PS5 SSD Has The Potential To Reduce Developer Crunch

The PlayStation 5’s solid-state drives might help to reduce developer crunch, according to one game dev.

We just got the PS5’s full specs earlier this week, and while it seems like the Xbox Series X has it beat in terms of raw performance, both consoles are going to have some serious hardware. One of their defining features is a new solid-state internal memory drive that will have some impressive throughput, with one game developer saying that this boost in memory performance will help reduce development time and crunch.

“In theory, the #PS5’s SSD means developers can worry a little less about level streaming and memory micro-management which is a huge time sink late on in the dev cycle and the source of many bugs,” wrote James Cooper, a game developer who used to work for Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Crytek, and other studios. “This means it might actually help to reduce crunch!”

Level streaming refers to a common game development trick that allows enormous game worlds to display without loading screens. It essentially breaks up the world into manageable chunks and stores them into a GPU’s RAM, only displaying what the player is currently looking at.

Here’s a visual representation of how level streaming works in Skyrim.

Memory micromanagement can refer to a lot of different things, but it’s essentially the same concept as level streaming–breaking a game down into manageable chunks in order to cut down on loading times. This process can be incredibly time consuming and opens the door for a lot of bugs to creep into the code. Getting rid of it entirely thanks to a super-fast hard drive means that this time-consuming process can be completely eliminated.

Maybe. Responses to Cooper’s tweet point out that multi-platform games will still need to perform these memory tweaks as they’ll be coming out on both the PS5 and the PS4, with the older console still needing level streaming in order for games to operate smoothly.

There’s also the chance that games will simply get bigger and bigger to the point where it will need these memory tweaks all over again despite the faster console speeds.

Still, anything that helps reduce crunch is a good thing, even if it’s just for a little while.

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