Xbox Series X SSD is even changing how Microsoft approaches load screens

Eric Abent - May 8, 2020, 1:56pm CDT
Xbox Series X SSD is even changing how Microsoft approaches load screens

In regards to the Xbox Series X, much ado has been made about the console’s SSD. In fact, from the very first time Microsoft officially talked about the console, Xbox Series X engineers have been hyping up that SSD. We’re promised a machine where game loading is much faster than what we’ve seen before (at least when it comes to consoles), as well as one that can suspend multiple games at once – even, potentially, through system reboots.

As it turns out, though, that SSD is forcing Microsoft to reconsider something that would usually be innocuous: boot animations. Though we don’t see them as often as we used to since modern consoles have sleep modes that don’t require a full shutdown, both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both have boot animations. The Xbox Series X will have a boot screen as well, as it’s probably safe to assume that the PlayStation 5 will too.

A few days ago, Microsoft revealed the boot animation for the Xbox Series X, which is definitely a lot more relaxed than the boot animation for the Xbox One. With an SSD at the core of this console, though, Microsoft ran into an interesting problem, as Xbox Series X development lead Jason Ronald explained in an interview with Eurogamer that the boot animation didn’t need to be very long because the console booted up too quickly in the background.

“Ironically, this was one of the interesting design challenges we had,” Ronald explained. “The Xbox Series X boots so fast there was an open question of how long does that boot animation need to be?”

Ronald went onto say that the team didn’t want to slow the console down just to fit in a boot animation, so apparently what we see in that video embedded above is an animation plays as quickly as the console boots. If nothing else, it sounds like we can expect that the console won’t linger on the Xbox logo for too long once the boot animation is finished, assuming that the console starts up as fast as Ronald suggests that it does.

Ronald also talked about loading times with the Xbox Series X, saying, “It’s funny – maybe the first time I played a game was on the Xbox Series X, and I don’t even realize the game has load screens until I play it on a current generation console.”

While he was quick to clarify that he can’t promise “the complete end of loading,” he did add that one of Microsoft’s goals with the Xbox Series X is to “remove all friction from the player’s experience,” whether that’s loading screens in a game or a boot animation that lingers on the Xbox logo while the console starts up in the background.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a number of games launching on the Xbox Series X, though all of the titles revealed are coming from third-party developers. We’ll get our first look at the upcoming first-party games from the companies under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella in July, so stay tuned for that.


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