PS5 SSD May Not Necessarily Translate into Much Quicker Loading Times, Says Remedy Technical Director

By Alessio Palumbo  / 

PlayStation 5 discussions throughout the industry are amplifying with each passing week, now that we are in all likelihood just about a year away from the launch of Sony's next-generation console.

That's why we recently published a recap article on everything we know about the PS5, and we'll update it until the launch (and beyond, if necessary), scheduled for Holiday 2020.

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One of the main key features of the PS5, according to Lead System Architect Mark Cerny himself, will be the custom designed solid state drive (SSD). In fact, he showcased the PS4 game Marvel's Spider-Man running on PS5 to demonstrate the much quicker loading times on the new system - less than a second in this case, compared to fifteen seconds on the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Speaking with PlayStation Official Magazine (Xmas 2019, issue 169), Remedy Technical Director Mika Vehkala pointed out that it might not be this straightforward if the PS5 games start using much more data.

If games would stay the same in terms of scope and visual quality it’d make loading times be almost unnoticeable and restarting a level could be almost instant [in PS5 games].

However, since more data can be now used there can also be cases where production
might be cheaper and faster when not optimising content, which will lead into having to load much more data, leading back into a situation where you have about the same loading times as today.

Vehkala subsequently compared the situation with the CPU and GPU enhancements. Developers could use the increased PS5 power to double the frame rate, sure, but if they add more details then the frame rate will likely remain the same as in the previous generation.

It is almost the same as with CPU and GPU enhancements. You could do things faster or you could add more content and run things the same 30fps as before; often times it is the latter.

His colleague Thomas Puha, Head of Communications at Remedy, added that a system's power doesn't really have anything to do with frame rate, in fact.

We game developers can make 60fps games even on PlayStation 1! It’s always about
compromise: are you focussing on visuals, physics, AI, and such things or purely framerate? The new PS5 hardware will be powerful, yes, but also expectations are that graphics will be even more detailed, more destruction, etc and it’s always a compromise as to where we focus.

This is something that gamers tend to forget while excitedly dreaming about the potential of a next-generation platform such as the PS5. The new hardware could render the same games at a much faster frame rate, with much quicker loading times, but that would likely mean not improving too much in the way of details.

That said, the new hardware at least gives developers the option, and there does seem to be a slight trend lately towards 60 frames per second gaming even on console. We'll see if this continues with the PS5 and Microsoft's Project Scarlett.

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