There's been a lot of next generation talk over these past few months, first with Sony revealing hardware details for its upcoming PlayStation 5. Microsoft then followed suit earlier this month by officially revealing limited news on its own take on next gen with Project Scarlett. While both companies remain selective on the details given out to the public, fans have continued to dig for new information including what appears to be Sony's solution to a longstanding tradition in games.
According to a continuation patent filed by Sony with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the company described how it plans to eliminate loading screens and transitions for the next console generation. The idea is that a future gaming system like the PlayStation 5 would split game environments into different segments which would then free up the system to enable smooth loading transitions. A visual representation shows a game split into multiple pieces, so that when the player enters into one of them, the rest are loaded automatically in the background in preparation of the player moving into another area.
A system and method are disclosed for dynamically loading game software for smooth game play. A load boundary associated with a game environment is identified. A position of a character in the game environment is then monitored. Instructions corresponding to a next game environment are loaded into a memory when the character crosses the load boundary, such that game play is not interrupted.
As games continue to get bigger and more complex, solving the loading screen issue has quickly become more and more important. Certain developers have attempted to minimize or eliminate loading screens altogether, typically employing creative solutions to get the job done. Sony's own God of War, which arrived on the PS4 last year, is able to achieve this using a number of different techniques and a visual design the Sony Santa Monica team calls the Single-Shot Effect. In an effort to offer a completely immersive experience, God of War is devoid of cuts, with seamless transitions between cinematics and gameplay, as well as no loading screens.
Whether or not this feature is included in the PS5, it appears that Sony is aiming to set a new bar for console hardware. In fact, rumors have begun circulating that the PS5 is poised to be more powerful than Microsoft's Project Scarlett. As Mark Cerny revealed earlier this year, the PS5 is coming packed with GDDR6 RAM, which has already significantly cut down on loading times. Cerny showed the PS4 version of Marvel's Spider-Man loading 15 times faster when running on a PS5 dev kit, promising that either way, PS5 players won't have to spend much of their time staring at loading screens.
Source: US Patent Office