Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) will load games much, much faster than the Xbox One (opens in new tab), even if a game’s code isn’t tweaked for the next-generation console.
Gears 5 (opens in new tab) loads four times faster on the Xbox Series X than it does on the Xbox One, according to Mike Rayner, technical director at The Coalition, which developed Gears 5. Such load speeds are set to really shake up the performance of next-generation consoles, alongside the raw performance the Xbox Series X and PS5 (opens in new tab) will have.
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"With the Xbox Series X, out of the gate, we reduced our load-times by more than 4x without any code changes,” Rayner told Windows Central (opens in new tab). "With the new DirectStorage APIs and new hardware decompression, we can further improve I/O performance and reduce CPU overhead, both of which are essential to achieve fast loading."
Essentially, that all means the work Microsoft has done on the hardware and software side of the Xbox Series X will allow for significantly faster game loading times.
This might not seem like the most exciting part of a new games console, but faster loading times have a suite of advantages. Not only does it mean that game will boot up faster and in some cases allow for people to jump between games in mere seconds, having faster loading storage allows for high-end graphical effects in large games to be streamed in faster and thus boost the perceived performance of the console.
There aren’t any games around that max out SATA SSD storage drives, but when it comes to streaming 4K graphics assets, which the Xbox Series X aims to do, speedy storage can really help, particularly if future games come with high-fidelity graphics and HDR support.
"We have come to expect generational leaps in CPU, GPU, and memory performance with each generation,” added Rayner. "Xbox Series X more than delivers against these expectations. As a game developer, one of the most exciting improvements that far exceeds expectations is the massive I/O improvements on Xbox Series X.”
Gears 5 is already out on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, but it’ll also be a launch title for the Xbox Series X. So the performance improvements the next-generation console’s SSD brings, will be something you’ll be able to experience, rather than a developer tech demo.
Given the PS5 has even faster SSD storage, we’d expect Sony’s developers to also benefit from the move from spinning disk hard drives in the current generation consoles to cutting-edge SSD in the next-gen consoles.
Maybe the point of the article is that the Xbox Series X is also super fast, but PS5 has twice the throughput.