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Load times have been one of the biggest problems with consoles, but the Xbox Series X and PS5 will join the PC in embracing solid-state drive tech. In the case of the latter, Sony says that thanks to the use of PCIe 4.0, its custom SSD has a maximum compressed data throughput of up to 9 GB/s—twice as fast as the Xbox’s 4.8 GB/s. After the data has been decompressed, it can be processed at 5.5 GB/s, which again is about twice as fast as the 2.4 GB/s that Microsoft’s console can reach.
While the SSD might be faster, the Xbox Series X has the PS5 beat in other areas. But Ed Boon, co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series and creative director on Mortal Kombat 11, says people are underestimating what such an SSD is capable of when it comes to games.
In an interview with Geoff Keighley (via CCN) as part of the Summer Game Fest show, Boon said “I think people are underestimating the impact that the almost zero load time is going to have. It’s suddenly going to open doors that weren’t considered possible before. I think we haven’t even scratched the surface of what will eventually be done with those systems.”
“To me, the graphics are a given. Okay, the graphics are going to be better. But, this new way of handling memory and loading, and stuff like that, is going to be huge.”
Sony has also been talking about its solid-state drive, claiming it can process data "approximately 100 times faster" than a PS4.
Boon also talked about the recent Unreal Engine 5 tech demo that was running on the PS5, a decision that caused some controversy. “I was riveted watching the PlayStation 5 and Unreal Engine 5 demo going ‘that can’t be real, come on, that can’t be real,’” he said.
It’s claimed that the speed of the SSD means PS5 games will avoid the commonly used trick of long elevator rides or 'squeeze through tight spaces' animations to load the next section of a game. There will also be an absence of loading screens, such as the 'traveling on subway' sections in Marvel's Spider-Man. The proof, of course, will be when we finally see some extended gameplay footage of these titles.