PS4 Hard Drive
When Sony announced their intention to discontinue backwards capability with the PlayStation 4 and offered digital downloading as the premier option instead, many video game journalists at the unveiling event speculated what this could mean for hard drives. Even the most casual PS3 owner has gigabytes upon gigabytes of video games in disc format in addition to the latest demos, video rentals, soundtrack music, and PSN apps on their hard drive.
Imagine the space required for the PS4 to have an impressive legacy library of past favorites without having the end user pay for a gigantic hard drive. Imagine the increased speed and whisper-quiet data retrieval of an SSD (solid-state drive) if only the colossal hard drive was not a selling point of the PS4. Oh, the wonderful things gamers could have seen. This means the
On June 10, 2013, during Sony's press event at E3, they announced the internal HDD will have 500GB of storage space. This is the same "huge" size as the Xbox One with the option of cloud storage for account data and game saves. Considering there will be both disc-based games and digital day one downloads, some gamers will appreciate the larger size in addition to game streaming. However, the PS4 does come with the option of swappable hard drives.
If a PS4 owner wanted faster boot and load times, they could install an SSD. Depending on the tech trends within the next 10 years, SSD could quickly become cheaper per gigabyte (as opposed to slowly) and be the standard. On the other hand, owners could purchase a terabyte hard drive and install all the games onto it with the added bonus of transportability. However, who the hell would want to store games on a terabyte hard drive? Where's your porn going to go?
A Hard Bargain for a Hard Drive
With Sony tech working in cooperation with AMD on the CPU/GPU one chip combo, it’s not difficult to view the guts and wires of the PlayStation 4 as a computer with the shell of a gaming console. Aside from the gooey nostalgia of holding a PlayStation controller in your hand, the PS3 was basically a modified computer with an unnecessary amount of storage space. In fact, many PS3 owners used the internal hard drive to store data or stream content into their living rooms without ever filling up the hard drive. So why is the tease for a massive hard drive so important to the PS4 and gamers in general?
Aside from a few retail games available for download on the PlayStation Network, which admittedly takes up a lot of gigabytes, most PS3 owners got along fine with a minimal amount of hard drive space. Unless you had a stupid number of video games that required forced installs for faster processing or a habit of downloading high-definition movies, you probably never noticed your storage space begging for more room. This was in part because most legacy PS and PS2 games could be directly played from their discs.
Since the PS4 no longer has backwards capability, games fighting for space on your hard drive have suddenly become a blood sport. This is somewhat mitigated by Sony’s venture into the streaming game service with Gaikai where you won’t need to download as much or anything at all to play your favorite legacy games. This cloud-based service would be revolutionary to the console industry. But then you have the recommended demos that seamlessly download in the background as well as full retail games getting the digital availability treatment.
Either Sony proves its fortitude and announces a truly large hard drive worthy of never having to leave your home to buy games again, or you’re going to buy a console with too more storage space bubble wrap.
Remembering the PS3 and Xbox 360
Chris Norden, senior staff engineer at Sony's strategy team, teased during the GDC event that the PlayStation 4 is “going to be a very large hard drive in every console.” If you recall, the launch of the PS3 included options for a 20/40/60/80 or 160 GB hard drive. Some gamers complained these drives were too small. For the PS3 Slim update, hard drives changed to have their storage space become either 120/160/250 or 320 GB in size. For the even slimmer mod released in 2012, gamers were given the choice of a 250 or 500 GB hard drive. Notice how these sizes corresponded to the offerings in the PlayStation Store.
For the Xbox 360, the hard drive options are a confusing mess with choices offered in 0/4/20/60/120/250/ and 320 GB. Again, this pattern coincided with more full retail games being available on the Xbox Live Marketplace rather than some sudden need for more space.
Sony’s Hard Drive Future
It would be interesting to poll gamers and see whether they would prefer a smaller SSD for faster load times but less games installed on hand (think something similar to Steam’s library of games offering everything you own, but you have to download and manage individually) or a gigantic HDD where everything you’ve ever downloaded stays on the PS4. Personally, I would love to see an SSD on a console just to have faster booting and loading sequences because I never found the larger hard drives appealing.
Digital downloads are another interesting feature for the future. If more and more video game publishers sell their stuff online through the PS Store of Xbox Live Marketplace, gamers will probably want more storage space. However, if Sony can pull off the streaming games service with Gaikai, I really don’t see the need for all that space. It’s not like your PS4 is going to store your old PS, PS2, and PS3 games.
Article by - Collin Mak
Insert Date: 4/14/2013