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News hardware & software 22 November 2021, 13:04

author: Michael Zegar

Here's Why PS5 Games Take Up Less Space Than PS4 Versions

Some PlayStation 5 games weigh up as much as 50% less than the PS4 versions. PS5's lead system designer has revealed the trick behind it.

Video games are getting bigger and bigger, and with them the amount of disk space they take up on our hard drives. Control: Ultimate Edition, weighing in at 50GB on the PS4, is sure to need twice that on the PS5 with all that ray tracing and... wait a minute - only 25GB? Yes, that's no mistake and Remedy's game is no exception. Another example would be Subnautica, which takes up 14GB on PS4, but only weighs four on current-gen. What is responsible for this state of affairs?

In a recent interview with Wired Mark Cerny (lead designer of the PlayStation 5 system) revealed why PS5 games weigh less than their PS4 counterparts (around the 3:45 mark in the video). As it turns out, it's due to the integrated I/O device and the invisible compression technique it offers.

Input-output device - a piece of hardware used by a human (or other system) to communicate with a computer. Source: Wikipedia.

"Developers have to spend a lot of time and effort loading data in off of media, whether that's a hard drive or an SSD. With integrated I/O, we take care of all of that. The developers hand off their data to our publishing tools, and then the game runtime just asks for the data, and we handle the decompression for them. We put as much functionality as we could inside of a custom unit in our main chip. The impact of this compression strategy is huge."

Runtime, run time, or execution time is the final phase of a computer program's life cycle, in which the code is being executed on the computer's central processing unit (CPU) as machine code. In other words, "runtime" is the running phase of a program. Source: Wikipedia.

Additionally, Cerny cites the example of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Although the PS5 version featured higher-resolution models and textures than the PS4 edition, the PS4 version of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales boasts a smaller footprint thanks to integrated I/O.

Cerny has been involved with the PlayStation brand for nearly two decades. He has worked for industry giants such as Naughty Dog i Insomniac Games. He's added his proverbial two cents to such well-known series as Ratchet & Clank, Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Dakter.

Cerny also helped design the PS2, and some even believe that the fact that he was the lead designer on the PS4 helped that console achieve sales success. For a closer look at what's hidden under the PS5 exterior, check out the interview above.

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