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Plugged In

Sony exec explains PS4’s small hard drive, limited launch lineup

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The PlayStation 4 has a space problem - one that could get more significant in the near future.

The console ships with a 500 gigabyte hard drive - of which 409GB are useable - and requires all games to be installed to that drive. If you pick up Killzone, Battlefield 4 and Assassin's Creed 4 at launch, that will devour nearly 95 GB more. At that rate, it won't be long before core gamers have to do some significant housekeeping - deleting games to make room for new ones. It's not exactly an optimal situation.

Adam Boyes, vice president of publisher relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America, says he isn't worried, though - and says players shouldn't be either.

"I feel like 500 GB is plenty," he says. "You could probably install every launch game and have plenty of space left over."

While that may be true, it doesn't leave a lot of room for future titles, like Infamous: Second Son and Destiny.

While it's possible to physically swap out the PS4's hard drive, few users are likely to do that. The Wii U allows owners to attach an external hard drive, but for now, the PS4 does not. But Boyes hinted that could be changing down the road.

"The way we approach every aspect of the platform is we look at consumer demand and what they're looking for and make a task list," he says. "It's a living, breathing platform. We're building services around it to make sure we react to people's feedback. ... Over time you will absolutely see a ton of evolution."

And players who wait to buy a system are likely to see the size of the internal drive increase as well. The launch versions of the PlayStation 3 had hard drives boasting a mere 20GB-160GB of storage. Current models have 500 GB.

"Over time, we're going to fix it," he says. "We’ve never stuck with the hard drive specs for more than a year or two, so I definitely can see some evolution of that over time."

So why the relatively small hard drive at launch? Boyes says the company had to draw a line in the sand - and that was the choice. Sony was more interested in investing in the CPU, GPU and system RAM.

Storage issues aren't the only concern Sony is having to address as the PS4 rolls out. Many outlets have criticized the initial slate of games that are accompanying the console to market.

Boyes doesn't seem surprised by this - but says what he’s seen in the pipeline has him truly excited.

"The first half of next year is going to be bananas," he says. "We've got Destiny coming; we’ve got Elder Scrolls Online coming; we've got Thief coming. I think the challenge when you have the first batch of games for a new console is that they just scratch the surface of what's possible. They aim for high graphics and integration and that sort of thing. Being able to sit, as a developer, with the console in your development environment for a year or two and think about, ‘how can I use every aspect?’ … That’s when it’s really going to come alive."

He also points to Sony's outreach to the independent game development community. Not only will this give the system a wider array of games beyond the big-budget franchises, he says, but it also ensures that Sony doesn't get caught in an echo chamber as it looks to evolve the PS4.

"The thing about working with the big publishers is they're not always going to give you the feedback you're looking for," he says. "Whereas independent developers, whether through Twitter or yelling from the top of a mountain, they're going to tell you the straight business about what the issues are."

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