Tell Us Dammit: Loading Times

I was sitting on my couch last night trying to play an innocent game of NBA 2K16 when it struck: the icon in the bottom right, letting me know how much longer I have to wait until I can get to the next menu that will let me get to the menu that lets me play my game.

It wasn't terminal; the whole process was probably over in just under 30 seconds. But sitting on that couch making me wait that long reminded me of the length of time all the other transitions took as effect.

So for today, I want you to tell us: how much are you prepared to tolerate when it comes to loading times?

The initial versions of Bloodborne stick out in my mind the most, since you saw those loading screens far, far more often than you wanted to. A loading screen of about 40 seconds might be tolerable if you only see it once or twice, but if it pops up a handful of times every session then your experience is soured significantly.

I'm also prescient of just how spoiled SSDs have made me, and the impracticality of pairing one with a console. The hybrid drives simply haven't offered enough speed for the performance, although I might have to upgrade the HDD anyway simply because I'm out of space.

Even then, there might not be a great deal of performance gains. Performance can be wildly inconsistent, too. I've seen benchmarks where installing a third party drive has resulted in slower initial loading times, and the bump from adding an SSD depends largely on the game. And it might be a case, like Bloodborne, that loading times improve of the lifecycle of this generation of consoles through patches or just continued development.

So how much is too much for you? What games were particularly offensive when it came to loading times? What's your limit?


    Loading times are annoying, but generally I can handle them provided there's always an indication of progress (required by consoles).

    What annoys me more is update times. I don't get the chance to play games all that often, so when I sit down at a game, especially a console game, after months of not playing there is nothing quite so annoying as being forced to download and install a massive update before I'm even allowed to play the single-player mode.

    There have been times where just waiting for an update has eaten through the majority of my available play time and I've turned off the console and done something else as soon as the update has finished.

      I schedule updates to happen during the early morning hours, so I have never had to wait for an update, and it goes on my 'off peak quota'.

        Can you do that on PS4? I'm always having issues of updates starting as I go to play the game :(

          Yep, certainly can on PS4. It used to require a PSN+ membership, but it's a standard feature now I think. Someone correct me If I'm wrong.

          You just have to make sure you allow automatic updates in settings and also leave your PS4 in Rest Mode when you power down. Just be aware that Rest Mode does use up power, although it is small.

      console makers don't factor in Australia shitty internet.

        What is wrong with our shitternet?

          Everything, this is coming from someone who just got NBN.

    Just cause 3 and loading times pop into my head. I've always been a fan of bethesdas loading screens

      Yeah! Even with the SSD JC3 is a bit of an arse... 15-20 second loads

      Try it in offline. The loading still hangs sometimes (a tap of the PS button seems to help) but most of the delays seem leaderboard related.

    Running on Wii U and there aren't much in the way of loading screens which I'm thankful for. I remember the last big PC game I played, Half Life 2 had some decent loading screens between areas.

    Come to think of it, the AC games on Wii U had fairly long loading times as well but they did let you play with the character so you could run in circles.

    I love how on Splatoon there are mini games to play while you are in the lobby. Just wish they were a little deeper, but it's rare to wait long.

      The wii u has done quite well. I got an xbone for Christmas and it has atrocious loading times, even in the horribly convoluted OS.

      Xenoblade's relatively zippy loading was incredibly noticeable, it countered the expectations engrained in me by the last few years of open world games.

      Devil's third however, has the most hilariously terrible loading times, and SO many of them! It loads the multiplayer portion, then loads the lobbies, then loads a match which turns out to be empty because noone is playing. So then you exit, which incurs another loading screen, before you start over again.

      There's also a terrible game on there, but you never need to see it.

    Every now and then I'll recall the GameCube days where one of its back-of-the-box features was "industry-leading load times!", and miss that being a thing to strive for. Bugs me that there's even loading times on cart games now, but what can you do.

    Anything over maybe 10 seconds starts to get annoying, really. Exponentially :P

    Can't really think of anything I've played recently that's had particularly long load times though. Unless you count waiting in the lobby for Splatoon, but that's a different thing. And at least there was always Squid Jump, until I managed to defeat it anyway.

