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One of the features that’ll make the PS5 lightning-fast is also coming to the Xbox Series X

Published Dec 19th, 2019 11:00AM EST
Xbox Series X Specs
Image: Microsoft

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The Xbox Series X, Microsoft’s next-gen console that the company would like you to call just “Xbox,” will have the same kind of processing power as the PlayStation 5, as the two gaming systems will pack similar components including the CPU and GPU. But up until now, we weren’t sure what to expect from the new Xbox when it comes to storage, something that Microsoft hasn’t really addressed until a few days ago. Thankfully, it’s just as we expected and the Xbox Series X will match another one of the PS5’s best features.

Long before Microsoft took the stage at The Game Awards to unveil the Xbox Series X, Sony confirmed to fans that the PS5 will ship with a fast SSD inside, the kind of device that will make waiting around for games to load a thing of the past, as well as opening the door to new gaming experiences. We’ve even seen what an SSD can do for a gaming console, especially when compared with traditional HDDs.

Considering that the 2020 consoles should deliver similar experiences, we expected Microsoft to pack an SSD inside the Xbox Series X, and some reports did say that would be the case for the device. But Microsoft has finally revealed more details about its Xbox Series X storage, saying that it’s also looking to cut loading times and reduce latency with the next console.

“It’s really about giving the developers the tools and the capabilities to use the hardware in the most efficient way possible,” Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald told GameSpot. ”A good example of that is on the [solid-state drive] side–we’ve basically reached the limit of [what’s] possible with the traditional rotational drive. We’re basically at the upper bounds of the raw performance we can get there. So we’ve invested in NVME SSDs and we’re also giving developers a lot of new capabilities on top of that to try to virtually eliminate load times.”

The NVMe drive should help both with single-player games where players won’t have to wait for the next level to load, and for open-world games. “You know, whether that’s a level-based game and I’m going from level one to level two, or if you think about a massive open-world game and actually want to fast-travel or teleport from one end of the world to the other, I shouldn’t have to [have] this loading experience [that takes] me out of the immersion, and that’s all possible with some of the investments we’ve made on the I/O side,” the exec added.

To reduce latency, Microsoft has partnered with the HDMI Forum to bring “gaming-centric features into the living room.” Ronald said that “things like 120Hz support, things like variable refresh rate, which has been available in the PC space for a while but it’s never really been available in the living room — things like 8k capability” are coming to the next Xbox.

Microsoft did not say how much storage the base Xbox Series X model will include, however, and we’re going to have to wait a while longer to get an answer.

Interestingly, Sony has crafted one handy PS5 feature that might help with storage. Gamers will be able to pick and choose what kind of game content to install instead of being forced to install the entire game package from a disc or download. Some may want only the single-player experience of a game, while others may go for just the multiplayer mode. It’s unclear if Microsoft will also have something similar in place for the new Xbox.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.