Quick Facts

  • Considering the top downloaded games of 2020, the average major release took over 90 minutes to download at 92 Mbps.
  • Top games of 2020 had an average download size of about 75GB.
  • File sizes and download speeds vary by location, a massive hit such as Call of Duty could take as many as five hours to download with a fairly average connection.
  • Games with smaller file sizes like Hades, Among Us and first-party Nintendo titles can be ready to play in less than 30 minutes.

Lifelong gamers understand the bittersweet feeling of anticipation that comes with waiting for a game to release that you’ve been excited about playing for months or even years. When it finally arrives, in this day and age of digital-everything, more gamers are likely to download the new game over their home broadband internet connection. But with today’s game file sizes reaching 100GB and beyond, that gamer anticipation sometimes gets a punch in the gut when your PC or console informs you that your game is now over four hours away from being playable.

As data-nerds, we wanted to take a look at just how long it takes to download a game in 2021. We wanted to get a representative slice of the games people were downloading last year so we gathered a list of the top downloaded games on STEAM and used Ars Technica and Metacritic to narrow it down. Here’s a look at some of the top games we looked at to arrive at our average:

Download Times & File Sizes for Some of 2020’s Top Downloaded Games

Game TitleEst. File SizeAvg. Download Time @ 92Mbps*
Call of Duty: Warzone170GB264 mins.
Hades15GB23 mins.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light70GB108 mins.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla45GB70 mins.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake90GB140 mins.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons6.2GB10 mins.
CyberPunk 207770GB108 mins.
Among Us250GB22 secs.
Doom: Eternal40.2GB62 mins.
The Last of Us II78GB121 mins.
Microsoft Flight Simulator150GB233 mins.
Half-Life: Alyx48GB74 mins.
Paper Mario: Origami King6.4GB10 mins.
FIFA: 202150GB77 mins.
Ghost of Tsushima50GB77 mins.
Averages~75GB~91 min.
*Average Fixed Broadband Speed, Global

Game File Sizes and Your Internet Speed Vary Greatly

If you’re looking to download a less-graphically intense game such as Among Us (0.25GB), we’re pleased to inform you that it won’t take any time at all (under 20 seconds!) on nearly any internet connection you might have in 2021. But if you’re dreaming of soaring through the clouds in the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator (150GB), you might want to plan on downloading that bad boy overnight as almost four full hours of home-network-bandwidth-hogging downloading are in store for you.

Internet speeds vary across the U.S. and the world. In Singapore or Denmark, you can cut the download times we listed in half. There’s also a U.S. rural/urban internet divide worth noting, and if you are in an under-served area, your internet speed might cause the above download times to double. If you’re looking to download any sort of hyper-realistic, graphically-intense masterpiece from the past couple of years, expect to set aside at least 50-75GB of hard drive space and 90 minutes to two hours of downloading time.

Consider Your Provider’s Data Caps

As home bandwidth needs increase each year, internet providers are adding limits or caps to the amount of data you can use each month on your plan. Comcast, for example, is implementing a 1.2TB cap on most users this year. So consider that downloading (or re-downloading for whatever reason) two larger games at 100GB/mo. would constitute nearly 17% of all the bandwidth you can use that month without incurring additional charges. Note that Comcast, in this example, has said that 95% of users do not hit this 1.2TB limit.

Consider Pre-Downloading Your Game

One neat trick that most modern gaming platforms have implemented is called “pre-loading” a new release. Games have release dates like movies where fans wait for the stroke of midnight to download and play their favorites as soon as it’s possible. Some games, though, allow users to download the bulk of the files necessary to play the game a week, or even a month, before the actual release date. Then, on release day, you’ll often have to download one last smaller patch to unlock the game. This is a great option to avoid some of the gamer-pain mentioned above.

If you're looking to get into some hardcore gaming this year, consider checking out internet providers in your area to make sure you are getting the fastest connection available.

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