I’ve just been reading about Chris Plante’s experiences with the Xbox Series X over on Polygon, and it struck me that super-quick loading is going to be the real big difference in the next console generation. Both the Series X and the PS5 have SSDs, which are likely to dramatically speed up loading times, and the quick resume functions mean we could be playing a game seconds after turning on the console.
Chris enthuses about the dramatic changes brought about by swift loading when it comes to revisiting the Xbox 360 classic Crackdown, and talks about switching between playing that and other 360 games in mere seconds. In my opinion, that’s the real game changer for the new consoles – and a far more appealing headline benefit than 4K visuals, something that will only affect the small percentage of us who actually own 4K TVs.
I’ve already experienced how transformative instant loading can be with the Switch. Often I’ll be squeezing an hour or two of gaming into the small window of time between putting my son to bed and going to sleep myself. Being able to launch Super Mario Odyssey in seconds is a huge deal. Sometimes I find myself going for the Switch over the PS4 or PC, simply because I don’t want to wait for precious minutes while the machine chugs through its loading process, possibly performing an update or two as it goes.
But consoles that load games near enough instantly? That’s hugely appealing. It means being able to squeeze in extra slivers of gaming time here and there, and being able to dip into games for a quick dabble when you only have five minutes to spare. It’s a massive plus point.
I’ve been unfussed about upgrading to a PS5 or Xbox Series X, content to wait until the latest games stop being released on the current consoles. But super-fast loading has got me thinking I might want to join the next generation a little sooner.