There is nothing more annoying than waiting for the next scene or area of a console game to load, but a new patent for the PlayStation 5 could indicate that loading screens will soon be a thing of the past. Sony's next-generation console, the PlayStation 5, already has an impressive list of features and specs, including backward compatibility and support for 8K resolution.
However, the hardware of the PS5 is where the system truly excels. The PS5's GPU will use brand new RDNA architecture developed by AMD with eight cores of the Zen 2 microchip. Its graphics card will be a custom version of Radeon's Navi line. Most importantly, though, the PS5's SSD drive, which has a raw bandwidth that is more than any SSD currently available for PCs, would allow the PS5 to load data over 15 times faster than the PS4 Pro. This is all part of a commitment by Sony to make loading screens obsolete.
Sony has now taken a further step in making loading screens disappear. A new patent filed by the company, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, details how a gaming system, such as the PS5, could divide up game areas to enable smoother loading and transitions between scenes and areas. This would create a system that would allow gamers to move around in the game from one area to another without any loading screens between those areas. According to the patent, here's how that would work:
"A system and method are disclosed for dynamically loading game software for smooth game play. A load boundary associated with a game environment is identified. A position of a character in the game environment is then monitored. Instructions corresponding to a next game environment are loaded into a memory when the character crosses the load boundary, such that game play is not interrupted."
Microsoft likely has a similar technique in mind for its next-generation console, the Xbox Scarlett. This technology could also benefit cloud gaming, which has slowly become more of a reality, especially now that Microsoft and Sony have teamed up to work on Microsoft's cloud computing service Azure. Although the current generation of consoles has done better than its predecessors with loading times, the mid-game loading screen is often still a necessity, albeit an annoying one.
Sony's patent is a literal game changer and will create a gameplay experience that's even more enjoyable than what current consoles offer. Some in the industry might argue that next-gen consoles are only offering more of the same, but that's not true if the dreaded "loading" message goes away and gameplay becomes more seamless. With the release of the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett only about a year away, this patent is excellent news for console players who are tired of waiting for the next scene or area to load.