For the first time, the upcoming generation of consoles will be embracing solid state storage. Both Microsoft and Sony will have built-in SSDs — 1TB for the Xbox Series X and 825GB for the PS5 — and the advantages are obvious. Solid state drives are quicker, meaning games will load and perform far, far faster than before.
But the elephant in the room is drive capacity. While the current generation can just about get away with 500GB to 1TB, the move to 4K gaming will make install sizes larger. And while current gamers can just plug in a cheap external HDD, those planning to do the same with supported SSDs are in for a rude awakening when they see the prices they currently go for.
Fortunately, Microsoft has a trick up its sleeve in order to keep install footprints down.
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“Even beyond the hardware, we’ve actually made user interface improvements to make it easier for you to manage your storage,” Xbox’s director of program management Jason Ronald said on a podcast chat with Microsoft teammate Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb. “As an example, one of the new features that we’re adding is actually for — if a title chooses to support it — the ability to selectively uninstall different components of the game.
“So, let’s say you play a campaign as an example, and then you want to focus exclusively on multiplayer. If the developers chose to support it you can actually uninstall the campaign itself so that you can be more in control of how you’re actually using your storage, so that you really get the most benefit out of the available storage that you have.”
It sounds pretty similar to Sony’s plans with the PlayStation 5, which is just as well, because triple-A titles are getting larger and larger install footprints. We’ve already heard that launch title Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Launch Edition will weigh in at 105GB, and even current generation games are ballooning in size.
Our sister site, GamesRadar, has a running list of the worst offenders on PS4. and an installation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (175GB), Destiny 2 (165GB), Red Dead Redemption 2 (105GB), The Elder Scrolls Online (86GB) and Battlefield 4 (71GB) would wipe out 73% of the PS5’s storage.
And that’s not even accounting for system files. We now know that the Xbox Series X operating system will take up nearly 20% of the 1TB available, and you would imagine Sony has similar bad news coming down the tracks. Given that expansion options for both consoles are currently on the expensive side, here’s hoping that selective installation is something that’s widely adopted by developers.