Last week, Sony showed the PlayStation 5 console for the first time at the long-awaited press event. The console has a modern look and features a solid state drive as the internal storage solution, similar to the Xbox Series X. It is clear that this tehnology is the core of the next generation of consoles and makes the next generation of consoles possible.
Every generation of consoles delivers better performance and increases the processing power of the processor and graphics card. This generation also changes the storage medium inside the consoles to enable a better and true next generation game experience.
Solid state drives
The current generation of consoles uses traditional hard drives as the storage solution to install games and locate files. In recent years, you notice the internal hard drives of computer systems being replaced by solid state drives with much higher read and write speeds.
The next generation of consoles will also use the same technology to deliver a next generation gameplay experience. For developers, this technology offers a range of new possibilities in game design the current generation of consoles has not been able to deliver seen to the slower hard disc drive.
Most game engines are designed to make use of traditional hard disks, seen the current console generation of consoles and the more low-end computer systems do not have NVMe SSDs. The next generation of consoles makes it possible to develop or optimise game engines for faster storage media.
Due to the higher reading speeds, data can be used more efficient and the loading times in games can be further reduced. However, it should not end there.
Faster data streaming
The bottleneck created by the hard disk will disappear in the next generation of consoles. In reality this means that the next generation of consoles with optimised game engines can take full advantage of the internal NVMe SSD in all circumstances. In theory, this makes a seamless gameplay experience possible.
In the demo of Ratchet and Clank – Rift Apart, shown at the PlayStation 5 reveal, Sony showed the impact of solid state drives in the next generation of consoles on the gameplay experience for the first time. The faster access to game data and the added processing power, means the game engine can stream data faster to load resources and details.
In the gameplay, you can see Rachet and Clank travel through portals to other dimensions or worlds in seconds without noticeable loading screens. In the current generation of consoles with hard disc drives, these changes would result in a loading screen.
Different gameplay experience
The bottleneck created by the hard disc drive inside the system will become obvious in cross generation gameplay experiences. The slower storage media from the current generation of consoles cannot deliver the required data on time for the game engine to process the information.
This situation is not ideal and may result in framedrops, delays or stutters. The processor and graphics card may be able to process the information with a few tweaks, but the storage solution is too slow to handle the requests. Maybe it is time for hard disc drives to be retired.
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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from the PlayStation 5, a console developed and produced by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.