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We Finally Know How Sony Plans To Speed Things Up

Now that we have a slew of specs for both machines, there's a fair amount of debate online about which next-gen console is better: the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X. On paper, it definitely seems as though Microsoft's system will be a little more powerful. The PlayStation 5, however, could edge the Series X out when it comes to speed and load times.

On that topic, an interesting new patent has appeared online that points to another new feature the PlayStation 5 could use to set itself apart. It highlights something we've grown accustomed to in games, and how that particular facet could all but disappear when the next generation kicks off. It also illustrates how the way we play games has changed in the past decade, thanks to online play and social features.

If this new patent is something Sony actually implements in the PlayStation 5, you could get to the parts of a game you want to play more quickly.

The new patent — published on a website called Free Patents Online — references something called "Dynamic Interfaces for Launching Direct Gameplay." The way it's described isn't all that dissimilar from a shortcut you might use to visit a website. Imagine clicking a desktop shortcut that automatically opens your web browser and navigates to a particular page. Sony's "Dynamic Interfaces for Launching Direct Gameplay" might work just like that, but with specific game modes inside a game.

You could use the interface to automatically jump into the campaign of a game, for instance, skipping past all the title screen nonsense so you can get right to the action. Or you could go right from the launch screen into matchmaking for a title like Rocket League. Thanks to the speedier load times coming with the PlayStation 5, you could be looking at going from the console's home screen to playing in a very, very short period of time. This will undoubtedly make a lot of gamers — especially those who stick to the multiplayer side of things — very happy.

Will this potential capability come with a casualty? It's possible. Those title screens we just mentioned have been a staple in video games for a long time. They've not only served to credit the developers and publishers behind a game, but have also masked loading times in some modern releases. Now that solid state storage will be a staple in new consoles, these splash screens will effectively be window dressing, and won't be one-hundred-percent necessary anymore. If you can skip right to the mode you want in a title, like Sony's patent describes, that'll render these title screens even more useless. That's something to look out for when the next generation kicks off later this year.

This approach to loading and playing games seems to line up with Sony's purported philosophy around the PlayStation 5: that playing on the console should be "as easy as Netflix." The company wants to incentivize people to play more — even if they're only able to in small increments — so having a way to skip straight to someone's mode of choice makes a whole lot of sense. There's even talk Sony could allow PS5 titles to show how long a particular activity could take, letting players select something that'll fit into the ten or twenty spare minutes they have available.

And there are still a few other Sony patents floating around related to the PlayStation 5, though it's looking increasingly like some of them might not result in features on the actual console. We have yet to see the PS5 controller in action, though based on what we've heard about it, it'll tout some of what we saw in a published patent and then some. All that stuff about backward compatibility, though? We know we're going to get PS4 compatibility on PS5, but some of that speculation about past PlayStation systems being supported might not hold water.

It's safe to say a whole lot of people are eagerly anticipating the launch of both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. Both are due to arrive sometime during the holiday season, and both seem poised to push console gaming forward in very interesting ways. We're still missing out on some very important details for the next-gen systems — mainly how much they're going to cost — but there's still a whole lot of year left, and more opportunities for those details to be revealed.

We'll keep you up to speed if we hear anything more about the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the future.