For many months, we've heard all kinds of wonders on the speed of the PlayStation 5 SSD, its innovative custom storage design, and how it would almost destroy the dread load times in PS5 games - not to mention soundly beat the competition.
Gamespot checked out both consoles' load times in popular games like Final Fantasy XV, Destiny 2, Monster Hunter World, Batman Arkham Knight, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
The only instance where the PS5 beat Xbox Series X is in Red Dead Redemption 2 while loading a save from the menu to the actual game. In every other test, including Red Dead Redemption 2 from boot to the menu, the XSX won and handily so. In CAPCOM's Monster Hunter World, for example, Microsoft's console was faster by over eight seconds while booting and by over seven seconds while loading. In Square's Final Fantasy XV, the difference was even more pronounced as the Xbox Series X was fifteen seconds quicker in loading a save, after having registered a six-second win in the booting part.
Greg Miller, founder of Kinda Funny Games and former IGN journalist, also shared a video on Twitter demonstrating load times in Marvel's Avengers. This is a boot-to-save comparison, taking into account all the time needed to launch the game from the console's dashboard to actually being able to play.
The Xbox Series X dominated this contest with a time of 01:46:42, while PS5 lagged far behind at 02:28:48. That was still faster than the PS4 Pro's 03:35:25, of course, but not nearly as much as PlayStation fans probably hoped for.
It's the video the WORLD has been waiting for...
— Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) November 6, 2020
Now, there is a rather important caveat to point out: all of these titles are currently just running through backward compatibility. That is to say, they haven't received their official next-gen updates yet from the respective developers.
This could explain why the PS5's SSD, which is superior to the Xbox Series X's on paper, is struggling to unleash its full potential when it comes to sheer load times. Microsoft's backward compatibility has a long history of fully exploiting new hardware even with old software, while Sony's implementation in the PlayStation 5 is certainly more tame in comparison.
Additionally, the faster CPU clock (3.8 GHz on the Xbox Series X, up to 3.5 GHz on the PS5) could be a factor as well here. But the tables may yet turn with properly enhanced games. We should see that soon enough, as Bungie's Destiny 2 is getting the official next-gen treatment this week.