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PS5 External Storage Is Useless Right Now

You can only fit so much data in a console's hard drive before it completely fills up, at which point you have two options. You can either transfer files to an external storage drive — after you shell out the money for one — or you can start purging unwanted data. Both options are equally viable on the Xbox Series X (thanks partially to an expensive memory card), but currently it's one and not the other for the PlayStation 5.

Many critics have gotten their hands on PS5 review copies, including Digital Foundry. While testing the console's capabilities, the site made a concerning discovery. Apparently, you can't transfer PS5 games off the console's SSD. Once the drive is full, you're unable to install more games without deleting old ones, and you can't reinstall old games without deleting new ones. It doesn't matter if you try to transfer games onto an external HDD or SSD because neither option works. This information comes on the heels of news that the PS5's SSD expansion slot won't work at launch, which is bound to sour the moods of many gamers.

However, Digital Foundry's announcement isn't all bad news, as it only applies to PS5 games. If you install PlayStation 4 titles, you can easily place them on an external drive for cold storage. Moreover, if you have an external hard drive plugged into your console, you can preemptively save yourself a headache and automatically install PS4 games onto that drive. This download option might preserve SSD space at first, but eventually you will run out of room. If you can't install more memory or shift game data over to an external drive by then, you will have to participate in some game file culling if you want to install new titles.

However, deleting PS5 game data isn't necessarily the end of your journey. If you want to reinstall a game and pick up at a later date, Sony will automatically archive save files on the cloud — if you subscribe to PS Plus. If you don't have an active subscription, you'd better make triply sure you don't plan to play a game again before you delete it. If you redownload that game, you will have to start from scratch.

Digital Foundry is concerned over the current PS5 storage shortage. A general lack of overall space, combined with the inability to store next-gen games for later, doesn't bode well for the console's initial reception.