Load times have become a big talking point over the last few months. It all started when we got our first PS5 details, learning that Sony's next-gen machine will utilise a custom solid state drive that should dramatically reduce things like loading times. There was also the Marvel's Spider-Man demo, which showed the game running on hardware comparable to the eventual PS5. Its load times were cut down to less than a second.
Following the trend, Microsoft had developers talk of load times when it teased Project Scarlett at this year's Xbox E3 press conference. Reduced load times is clearly going to be marketing bullet point for the next generation of consoles.
Adding to the conversation is a new patent from Sony. It details technology that, in theory, could kill off loading screens completely. The patent is titled 'System and method for dynamically loading game software for smooth game play', and it outlines a system that monitors the player's location so that it knows when to load in a new area. Of course, all loading would take place in the background, so at least in concept, you'd never have to sit through a loading screen.
“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 another game environment are loaded into a memory when the character crosses the load boundary, such that game play is not interrupted," the patent explains.
As is always the case with patents, you should never peg them as an inevitable reality, but it's this kind of tech that companies like Sony and Microsoft will have been exploring as they ready their next-gen machines. There's certainly a chance that this patent could give us a glimpse into what the PS5 is capable of.