Sony: An Ultra High-Speed SSD Is The Key to Our Next-Gen, Making Loading Screens a Thing of the Past
One of the biggest gaming news of the past month or so was certainly the reveal of the first specifications of Sony's upcoming next-generation PlayStation console.
Mark Cerny, the Lead Architect (not to mention a talented Game Designer in his own right) of the PlayStation 4, is reprising his role for the presumably called PlayStation 5. Cerny unveiled some key aspects of the next-generation console, such as the eight-core Zen 2 (7nm) based CPU and the Navi based GPU, as well as hardware support for raytracing and 3D audio. The only demonstration he gave to the Wired interviewer showcased the devkit's impressively fast loading times, with Marvel's Spider-Man loading in 0.5 seconds instead of the 15 you'd have to normally wait on a PlayStation 4 Pro. At the time, Cerny explained Sony equipped the next-generation PlayStation console with a 'specialized' SSD.
No further information was given. However, the folks at the Official PlayStation Magazine were able to snatch an additional statement from a Sony spokesperson, which is as brief as it is interesting. Here's the quote, straight from the magazine (June 2019, issue 162):
An ultra-high-speed SSD is the key to our next generation. Our vision is to make loading screens a thing of the past, enabling creators to build new and unique gameplay experiences.
A crystal clear statement indeed. Historically, the speed of a hard drive has never been the defining specification of any console hardware. The main reason why Sony may be pushing the capabilities of this new SSD so much is that it could help ease casual gamers and even total strangers into PlayStation gaming, as long loading times have traditionally been a detriment to newcomers who don't quite understand or enjoy waiting for minutes before playing.
However, as core gamers ourselves, we're more interested in the latter part of the new statement. Having such a fast SSD available on all next-generation PlayStation consoles may well allow game developers to dramatically improve certain aspects of their titles which were previously bogged down by the slow specifications of the usual hard drives. Open world games in particular should benefit greatly.
It will be a while before we hear any further news given that PlayStation 5 won't be out in 2019, but we'll keep you apprised of any further reveals and updates from Sony on their next-generation console hardware.