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PS5 Is Making Dying Much Less Brutal

Sony's PlayStation 5 will make console gaming better in a lot of different ways. There's one improvement, however, that you might not see until the character you're controlling bites the dust. Thanks to the PS5's ultra-fast SSD and its quick I/O speeds, you should spend a lot less time staring at a loading screen after you die in a game. You can already hear the Dark Souls fans cheering.

Sony showed off its lightning-fast SSD yesterday by linking to a video of a boss fight from the upcoming launch title Godfall. The player in the video repeatedly gets owned by some kind of hideous beast in the game. After just a second or two of waiting, though, they're right back to letting the monster kill them again.

You can imagine this feature making games like this one and the aforementioned Dark Souls a lot more palatable for players. A lot of what can be frustrating about difficult titles is how punishing death can feel. Thanks to faster storage drives and quickened data transfer speeds, you at least won't have to wait as long for another dance with death.

The clip serves as an example of how SSDs won't just make loading into a game faster, but can actually improve how a game plays in some instances. A challenge might be less deflating to fail if a player can quickly take another shot. That reduced wait could help keep them engaged with that title instead of pushing them toward another.

In fact, these improvements to load times almost make games feel as they did when cartridges reigned supreme. You didn't have to wait for a loading screen to wrap up before taking Mario on another jaunt in Super Mario Bros. It seems that, in some respects, video games are getting back to the basics.

The faster loading times afforded by SSDs will do more than make deaths less annoying. They'll make other features — previously held back by hard disk drives — a lot more responsive. They'll also make the act of actually launching a game a lot less tiresome.

Take Destiny 2's character menu as an example of something that'll be made better simply by the presence of the SSD. On the PlayStation 4, viewing your character and your gear often meant waiting while your guns and armor pieces populated. It was not a great experience, especially if you were in the middle of a battle and wanted to quickly change out one piece of gear for another.

With the PlayStation 5's SSD, this issue should become a thing of the past. The game won't have to search around a spinning disc to find the particular assets it's looking for, so items should load a lot more quickly. This will really help you if you need to switch weapons in the middle of a raid encounter.

Data transfer speeds should see improvements across the board, though, and that includes when you're simply starting a game. On today's consoles, you might go get a drink or use the restroom while a game goes through its initial load. It doesn't seem that games are going to start instantly — the speeds aren't there yet — but there should be a lot less waiting involved. You'll at least get into the action a lot more quickly than you ever did on a PS4.

With all the next-gen improvements coming in the PS5, console gaming seems poised to take a big leap forward. Many games on the platform will target a 4K resolution and a 60 FPS frame rate, which will put the machine on par with some really good gaming PCs. Sony is also doing some interesting work on the software side of things. The PlayStation 5's UI looks to be innovating in a number of key ways.

Playing games in 4K and at higher frame rates, while nice, aren't things that are new to console gaming, though. When it comes to identifying the features that are truly next-gen, Sony's decision to go with an SSD for storage — and its focus on faster data transfer speeds inside the console — could stand out the most. Above all else, the attention to faster load times could be the one thing players feel a real difference in compared to the previous generation.

Those eagerly anticipating the PlayStation 5 won't have to wait much longer to get their hands on it. The console launches on Nov. 12, 2020 at a price of $399 for the discless version and $499 for the standard version.