The PS5’s hard drive is a bit short on space. One solution to rectify that, you’d think, would be to move your next-gen games to an external drive. But unfortunately that won’t be an option at launch.
This is something that’s come around before, but it’s a question that I’ve seen users ask in the Kotaku Australia comments and on social media quite frequently. The PS5’s 667GB internal drive can be eaten up super quickly, whether it’s by downloading next-gen games or working your way through what’s on offer in the PlayStation Plus Collection.
The good thing, at least for those picking up a PS5 today (or buying one) is that PS4 games can be moved, and played off, an external USB drive. The best option here is probably a portable SSD. I’ve been using an older Samsung T5 1TB SSD, but the more recent T7 also has good speeds and doubles nicely as a scratch drive for gameplay recording. (The T5 is better bang for your buck, however, and if you’re just storing a lot of older titles that already load pretty quickly, then the T5 is totally sufficient. It’s going for $179 at Bing Lee right now.)
Whatever SSD you use, you’ll need to have it formatted as Extended Storage, which you can do through the PS5’s Storage settings. But even then there’s a catch: PS5 games can’t be moved to an external drive.
Sony spelled this out in a major blog, adding that they were looking at fixing the issue in a future patch:
No, players cannot transfer PS5 games to a USB drive. PS5 games must be stored on the console’s internal ultra-high speed SSD for gameplay. Explorations for allowing players to store (but not play) PS5 games on a USB drive in a future update are underway.
It makes sense why you can’t play games on a USB drive — there simply aren’t drives with the speed capable of matching the PS5’s internal NVMe drive (not to mention the efficiency of its custom built I/O controller). That’s also why Sony hasn’t published a compatibility list for its expandable storage, because the market simply doesn’t have enough drives with sufficient overhead to keep pace with the console’s current speed.
However, not being able to move games to an external USB is unfortunate. Next gen games are already getting pretty beefy in size. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War weighs in at a hefty 130GB. The next-gen version of NBA 2K21 is 114GB. And even last gen games could be pretty enormous, like Final Fantasy 7 Remake which was more than 90GB.
Hopefully, that system software update will come pretty quickly. Even though some next-gen titles like Godfall and Spider-Man: Miles Morales aren’t that big, even compared to PS4 and Xbox One games, it’s not hard to eat up that PS5 space.
Active file management is just going to become part of life of the next-gen consoles — and that includes the Xbox Series S and X too. Some gamers were already on the front foot about this, but if you’re the kind who would just install games to your PS4 or PS4 Pro hard drive and not really think about how much room was left, sorry. You’re going to have to do a little more work this time around.