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PS5 SSD storage expansion won’t be available at launch

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There’s a next-gen pissing war to be had, but it’s not going to be about which console has the better graphics this time. We;; not today at least. Instead I’ve got a feeling that we’re headed into F1 territory: Measuring just how much faster the Xbox Series X/S is at loading a game when compared to the PlayStation 5 and vice versa.

Both consoles feature blazing-fast solid state drives, both machines have rock-solid software to greatly nip loading screens in the bud, and both brands have showcase games which feature these ideas in action. Miles Morales: Spider-Man hitting Ghost of Tsushima loading time speeds? Sorcery I say, sorcery.

Where Xbox does have an upper hand is in just how much space it has available on its SSD. On Xbox Series X you’ll have 802 GB of usable storage (And 364 GB on Xbox Series S but it’s not the contender here), whereas the PlayStation 5’s 825GB SSD drive is reported to only have 667 GB of space that you can store games on.

In an age where games have gotten a lot bigger, that’s a bit worrying. Miles Morales: Spider-Man with the remastered version of 2018’s Spider-Man is a 105 GB game or 50 GB for the standalone adventure, SackBoy: A Big Adventure is 32 GB, and Demon’s Souls is 66 GB in size. And let’s not even get started on Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War.

The solution to this is some forward-thinking from Sony, which of course has a caveat attached. Two steps forward, two steps back. Theoretically, you can expand on the PS5 storage thanks to it having a dedicated internal slot that can fit standard stick-shaped M.2 SSDs, but you won’t be able to access that space on launch day. “This is reserved for a future update,” Sony explained to The Verge.

Back in March, PlayStation hardware architect Mark Cerny also mentioned these expansion ideas while commenting that being able to do so would be implemented well past the launch of the PS5. “It’d be great if that happened by launch, but it’s likely to be a bit past it, so please hold off on getting that M.2 drive until you hear from us,” Cerny said back then.

The problem is that not all M.2 SSDs are fast enough to keep up with the PS5, which Sony has been hyping up as hardware that somehow has access to the same Speed Force that powers the Flash. For now, it looks like you’ll need to look at other solutions for storing games, instead of playing them off of an external add-on.

It’s not all bad news though! USB storage is being supported and you’ll be able to play PS4 games off of a USB 3.1 device. The PlayStation 5 launches next week in the US and other regions, before rolling out to us in South Africa, the UK, and elsewhere. If you’re anything like me, you probably have an external drive already loaded with games to plug into the console when it arrives.

Last Updated: November 6, 2020

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