PS5 And Xbox Series X Loading Times, Compared (They’re Close)

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PS5 And Xbox Series X Loading Times, Compared (They’re Close)
Image: Sony / Microsoft / Kotaku

So far we’ve shown you how PS5 loads games very quickly and Xbox Series X and S load games very quickly. Long story short, both systems load next-gen games at ludicrous speeds while giving older games a little push. But in order to gauge how ludicrous is ludicrous, we needed to get a couple of next-gen games the two systems had in common.

We had hoped to do this comparison sooner, but there wasn’t much crossover between PS5 and Xbox Series X preview access games. Sony was all focused on Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Astro’s Playroom. Microsoft concentrated on impressive upgrades to older games like Forza Horizon 4 and several games that had Xbox Series X/S codes but wouldn’t have PS5 codes until closer to launch, like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion.

But now that we have the cross-platform games NBA 2K21 and Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition, we can finally pit the systems’ super-fast SSDs against each other. Oh wait, you blinked. We’ll do it again. First let’s test some Dante.

Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku

Though Devil May Cry 5 is an older game, this new Special Edition is all next-gen. It’s built for the new consoles, with improved graphics and support for framerates up to 120 frames per second (fps). Though I plan on upgrading to a faster monitor soon, the Xbox Series X and PS5 times below are running at 4K resolution and 60 fps. I measured the loading times between hitting “continue” and gaining control of your character. Thanks to Stephen Totilo and his little white box, we also have times for the Xbox Series S (though not at 4K, of course).

  • PlayStation 5: 4.01 seconds

  • Xbox Series X: 5.59 seconds

  • Xbox Series S: 6.95 seconds

Pretty fast, right? The takeaway here is that if you want to play Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition and you’re not doing it on a PS5, you are wasting precious seconds of your life. Or maybe it’s just “holy hell, these systems load games fast.” For another test, we also measured the time to get from the launch icon on the consoles’ respective dashboards to the start menu, hitting start to bypass the opening cinematic.

  • PlayStation 5: 19.52 seconds

  • Xbox Series X: 41.98 seconds

The hell? Double the load time? It seems the Xbox Series X took a little longer checking my network environment than the PS5 (it visibly lingered on the checking network screen), and there’s an extra prompt (press A on your controller) to go through.

Screenshot: 2K Sports / Kotaku Screenshot: 2K Sports / Kotaku

Now we turn to the world of sports, in the form of NBA 2K21. Sports games are notorious for having long loading times to get into games. All those players, and spectators, and court details, and ad banners take a while to load into memory. Or they did. Here’s hitting the button to launch a Play Now game, mashing through the prompts:

  • PlayStation 5: 6.92 seconds

  • Xbox Series X: 5.19 seconds

That’s hitting the “Play Now” button from the main menu to the point where we’re officially in the game, including any skippable opening animations. Seems unreal, right? I was so floored I made a GIF.

Gif: 2K Sports / Kotaku Gif: 2K Sports / Kotaku

That’s fast. Almost too fast, as I like to use the loading times in sports games to convince myself that I suck at sports and should be playing some fluffy anime junk instead. Here are times from the consoles’ UI icons to the main menu:

  • PlayStation 5: 14.43 seconds

  • Xbox Series X: 22.81 seconds

Not even enough time to make a bad sandwich. Please do not barrage me with sandwich speedrun videos.

Overall the Xbox Series X seems to take a little longer getting into games, but once inside the differences between the two consoles as far as loading speeds seem negligible. That’s likely to be an ongoing trend. While both systems boast their own special way of handling data access, they’re both primarily built from variations of the same AMD hardware, custom RDNA 2 GPUs and custom Zen 2 CPUs.

Basically, when it comes to next-generation console loading times, everybody wins. I can’t wait for Nintendo to announce a new version of the Switch that predictively loads games based on your neural impulses.

Comments

  • These results are why the older comparisons were basically useless – comparing software that wasn’t optimised for the specifics of new hardware was never going to give reliable results, and I wasn’t surprised to see Xbox come out on top given how much closer the the architecture of the new console is to the old one when compared to the slightly stranger architecture of the PS5.

    The raw speed of the PS5 SSD didn’t mean anything then, but now it starts to show what it can do now. I think it’s still something of a moot point, in game I expect there won’t be any real advantages to that SSD speed, but the reactions to those earlier tests seemed so out of touch with how a console should actually be judged. Hardware has to be judged alongside optimised software, otherwise it’s all conjecture.

    • Comparing load times is going to be quite difficult in more ways as well.. If Xbox has Quick Resume for the last 3-4 games and most players will be juggling between those games I would assume it would load quicker into your save state than the PS5 could, however from cold boot, the PS5 should always be quicker.

      • To complicate the comparison even more, PS5 has that new card system that (where supported) can load directly into specific levels/missions and bypass the main menu entirely.

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