      The door loading times on the downloadable method prime trilogy are worth buying it again for! So beautifully seamless.

      Every first party game had no loading times on the GameCube or very well hidden ones.

    Just got a 2nd SSD last month, so I'm back to 5-10 second loads on new games again. I get pretty fed up with more than 45 seconds; Skyrim in 2014 with 60 or so mods was giving me massive loads when launching a save file.

      Yeah, I had to go to an SSD too, having one in the main computers spoils you and I eventually cracked and put on in the console. Definitely made pretty much everything a *lot* faster.

    Loading times don't bother me much. Queue times on HOTS is another thing entirely.

    I don't know if it's because I went from SNES to PS1 and was just used to no loading. It felt like some of those loading screens went for 10 minutes, think Tomb raider was woeful.

    I pretty much built a computer to play Witcher 3. It is the only game I wanted to install on SSD while the rest are on SATAs.

    Now my question here is, what's the story with the interstitial 'story so far' screens and the actual static 'here's a tip with a nice picture' screens?

    I've just started, and coming to grips with the game means dying a lot. I get that.

    I've seen more 'my dear friend Geralt is looking for Yennefer' stuff than I'd like, but the actual loading screen is not even up for five seconds before I'm back into a game.

    Obligatory, my household's favourite Wii U game:

    We dance to this while waiting for the long load times.

    I'm not joking.

    I just find it amusing that in this day and age we still have loading screens and while they aren't as bad as waiting for a C64 game to load they're still long enough to let you complete a micro-task or two. Lucky that mini game patent ran out. I'm generally tolerant of half to 1 minute loading screens if they are infrequent but if it's like Bloodborne where you can face that screen several times in quick succession then that's enough to kill my enthusiasm for a game. Unless you do something like the Bayonetta games and give me something to do then I'll never notice I'm waiting.

      I remember waiting 45 minutes for Mediaeval Combat to load from cassette on my Atari 400, so things have improved somewhat :)

        Oh, man... cassettes... 45mins of loading, crossing all your fingers and toes hoping that it's successful and your data isn't corrupt.

        And those random seizure-inducing bars of colour that flashed the entire freaking time. Good times.

        Last edited 14/01/16 12:58 pm

    I blame load times for dampening some of my enthusiasm for Bloodborne.

    Load times are boring. I spent a lot of time being bored. I don't play games to be bored.

    It was actively affecting the routes that I chose to take to get to places because transitioning to the Hunter's Dream then to another zone was probably going to be a fuckload more tedious than simply walking and fighting my way there and getting some bonus souls blood echoes along the way.

      Anything where you die frequently really needs sharp loading times. Dying is annoying enough in the first place, when you’re 30 seconds or more in a game like that you can spend 50% of your play time looking at a loading screen.

      EA Sports UFC is another game that’s badly damaged by the load times.

      It’s the kind of thing I would boot up for a quick fight or two (it’s on my Xbone HDD), but by the time you load the game, then connect to EA’s servers, then load the menu, then the character select screen, then the pre show, then the walk outs, then the fight….. it takes well over 5 minutes.

        Came here to say that EA's UFC is SOOOOO bad with loading times, it easily doubles the amount of time you play the game cause a short match can be just as long as the load to get there.

        Also going to point out AC:Syndicate.... it's not insanely long, but at least 15-25 seconds... so if you're in an area where you die it's so annoying waiting for this constant load.

    iRacing's latest track takes a while to load off a SATA drive, not sure on SSD load times for the same track.

    I can sit on my phone for a good few minutes waiting for it to load up!

    Generally, I can tolerate a loading screen so long as the loading time doesn't get too excessive. However, my definition of "excessive" is very dependant on the type of game I'm playing and how often a loading screen is required.

    One game I got quite cranky at was Dishonored Definitive Edition on the PS4. It's the type of game that encourages re-loading to try out different strategies. Personally I found the loading times far too long for a game that had been ported to a "next-gen" system.

