As the install sizes of games have gotten bigger, storage space on consoles has become more important, so it’s something of a relief to know that in the next generation Microsoft is aiming to offer players a bit more control over the space their games take up.
Speaking on the recent Xbox podcast (via GamesRadar), Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald said that when it comes to the Xbox Series X and the Series S it’ll be possible to selectively uninstall parts of some games in order to free up storage space. This is, however, dependent on a game’s developer opting in to make use of the feature.
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“Even beyond the hardware, we've actually made user interface improvements to make it easier for you to manage your storage. As an example, one of the new features we're adding is actually for, if a title chooses to support it, the ability to selectively uninstall different components of the game.”
“Let's say you play a campaign as an example, and then you want to focus exclusively on multiplayer,” Ronald explained, “If the developers chose to support it, you can actually uninstall the campaign itself, so that you can be more in control of how you're actually using your storage, so you really get the most benefit out of the available storage that you have.”
Not an Xbox exclusive
This level of control isn’t a feature that will be exclusive to Xbox, however. Speaking to Wired in 2019, Mark Cerny said that the PS5 will allow for more “configurable installation” as it’ll offer “finer-grained access” to game data rather than treating it “like a big block”. Wired itself clarified that this would mean, for example, the ability to only install a game’s multiplayer or install everything and then delete the single player campaign once it’s completed.
In fact, although Sony and Microsoft are highlighting it for their next-gen consoles, this modular approach to installation is actually something we’ve seen crop up in some form in a few current generation games, showing that developers are interested in using it. As the size of Modern Warfare, for example, has swelled, console players have been able to choose parts of the game to uninstall in order to make it more manageable.
The storage of the next generation consoles has been a topic of discussion recently after it was revealed that 802 GB of the Xbox Series X’s internal 1TB SSD will be free to use, while some install sizes on the PlayStation Storefront made it clear that games aren’t going to be getting any smaller.
It’s safe to say that in a world of large live service games, more control over installation and storage is appealing and we can only hope that with Sony and Microsoft pushing it as a feature of their next generation consoles we’ll see it become more commonplace and more streamlined.