Xbox Series X's crazy fast load times revealed — should PS5 be worried?

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will load games much, much faster than the Xbox One, even if a game’s code isn’t tweaked for the next-generation console. 

Gears 5 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 will have. 

"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. "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. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Dave81j6
    Wouldn't PS5 theoretically be able to load Gears 5 8-to-10 times faster since it's SSD is twice as fast? Not understanding why PS5 quote unquote "should" be worried.

    Maybe the point of the article is that the Xbox Series X is also super fast, but PS5 has twice the throughput.
  • danvanv
    This article is stupid click bait. If you want us to believe the title, maybe don't use vague terms like "4x faster". How about give us a load time? Fueling console wars with trash pieces like this is just stupid. Sony has explicitly stated multiple times they want the PS5 to have "instant/zero load times" so unless you want to stoke the fires by saying something specific, like "microsoft claims their console loads games instantly" then just stop with this garbage.