Based on the small amount of PS5 and Xbox Series X footage we've seen so far, it's a given that games will look great on next-generation consoles. But according to the creator of Mortal Kombat, the new systems' true killer feature has nothing to do with graphics at all.
NetherRealm Studios creative director and Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon recently appeared on a special episode of Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest to discuss the new Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath expansion. When Keighley asked Boon about his thoughts on what the PS5 and Xbox Series X will enable his studio to do, Boon immediately pointed to the consoles' fast-loading SSD drives as the component that will truly push games forward.
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"I think people are underestimating the impact that the almost zero load times are going to have," said Boon, whose comments start around the 36-minute mark of the video. "That's suddenly going to open doors that just weren't considered possible before. I think we haven't even scratched the surface of what will eventually be done with those systems."
The PS5 and Xbox Series X will both feature custom solid state drives (SSDs). They vary slightly in capacity — PS5 will have an 825GB drive compared to the Series X's 1TB SSD — but both are slated to all but eliminate loading times from console games.
We've already gotten a taste of how big a deal this upgrade will be in everyday use. Back in March, Xbox posted a side-by-side comparison of Xbox Series X vs Xbox One X loading times, with the new console loading games like State of Decay 2 in about 8 seconds compared to nearly a minute on Xbox One X. Sony showed off a similar demo in 2019, showcasing how fast-travel in a game like Marvel's Spider-Man could take a fraction of a second.
Boon is far from the only developer to champion this new console technology. Shortly after revealing Unreal Engine 5 earlier this month, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that the PS5's SSD "is far ahead of anything you can buy on the PC" right now, and that it will help drive the future of PC gaming.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are both slated to arrive this holiday, touting advanced features such as 8K resolution support, ray tracing capabilities and advanced 3D audio. But the ability to load games in an instant just might be what makes these machines feel truly next-gen.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.