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Sony’s Mark Cerny Explains How PS4 Game Installations Work



/ 3 years ago

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There has been much debate recently over the “mandatory installs” on next-gen consoles and how that is going to effect us as gamers, not to mention our storage requirements over the next few years. Many people don’t understand why, or how these installers will need to be done, fortunately Sony’s Mark Cerny cleared things up recently when speaking with Kotaku.

Sony like to refer to it as Caching, which is a nice buzz word spin on install, the only difference being that the install on PlayStation 4 happens automatically. There is no way around it, it needs to be done and for good reason too.

When you first insert the disc into your PlayStation 4 the game streams data to the hard drive (Caching) and once enough data has copied over, the game will then load. How long the game takes to load will obviously vary on how much data that games needs to load to operate, by Mark did that that Knack will take around 10 seconds to cache the data required to boot the first time.

What many people don’t realise is that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One cannot load games from disc like their current gen little brothers. Developers were unhappy about slow loading times, wait times and more when it came to spinning up a level and so they decided to switch over to the much faster access hard drive, something that will no doubt prove beneficial to gaming in the long run, but should also mean less disc noise while gaming.

That means to play Knack the game will eventually take up 37GB of space. Mark didn’t clarify if the game will pre-allocate 37GB on first “install”, or if it will gradually lead up to that amount, but I can only imaging it is the former of the two.

Sony did have the idea of auto-deleting the data when the gaming is removed, only to cache it again next time. Or to remove the data once a game hasn’t been played in a while. However, they felt the user deserved that control and data will remain on the hard drive until you delete it manually, in which case it will just cache the relevant data again next time you play the game. Perhaps Sony may introduce some level of automation options for storage in a future update, but that part is only speculation on my part.

So there you have it, the PS4 and XBox one discs really are just installers and there is no way around it. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock either, disc based loading is lagging behind in terms of performance when compared to a hard drive, not to mention the hard drive is also more power efficient anyway.

At least on PS4 you can install your own hard drive upgrades, although I suspect most people won’t be needing to do so for at least 6-12 months, plus you can clear the install data from games you no longer play.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information.


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  • Skidmarks

    These geniuses at MS & Sony love to imagine everybody who buys a console has access to cheap/free, hi-speed data like they have. Unfortunately the majority of the world doesn’t work like that and it’ll take years for them to catch up. Fortunately that problem doesn’t afflict me personally but I sure would be bitter as hell if I had to download 36.95 GB of a 37GB game.

    • RicoPicoUK

      Nobody said anything about downloading data. The data is already on the BD, it just copies (most likely uncompresses it) to the harddrive before executing it.

      • Skidmarks

        Perhaps I over exaggerated just a little but I see it working along the lines of Steam which often downloads game files that are not present on the disk. I could be wrong though. Anyway I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t usually pay any attention to console news but this one caught my eye.