Welcome To The Next Generation of… Load Times?
The PS5 and (especially) the Xbox Series X bring in the next generation of gaming, and the load times are insane.
The days of deciding which game to play based on which game is already open are close to being over. For quick sessions, it’s not uncommon for me to decide with my friends that we are going to play one game versus another simply because one or two of us already have it loaded. Thankfully, given the technology of the newest generation of consoles, these days are numbered.
With the release of the Xbox Series X/S and the PS5, load times are finally brought to the modern era with the use of speedy Solid State Drives (SSD) rather than their much slower mechanical storage peer, the Hard Drive Disc (HDD). Data stored on the console will be able to be read many times more quickly than what was possible in the previous generation of consoles.
The Xbox Series X has an edge in convenience with a feature known as “Quick Resume” which give the system the ability to hold the state of several games at once, allowing users to switch between games with shockingly small load times. This goes beyond being able to switch between titles in a single session. Unlike the single game that is held in stasis while the console is on or put in rest mode in the current generation, quick resume allows games to be held in their current state, just a few seconds of loading away, whether the console is on or turned completely off. One could conceivably be playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla one day, Fortnite the next, then after restarting the console two days later, they could hop right back to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in virtually no time, skipping start screens altogether and heading straight back to the action. Rather than holding the state of these games in volatile RAM, it seems this state saving has been built right into the capabilities of the SSD, making the feature less of a gimmick and more of a game changer in the way we flip between games.
This means that as you transition between the single player story you’re getting through and the multiplayer games you keep coming back to with your friends, you won’t have to worry about waiting several minutes for the game to load if you’ve got the wrong one open. Now the transition will be so nearly instant that it will feel as though no time is lost.
Features such as these are rare occurrences in which consoles have the edge over their PC counterparts. With the exception of machines running custom software to make things like this possible, given that PCs are typically running a Windows environment that is designed for productivity amongst a broad range of other tasks, they simply cannot use the same level of custom software to allow things like this to be conveniently possible. Game consoles are designed with one purpose: to be a game console. This allows for features such as this that take advantage of the software and hardware as they work together to create a convenient ecosystem that is focused entirely on gaming.
Unfortunately, an equivalent to Quick Resume seems as though it will not be coming to PlayStation, at least not any time soon. Despite the presence of a feature called “Switcher” on the PS5 which shows recently played games and recently opened media, all games load from the beginning, meaning that only a single game is suspended in play at any given time. Load times on the PS5 are undoubtedly faster thanks to its SSD, but this feature is a hard one to compete with without a concerted effort being made on Sony’s part.
All in all, load times will be faster no matter your console of choice. The experience of loads on the Xbox platform will certainly outperform that of the PS5 and even most custom PCs due to its quick resume feature, but typical loading will be quick no matter your platform thanks to the improved hardware.