Mark Cerny’s deep dive last week illustrated how Sony’s blisteringly fast SSD would form a central pillar of the PlayStation 5 (PS5).
His words were very much those of an engineer waxing lyrical from a technical standpoint. While informative, they were markedly devoid of concrete examples of practical applications other than the vague promise of fast load times and the like.
A new Sony patent, unearthed this week, may provide an idea of what the average would-be PlayStation 5 user can expect from the SSD.
The patent, dubbed “Dynamic Interfaces For Launching Direct Gameplay,” details a feature that would integrate specific aspects of a game into the UI tile in the PlayStation 5 OS.
We’re not just talking a paltry list of achievements and not much else – like on the PlayStation 4.
Think bigger. Much bigger: in-depth game stats, specific joinable multiplayer modes, and info on individual yet-to-be-completed missions or quests in single-player titles. The tiles would update in real-time based on in-game progress.
The player could interact with the tiles and, with the tap of a button, find themselves almost instantaneously in a game. And all this without launching a game, waiting for it to load, or searching menus for the same information.
Think of a tile as an extension of the game (a mini-app/widget merged into the OS) showing i.e., your latest position in an RPG with a screenshot, current gear, and a button for jumping straight back into the action in a second. Or a Multiplayer FPS tile with a matchmaking button pre-set to “Team Deathmatch” (your favorite mode), general stats, etc. Potentially the tiles could also enable you to perform async game activities while in the PS5 OS (i.e., sending out delivery robots in Death Stranding).
The take remains speculative, but echoes what Mark Cerny hinted at in the first of a series of Wired PlayStation 5 articles last year.
I have heard some fascinating things about the PS5’s operating system like this – one of the pitches they’ve been making to developers is “playing a PS5 game should be as easy as Netflix.” They want to make players feel like they can load up the game immediately and know exactly how much time a given activity is going to take them. They want people to feel more inclined to play in short bursts rather than only wanting to turn on the console when they have a few hours to spare.
In practice, we could see functionality that even the most decked-out gaming PC doesn’t offer.
PC propositions such as Microsoft’s excellent Xbox Game Pass offer a Netflix-like catalog of games for a fixed monthly sum. But the platform currently doesn’t have anything resembling the instant loading and outside-of-game functionality hinted at in Sony’s PlayStation 5 patent.
While it would be foolish to suggest Sony is hoping to coax over die-hard PC players to console, the feature could be one of the few advantages the PlayStation 5 has over PCs other than plug-and-play guarantees, an ultra-fast SSD, and exclusives. Which, going by Sony’s latest move to bring Horizon Zero Dawn to PC this summer, may not hold as much value as it has in the past.
Of course, we must remember this is a patent. There’s no guarantee Sony will implement the feature into the final retail version of the PlayStation 5 OS.