about buying a game to playing that game in ten minutes from the comfort of your home.
Technically, a physical disc installs to the console faster once you have it, but the time to get obtain it makes the difference.
I would recommend buying physical when you can.
A physical library of discs isn’t as permanent as your digital library, but it is more valuable.
You can get hours of gameplay out of your favorite games and a physical decoration to stack into your collection.
When times get tough, those physical discs are also a small store of extra cash.
If you’re only concern is speed, then by all means go digital.
Build up that library of games. As long as you have your account, you’ll have your games.