The PS5’s storage space is a worrying mystery

There are six weeks to go until the launch of next-generation consoles and the amount of actual PS5 storage space is still a mystery. Prospective buyers don’t yet know how much of it will be taken up by the PS5 OS — and this could present a big problem further down the line.

In recent days, the Xbox Series X has been explored in greater detail. Next-gen console information has already shown that the PS5 has slightly less powerful specs than the Xbox Series X, and that its SSD is smaller, too. What is not yet known, however, is how much of that space can actually be used for games.

How the PS5 storage space compares with Xbox Series X

PS5 storage space Xbox Series X expandable storage

The PS5 storage space will be 825 GB, which is 175 GB less than the Xbox Series X’s storage space of 1 TB (1,000 GB). However, this one number alone does not detail the full scope of the problem.

As IGN reports, 198 GB of the 1,000 GB available on the Xbox Series X is used for the console’s operating system. That’s 21 GB less space taken up by the operating system when compared with the Xbox One X, a notable improvement for Microsoft’s next-gen console.

Will the PS5 OS use a similar amount of space? The PS5 will be making use of some serious data compression that will show a marked improvement over its predecessor, but there are still no firm details on how much space will be available for gaming.

How much space will the PS5 OS use?

PS5 storage space SSD OS size front

A portion of the PS5 storage space will surely be reserved for the console’s operating system. This means that gamers will not have all of the 825 GB SSD available for storing actual games and apps. In the era of games taking up a huge amount of storage space, this is information that needs to be revealed sooner rather than later.

While Mark Cerny’s ‘The Road to PS5’ talk was not well-received by casual viewers, Cerny used the event to reveal key PS5 information, including that it will be much more efficient with its use of storage space due to better data compression.

“[Kraken is] like zlib’s smarter cousin,” Cerny said during ‘The Road to PS5’ talk, referring to the PS4’s use of the ‘zlib’ data compression scheme. “Simple. Similar types of algorithms, but about 10% better compression which is pretty big; that means 10% more game on the UHD Blu-Ray disk or on the SSD.”

PS5 OS space vs. PS4 OS space

As Mark Cerny revealed, the PS5 will have 10% better data compression. That allows Sony and other developers to fit more data into the same amount of space. What does this mean for the PS5 OS?

When the PS4 first launched, it took up a total of 93 GB for its OS. That represented nearly 20% of the 500GB of available storage space on the PS4. If the PS5 has a similarly-sized operating system, that would leave us with 732 GB of usable space (assuming no major improvements in data compression). With games like Marvel’s Avengers taking up a hefty chunk of the SSD, next-gen console owners may only be able to fit a small number of games on the console.

A smaller operating system could close some of the storage space gap between the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but that’s not something that can be said for certain. And that’s the problem in a nutshell: prospective buyers need to know how much actual storage space the PS5 will give them, so that they know just how many games they can install on the hardware.