We now have had a bit of exposure to how SSDs will change the gaming experience.
Prior to release we were told that these SSDs would eliminate loading times (Mark Cerny said that they expect games to load in one second), and eliminate LOD and pop in.
In reality we have by far quicker loading than HDDs, but we are nowhere near one second game loading. While this should get quicker with the utilization of Xbox Velocity architecture, and when games are developed from the ground up for the new consoles, it really hasn’t met expectations. And we haven’t seen a twice as fast loading from the PS5 compared to the XSX.
On a more interesting note is that there continues to be pop in and LOD in games with SSDs. This also includes games developed solely with the SSD in mind.
The game footage of GT 7 on PS5 showed a far bit of pop in, as have all the games released so far.
As I was saying from the outset, SSDs were never going to eliminate it, as LOD is also heavily dependent on bandwidth and GPU power.
Also, when the footage of Ratchet came out showing the rift, Sony fanboys screamed from the skies that this was evidence of the PS5 SSD power, and wasn’t going to be possible on the XSX.
Since then Fortnite came out with their own rift, which showed the same effect being done on consoles with HDDs. Since then they don’t talk about it anymore.
So has the potential of SSDs being over sold in the lead up to the consoles released?
I just think games right now still have too many Gen 8 hooks in them to allow devs to fully utilise all that the consoles have to offer.
Even Ratchet and Clank still has that 1-2 second “limbo” that they float in between warps. I think we will get to a point where load times are almost negligible but a lot of that will depend on the games themselves.
I think maybe the larger and more complex the game, the “longer” the load times.
Ratchet is doing background loading behind the on-rails sections too, so it is actually a lot longer than just a couple seconds.
You’re right in general though; we don’t really have any proper next gen games built ground up for these machines. I think ppl will really get blown away next summer when we start seeing footage of what the wave 2 games can be like.
It takes time for developers to create the data structures to properly utilize these SSDs and IO enhancements found in both systems. David Springate touched on this in the video interview below when he revealed his early test on the Series X allowed 10GB of data to be loaded in just 2 seconds using direct storage. He goes onto explain some of the work developers need to do to take advantage of these fast SSDs:
The way to get the most out of fast storage on all platforms is to make many requests at once. You want to load five hundred textures, forget loading one texture, you want to load them all. That then gives some challenges to how you lay out your data. You need to know where they’re going to go in memory, you need to know what is it you need before you ask for it. That’s a challenge, it’s not hardware, it’s not the API from Microsoft or Sony, it’s an engineering challenge. We’re very close, we’ve done loads of testing, it’s not something I’m gonna come to saying it’ll come in a patch but it’s something I’m very interested in personally.
I can only answer with my limited understanding from a previous PC building perspective. But for then it was always the faster/instant access speeds over HDD’s that were the most important. The read/write speeds were secondary. So when the PS5 faster SSD specs were announced. My thoughts were, ok but the main major gain is access times and both consoles will have that same improvement.
EDIT: on a side note. When I moved across from a PC to x1x a few years ago. I was stunned at how seamless and stutter free open worlds were bearing in mind my PC had a top tier SSD. There’s clearly already some amazing streaming engines doing magic on last gen HDD’s, let alone SSD’s. Happy days ahead for sure.
Im very pleased with the SSD performance on my seriesX, quick resume especially is an incredible feature being able to instantly jump back into games.
cerny said that games will just fade in, so that does not imply instant but the time it takes to ‘fade in’, and spiderman:mm demonstrates this rather well. future new gen only games will have similar loading times. However regarding how SSDs will improve games im not to sure, i guess the first use case is no need for loading between different areas, or very little loading.
I think something like Quick Resume is the future, if they can polish it (I’m sure they will). At least as far as loading games is concerned. Such a great quality of life improvement, switching seamlessly between huge games like RDR2, Gears5, Jedi Fallen Order, Forza Horizon 4… Saved me a ton of time already.
SSDs, and their capabilities to dramatically boost IO, have not been oversold in general. I think if someone bought the propaganda by certain groups that a faster SSD would overcome the weaknesses in other elements of the hardware, I can see how that will eventually leave you disappointed (an SSD cannot be used to overcome GPU, CPU, or RAM deficiencies).
That said, I think it’s important to remember that we have yet to see a game from either Xbox or Playstation that utilizes the full capabilities of the respective systems, SSD potential included.
I know a lot of people want instant load times, but tbh, going from 60~90 seconds to just 10 is good enough for me.
Oh, the pop-in thing? That will probably improve in the future but I’m sure that SSD is only a part of the equation on that. Remember when members of Resetera predicted that because of the speed differences, XB SX games would have more pop-in than PS5 games? That was and is a dumb claim even to this day.
Amen! It’s so nice to have a faster drive! I wasn’t expecting any miracles but the quality of life improvement is massive. It’s totally worth it to move games I’m actively playing to the internal drive to benefit from it.