To say the storage capacity of the next-generation of consoles is worrying would be putting it gently. Games are growing in size, with some taking over 100 GB (or not fitting on smaller SSDs *cough* Modern Warfare *cough*) and that trend doesn’t seem to be going away. Of course, games are getting larger because they’re looking better and better; that’s not a bad thing, but there has to be a serious reconciliation when it comes to how large games are getting, the state they’re shipping in, and what that means for consumers.
Jim Ryan, Sony’s President, said in an interview with The Telegraph that the company isn’t aware of customer complaints about the PS5’s pitifully small storage. For anyone unaware, the console comes with a whopping 667 GB useable out of the console’s custom 825 GB SSD. That’s only marginally more space than the Xbox One or PS4 launched with, and as someone who made do with the original 500 GB on a launch Xbox One, let me tell you one thing: it sucks.
Constantly having to uninstall and reinstall games is a chore, and for those with data caps or slow Internet speeds, you’re looking at downloading a title over the course of a full day. And that doesn’t even count how frustrating it is to get the squad all online, only to realize you’re the only person without the title of the day not downloaded because Modern Warfare decided to add another 40 GB update that changed nothing noticeable.
Microsoft and their Xbox Series X|S consoles have combatted this problem pretty simply: by supporting external hard drives, the storage space on each console could double or triple, depending on the size of the external drive you’re attaching. You do lose out on some features, but if Quick Resume isn’t a big draw anyway, you don’t lose too much else besides faster load speeds.
Sony has, in their infinite wisdom, prevented that at launch, instead forcing players to uninstall or delete games to add more to their playable library, while also locking PS5 games to the internal drive. What exactly that means for the future is unclear, especially since external drives are coming. Does this mean that PS5 owners only have 667 GB to run any and all PS5 titles? Or just that PS5 titles will work on their approved external drives in the future? What’s more, the PS5 does support external storage, but the company claims they’ve disabled the feature while they work on testing and approving NVMe SSDs that are compatible with the system.
While that’s certainly admirable, especially as most companies ship these sorts of products with no testing, this doesn’t seem like the case. I somehow doubt that in all the time the PS5 was in development, no one thought to test external storage cards with the system. What seems far more likely to me is that Sony intentionally released the PS5 as it is and has put off the external storage cards to drive up demand just in time for them to announce and release proprietary 1 or 2 TB expansion card for some ridiculous price. It’s entirely possible I’m just too cynical for the gaming industry now, but the idea that they haven’t tested or approved any external storage options in all this time just seems way too implausible to be the truth.
Time will tell, of course, especially considering the PS5 has existed on the market for a week. But I’m not entirely sure the next-generation of consoles is even worth buying, especially since an entry-level gaming PC can be bought (or better yet, built) for the same price as a PS5 or Xbox Series X. Me? I’m probably just going to build a PC I can upgrade over the next decade or more, rather than another console to replace in the same time frame.
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