    Last of Us on ps3. Never timed it but the initial load could easily have been over 5 mins, maybe even 10 mins at times. Sometimes I reckon the load failed and then it had to start again. It would get to 80% and then drop to 0% and start all over. And it counted to 2 decimal places as well. WTH.

    Loading up multiplayer and synching the game with the servers for the first time (or even after having not played it for a few weeks) meant a 20 min load time for me. After that it was normal.

    It only got away with it because once you were in the game proper there was never another load screen. Made going for the platinum intolerable at times.

    Put the tape in the C64 cassette player, and press play, wait 20 minutes for it to load into memory. Play the game for 30 sec and die, press play on the tape and wait another 20 minutes ...

    Don't complain about loading times to me boy!

    Apart from The Last of Us I haven't noticed them too much lately, until I bought AC: Syndicate. Oh my god. I'm used to making the camera spin around the characters while waiting for AC games to load but I can't do it with this one on account of making myself dizzy!

      Oh yeah, Syndicate's a terrible culprit. I actually opt to fast travel to the train whenever I want a toilet break or to do something else for a few minutes.

    I think loading times will eventually be a relic of what might be considered the first era of video games.

    We all forgive them, but I don’t think we realise how damaging they are to the medium. Could you imagine films stopping to pause between scenes?
    I was playing Alien Isolation last night with my missus watching (she was doing other stuff), and it just breaks any sense of cinematic immersion when the game stops to load.

    Metal Gear Solid V is insane for loading screens (and forced downtime which might be concealing additional loading). I might play it for two hours and only be hands-on for about ninety minutes of that time. It takes my PS4 upwards of three minutes just to connect to the server.

      I found all the menus load SO MUCH FASTER if you opt to go offline during regular solo play. You can go back to main menu and enable online again for certain base-related upgrades and your daily login reward, but for the most part the game is significantly better and faster if played offline.

        Yeah, but I instantly go into the red if I'm logged off, which means I can't Fulton and all my soldiers get sick and grumpy. Bloody useless system.

        If only it wasn't otherwise so freaking fun to play.

    Load times are a blight on this world. They, along with the other rigmarole that comes with firing up a modern big game (booting up, signing in, updates, tutorials, cutscenes, legal disclaimers etc) are what puts me off even playing them a lot of the time.

    Like, I could go into the other room and fire up Red Dead Redemption, but it'd be a good two minutes from now before I was actually playing the game. Which isn't a lot of time, but it's enough to repel me. Whereas if it was already up and running and all I had to do was pick up the controller and start shooting, I'd probably go and play it for a good hour or two.

    I mean, look at Super Meat Boy. It's the instantaneous resurrections that keep you glued to the controller. If there was even a 3-second loading delay in between deaths, the game would lose 90% of its playability and be a frustrating slog.

    In the future load times will be eliminated almost entirely and we'll look back on having to wait 30 seconds as being hopelessly archaic, the way we laugh about cassette games now. But I'm already at that stage, I suppose in part because I was there for the early cart games which were lightning fast and we've only gone backwards since. Interactive load screens would be a fine stopgap solution, except apparently some company owns the rights to that concept and won't let anyone else do it.

    The Sherlock game that came out on PS Plus PS3 to me about 4 minutes every time I moved between locations. Soured my experience.

    Not so much load screens, but...

    Press A to skip/continue.
    FF XIII you had to press 'A' 14 times to finally get to the game.
    So many skip intros, skip movies, continues, loads, confirms, etc...

      Oh I have this issue with Lego games - your trying to set up a legovgame for your child - you want to turn it on and walk away but no there's 7 prompts to get through first! Why are different save files when the consoles just have different profiles - is that to accomodate the Wii?

    Mass Effect.
    Deleting the transition animations fixed it.

    Load times have never bothered me usually a good chance to do some other minor task while waiting.

    I do remember years ago reading a comment where someone complained a WWE game loaded too fast as he was unable to make a sandwhich in time before it loaded up, Sadly he was not joking.

    Thing that annoys me in NBA2K16 is that you can't turn off the post game show..that shits me..I don't give a crap, I just wanna play my next game or spend my VC

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