So we officially learned a lot about the PlayStation 5 today. Most of it was stuff people had already figured, like its holiday 2020 release window and the fact that it’s going to be called “PlayStation 5.” Yet amid that, something new and pretty remarkable came out. Another look at the PS5 has revealed that the next-gen console will approach one of the most mundane parts of the gaming experience, installing a game, in a truly next-gen fashion.
It’s been known for a while now that the PlayStation 5 will come with a high-performance SSD, or solid-state drive, in place of the usual disc-based hard-drive. This has excited gamers and developers alike, as SSDs not only perform faster than hard-drives but more efficiently too, meaning the PS5 will be able to drastically reduce load times while opening up more memory space for gamemakers to utilize.
However, that won’t be all that the SSD will do. Wired got to talk with Sony and take an exclusive look at the console recently, and according to the publication, the efficiency with which the SSD handles data will give PS5 owners access to a “more configurable installation” process. As system architect Mark Cerny put it, “Rather than treating games like a big block of data, we're allowing finer-grained access to the data.”
In a nutshell, this means users will be able to download the different parts of a game separately depending on what they want to access the most, as opposed to having to wait for the whole game to download first. So if users want to hop directly into the multiplayer for, say, whatever Call of Duty game comes out in 2020, they can install the entire multiplayer portion first and save installing the single-player campaign for later. Or they can install the whole game and then delete just the campaign once they’ve beaten it, leaving only the multiplayer to take up space in the system’s memory.
For comparison, the current-gen PlayStation 4 does allow for users to start playing a game before it’s finished fully installing, but the process typically goes in a linear fashion, with offline portions like single-player campaigns installing before online-based features. And even then, not all of the offline stuff will be playable at that point. Sooner or later, one has to finish installing everything before continuing.
This might not be the most exciting of the PS5’s new features, but with its modular approach to game installation, it will be possible for players to skirt around this issue and more quickly get to the content they are most interested in. But more than that, it will enable them to have more control over how they manage their data and make it so only the parts of games they want to keep take up memory space. For those who will end up downloading several games, this will likely be very helpful.
The PlayStation 5 will be released sometime during the 2020 holiday season.