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Solid State Disaster: An Exorbitant Fee for Additional Space

The NVMe SSD Debacle

Oh 128KB Memory Card, Where art thou?...

Okay before I get ahead of myself, I was completely aware that it was going to cost a kidney for additional space on PlayStation 5. Hell, the XBOX Series X had the answer to the problem right out of the gate with its customised 1TB Seagate expansion pack, encasing a weirdly manufactured NVMe that simulated the classic memory card of yesteryear. As for Sony fans, it’s been a long time coming but we finally have an answer. Is it the ideal, or convenient one we had hoped for? Let’s not get hasty now; it’s more a matter of having the ability to expand our units problematic 635GB disk size, to a potential 4TB – if you’re willing to donate organs that is. In an ideal world, the PlayStation 5 would have launched at a healthy, sizable 1TB base model with a premium SKU at a slightly larger 2TBs. But here we are, copping the brunt of an early generation’s misfortunes.

There’s also the asterisk of deconstructing your PS5 to reach the NVMe slot – for those unaware, it sits next to your disc drive – meaning you will have to disconnect your unit, flip it over on its belly, get yourself a trusty phillips head precision screwdriver, not one of those thick boys your dad’s got lying around in the shed, the fancy ones that come in a flip case, unscrew the plate, carefully connect the drive, secure that bad boy, but wait… that’s not all you will need. For those knowledgeable in the PC master race, would inform you noobs that you’re going to need to cool that sucker down some way. You would hate to see it overheat and be placed in front of a portable air-con now, right? (Inside joke). Yes, you will need the addition of a heat sink, that comes with a neat thermal pad to apply above your brand-spanking new $800AUD SSD.

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Oh, did I forget to mention price? I mean that’s the basis of this feature. You could audibly hear the alarm bells going off in every PlayStation fans mind when they read the price tag of these “specialised” SSD’s. Paying the price of a second PlayStation 5 to simply expand the memory of your existing unit? And here we were in November of 2020, scoffing at XBOX’s Storage solution coming in at a lofty $359AUD. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an expensive solution, but out of the two there’s a clear winner. XBOX were on the ready to re-invent the wheel as it were, in refining and re-establishing the “Memory Card” proprietary solution. Again, not ideal looking at it from a universal deal but it does the job, and if anything does it with the casual consumer in mind. I’m flabbergasted by Sony’s oversight in simply allowing their operating system to consume a great portion of pre-existing memory, to the point where players need to recycle through their library and continuously delete games.

Let’s wind back to E3 2013, where XBOX were categorically chastised for their attempt to lock-out their loyal fanbase under the guide of then President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, Don Mattrick. PlayStation were deploying a commercial campaign to annihilate the competition, and of course the one that stands out in everyone’s mind is Adam Boyes and Shuhei Yoshida poking fun at XBOX’s impending DRM lockout. I feel as if it has now come full circle, simply biting PlayStation in the ass, with XBOX Boss “Big Daddy” Phil Spencer, leading the emerald brand in smoking their competitor in every consumer friendly presentation possible. XBOX touting their own fan’s hilarious memes. This is how you sit your PS5 Horizontally? Well, XBOX have the answer and it only takes two seconds. This is how you expand the memory of your PS5? XBOX have that answer, and for the fraction of the cost, it takes two seconds.

Now you can simply say, “Oh Dash, you’re being petty”, but in no way am I embellishing the fact that our hobby is becoming a demanding luxury – a costly one at that. We already have it rough here in Australia, where new releases are currently sitting around the $120AUD RRP, and sure they see a price dip sometime afterwards, then there’s the fact that you have a better chance of getting the Pfizer jab than a PlayStation 5 (get vaccinated you scrubs), but my concern here is expenditure for no guarantee that PlayStation may, or will re-release models further in the future that entail larger hard drive space for less money. The PlayStation 4 Pro was updated with updated hardware, and a larger HDD at a cheaper price tag than its fathering unit back in November of 2013. However, demand is far exceeding supply in PlayStation 5 hardware at the moment, so it’s uncertain that we may see this happen anytime soon.

But we’re at a crossroads here, and it’s getting down to the wire. Not only are we going to have to upgrade our units, it will be imperative for playing future titles on the PS5. We saw this with such titles as Red Dead Redepemtion II, The Last of Us Part II and Final Fantasy VII: Remake, all demanding a hefty chunk of tasty bytes, which ultimately lead to fans having no other choice but to upgrade their units so late into the generation’s lifecycle. You have to remember, just because we’re seeing obstructive features such as long load times, texture pop-in and other annoying caveats eradicated, does not guarantee that it will stay that way for the entirety of this console generation. Games are getting larger, more demanding, and the hardware we utilise will only bear the brunt of its capabilities for so long until the kettle reaches boiling point.

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So yeah, it will mean more hardware addons in the future. It will mean more money spent on our home consoles, just as it were a PC, and will mean the potential of a PlayStation 5 Pro, or XBOX Series XXX? Who knows? Regardless, a stalemate for fans that are willing to fork out such extraordinary premiums for the sake of extra space. As it stands right now, it’s more beneficial to simply clean house, recycle your games, keep your hardware healthy and free from potential disaster and wait this period out in hopes of seeing another hardware revision. For those that are impatient, I understand. 

I really do. As a reviewer that tends to receive titles via code redemption, it does frustrate me that I have to delete titles that I may be playing at my own leisure to fit another on the unit, but I personally cannot find it feasible to spend $400AUD – $800AUD on an NVMe drive, just to fit an extra game or two without deleting unused titles for the sake of keeping my existing library, digitally dusting while it could be stored on the cloud. 

Oh and the other feature, right… Trophies suck.

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