Last night, we ran down how fast games load on the Xbox Series X and S. Today, we can do the same for the PlayStation 5, which will hit shelves next week (well, digitally). The short version? The PS5 is ridiculously fast, in some cases slashing comparable PS4 load times by nearly 50 percent. If that’s all you want to know—just how badly the PS5 would beat the PS4 in a footrace—hey, there you go.
For the past few weeks, four of us at Kotaku have spent a lot of time messing around with the PS5. Ian Walker and I—okay, mostly Ian; thanks, Ian!—busted out our iPhone stopwatches and crunched the numbers on how quickly some games load up. We thought it best to illustrate how long it takes you to get from the game’s icon on the PS4 or PS5 dashboard to actually having control of your character. In some cases, that meant pushing the X or Square buttons a couple times, to get through “continue” screens and the like, which you can rest assured we did as quickly as possible. Some potentially unaccounted-for milliseconds aside, here’s what we found.
When some PS5 launch games were first announced, it was unclear if they’d be PS5 exclusives or cross-gen games. In September, Sony announced that Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the console’s marquee launch games, would be available at launch on both the PS5 and the PS4. That allows us a unique opportunity: an exclusive, first-party, cross-gen game that can really illustrate the crafted-in-house speed differential between systems. That’s not something we were able to test on Xbox. Here’s how long it took to load into Harlem on:
- PlayStation 4: 1:22.32
- PlayStation 5: 15.58
Bugsnax—a game that, to my eternal chagrin, we’re still talkin’ about—is another cross-gen, console exclusive coming out in the launch window. Though it’s also en route to the Epic Games Store, we’ve only been able to compare the console versions so far. Here’s how long it took to load up a save file placed three steps into Bugsnax’s [redacted because of limits on what we’re allowed and not allowed to tell you today].
- PlayStation 4: 40.34
- PlayStation 5: 12.80
A PlayStation blog post from last month said that some PS4 games could see some increased load times on the PS5, but didn’t specify which games would benefit, or by how much. Every game we tested saw faster load times. Some were seriously impressive. Here, for instance, is what happened when we loaded the staggeringly large Red Dead Redemption 2. (Both of these load times are for the same save file.)
- PlayStation 4: 2:22.37
- PlayStation 5: 1:20.33
Bloodborne, which we similarly tested with an identical save file, also saw load speeds decrease by nearly half:
- PlayStation 4: 54.96
- PlayStation 5: 29.33
It won’t surprise you to learn that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a significantly shorter load time on the Xbox Series X and S than on the Xbox One. Turns out, it loads even faster on the PS5, but only by a Georgian margin. (Xbox fans, please direct yourself to your nearest Kotaku email address to request a recount.) For reference, we used a brand-new save point—placed in Kaer Morhen, after the intro cinematics and that indelible tub scene—as a benchmark for running comparisons across all systems.
- PlayStation 4: 1:18.85
- PlayStation 5: 46.88
- Xbox One S: 1:41.63
- Xbox Series S: 47.03
- Xbox Series X: 50.08
When next-gen consoles launch, Borderlands 3 will receive an upgrade that will increase performance across the board. That’s not available yet, but the PS4 version of Gearbox’s looter-shooter still benefits from the PS5’s beefed-up guts. Here’s how long it takes to load into Sanctuary III, the game’s main hub, from the console’s dashboard:
- PlayStation 4: 3:41.57
- PlayStation 5: 1:20.70
One major PlayStation exclusive, this summer’s distressingly relevant The Last of Us Part II, got a nice haircut. But, when we tried to load the same save file off of an external hard drive, something inexplicably went off the rails:
- PlayStation 4: 1:59.80
- PlayStation 5: 1:22.74
- PlayStation 5 (from an external hard drive): 5:49.68
Another PlayStation exclusive “got a haircut” in the same way I do when I ask my friends if they like it: Technically, yes, the hairs have been cut, but it’s so imperceptible as to not really make an overall difference. We’re talking, of course, about Ghost of Tsushima, an open-world game that loads so fast the developers had to purposefully hold it back. The game boots up just a bit faster on the PS5 than it does on the PS4:
- PlayStation 4: 1:09.97
- PlayStation 5: 1:03.20
A few weeks ago, while announcing a framerate of 60FPS for Ghost on the PS5, developer Sucker Punch suggested players would be impressed by the improved load times on PS5. Loading the game from a full stop is one thing. Sitting through in-game loading screens is another. Here’s how long it takes to open the world map and fast travel to Omi Village on:
- PlayStation 4: 11.36
- PlayStation 5: 8.18
A new generation of consoles is often marked by cool new features—things like Quick Resume, on the new Xbox consoles, which allows you to keep multiple games open at once (well, when it works). But another selling point is the boost you can get from the sheer horsepower upgrade. In that regard, the PlayStation 5 is very much a step into the next generation. Games load faster than they ever did on the previous machine, and often look better, to boot. As for how the system’s load times stack up to those of the Xbox Series consoles? A full analysis will have to wait for another day. So far, we haven’t received any advance copies of games for both next-gen platforms.
Note: 10:30 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this post listed a PS5 load time of 40 seconds for Spider-Man: Miles Morales. We briefly thought we’d erred, as a few of us on staff were getting 40-second loads, which included the initial logo-branded loading screens. After further testing, we repeatedly experienced 15-second loads without those screens. Insomniac says you’ll only see them the first time you play on PS5. It wasn’t our first time playing. We haven’t seen them since.