PlayStation 4 has 'very large' hard drive

Sony teases size of hard drive for next-gen platform; new "play-as-you-download" feature aims to alleviate frustrations over loading screens.

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Today during a PlayStation 4 panel at the Game Developers Conference, Sony teased that the next-generation platform will have a "very large" hard drive. Senior staff engineer at Sony's strategy team Chris Norden offered the tease, but would not give a specific figure.

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"There's also going to be a very large hard drive in every console," Norden said.

Also during Norden's hour-long PS4 discussion, he explained that the system is designed around features and specifications that core gamers expect from a next-generation platform. At the same time, however, he made clear the PS4 should also be fun and accessible for the entire family.

Norden also spoke of a "new paradigm" in gaming when everything and everyone is connected. He explained that in the PS4 generation, even the traditional single-player experience becomes a connected experience through in-game services and features.

One example Norden provided was a feature that allows players to see in-game choices their friends made in real-time. This was shown in the context of Heavy Rain, allowing the player--when confronted with a choice--to see how their friends reacted to the situation.

Another point Norden pressed in his talk was the overhaul of the PlayStation 3 download process for the PS4. He opened up on the platform's new "play-as-you-download" feature that allows gamers to start playing a game almost immediately after they make a purchase.

This is made possible by games being split into "chunks," the first of which is small enough to download "pretty much immediately" so players can get started right away. Sony will encourage developers to create a bare minimum amount of data for this first chunk, which could be an introduction movie or a character creation menu, among other things.

This is all an effort to minimize time spent looking at loading screens, which was a pain point on PS3, Norden said.

"What we want to do is be able to have people play the game immediately. We don't want to have people sit there and wait like you did on the PS3," Norden said. "Let's say you initiate a download and then you go off and make a sandwich or go out to dinner and then come back and hope it's finished downloading. And then you have to wait for another install. We don't want that anymore. That's just not a good user experience."

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