How the mandatory game install on PlayStation 4 works

PlayStation 4 hardware

For the first time ever, a home console will require mandatory game installations for all games. Which means that once you pop in your game disc, it automatically starts transferring data to the internal harddrive. This is exactly what the PlayStation 4 does, and PS4 creator Mark Cerny recently revealed some of the details behind that logic.

The big reason that games have to be installed on the harddrive is that it’s simply faster to access things from the harddrive compared to the Blu-ray drive. Despite the fact that the Blu-ray drive in the PlayStation 4 is 3 times faster than the one in the PS3, it’s still no match for the harddrive.

Game developers also complained to Sony about long loading times, so Sony simply went ahead and made sure that all games on the PlayStation 4 install automatically to the harddrive. The process happens automatically and runs in the background. According to Cerny, players will have to wait about 10 seconds the first time they start playing. After they start playing the transfer happens in the background while the game runs.

For example, Knack will take up 37 GB of disk space on the PlayStation 4, but players won’t have to transfer all of that at once. It happens seamlessly in the background as the game goes on.

As for storage space, Cerny says that they thought of automatically deleting the cache on the harddrive, since it takes up so much space. But they decided against it, and instead left it up to the user to delete game content on the console.

Most games seem to take up 30 to 50 GB of disk space on the console (Battlefield 4 takes up 35 GB, for example). Which means the 500 GB internal harddrive in the PlayStation 4 could get filled up pretty quickly.

Via Kotaku

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  • Joel

    Well, we finally found it.

    Something that sucks ass about the PlayStation 4.

    • opikal

      I love your comment 🙂

    • Deezy

      Sorry for the fanboy downvote but remember what it said. “Despite the fact that the Blu-ray drive in the PlayStation 4 is 3 times faster than the one in the PS3, it’s still no match for the harddrive… players won’t have to transfer all of that at once. It happens seamlessly in the background as the game goes on. ”

      I am happy to see that the 4 got more downloadable speed than the 3. Plus, you can still play while its downloading so there is no disappointment.

      “Cerny says that they thought of automatically deleting the cache on the
      harddrive, since it takes up so much space. But they decided against it,
      and instead left it up to the user to delete game content on the console.”

      In my opinion, I always looked at the HDD as a memory card that always comes with the console. need more space get another HDD like the memory card days. Thank God SONY made the HDD swappable (as long as the ps4 is off that is. safety precautions).

      • Zach Cruz

        The thing I don’t like about this is Sony storage… its ridiculously overpriced, the vita memory cards… outrageous pricing I do hope eventually they figure out someway through updates to allow other externals.

        • Nolawolf

          You dont have to buy a Sony hard drive. It just has to fit and be SATA II. And 5200 rpm

          • Zach Cruz

            nice, good to know I guess when I get to filling the harddrive Ill look more into it. Glad its not stuck to sony only storage.

          • Ian Cowley

            i love the markup pirces on those shitty 5200rpm HDDs.
            since when did console need upgrades?

            5200rpm? welcome to 2005 brothers.

            thats the whole point of a console, plug n play, no driver installs(updates), no upgrades, no messing around, simple.

            not so these days, none of them

          • Jorge Colon Serrano

            totally agree with your last statement….

      • Joel

        But the PS4 will only be able to hold around 10 games before you have to delete memory. I don’t like that.

        • Nolawolf

          You play 10 games at once?

          • Guest

            Where did you get that from his comment? He said he doesn’t like the fact that after 10 games you have to delete memory. Unless deleting the cached memory from each game doesn’t effect your game saved memory this will be a potential problem for some people after awhile.

          • Joshua

            Game cache and saved games are two separate items. Deleting the game cache won’t affect your saves in the slightest.

          • Paul Kmf Tubbs

            A lot of people switch between several games. What? You never get tired of playing the same game?

          • Rich Garriques

            it doesn’t matter that is beyond shitty they should not be controlling how many games we can play. and this ruins the whole idea of owning a home console cause a home console is meant for CONVIENCE. it is not convenient when every game you pop in you gotta install. you might as well just have a pc cause that is how pc operates. if they knew this was the case they should make better optical drives for faster loading times. id rather that then installing everything on the hdd any day. thus these consoles should be more expensive if so no wonder they are cheaper now cause they knew this from the beginning. they abandoned traditional home console gaming for mid range pc mechanics there should be an uproar for this.

          • Tao

            It installs whilst playing anyway.

            Should you be somebody that actually plays 10 different games at once, it’s not like you’re going to be sat for hours simply waiting for them all to install if you’re constantly deleting and reinstalling.

            Seriously, problem over nothing.

          • TheLight

            I have well over 100 games for my XBox 360 and haven’t used but a fraction of the hard drive that came with it. Can I do that with the PS4? No, I can’t because of the mandatory hard drive install that limits me to only having about 10 games on the system at a time before I have to delete something to make space for the next game that I buy. Whoever came up with this stupid idea should be shot through the head. The inconvenience of the mandatory hard drive install limiting the number of games I can have is far worse than putting up with slow load times.

          • Caleb Smith

            @TheLight:disqus A bit drastic there dontcha think? It’s easy to upgrade the hard drive on a PS4, and now it supports external storage.

    • bizzy gie

      I’m pretty sure Xbone will do this too.

      • Yusuf Leuer

        They said it would from the beginning.

        • James Robertson

          and yet now you see the xbox one that runs fast without the installing of a disc

          • Caleb Smith

            The XboxOne does the EXACT same thing buddy….

    • Andre R

      Xbox will not have that feature, that you can play the game while its installing.

      • James Robertson

        yes you can they said that months ago that it’ll have back ground downloading where you can install and play certain parts like the playstation

    • Brayden

      Hey Joel, this is just an idea, I’m anxious to see if it will work, but if you just only install the games that you are frequently playing, and decide to uninstall the ones you don’t, I don’t think all of your save data will be deleted as well, meaning TECHNICALLY you could install as many games as you wanted with a little bit of working around a flaw. Not sure if it will work, but if it does, I have no problem with a little bit longer startup and frequent install for superior performance

      Good job SONY.

    • Cesar Phillips

      lol well the xbox one got the same issue only the games take up more space and no removable harddrive

  • opikal

    I play shuffle enough as it is with my 320gb PS3, so PS4 will be worse? No usb storage either.

  • Madmagican

    Well it’s time to start investing in external hard drives

    • dividsmythe

      Why they’re not compatible with Ps4.

      • Madmagican


        • jfelts

          A bigger Internal Drive?

  • dividsmythe

    I’m going to put in a terrabyte HDD in mine hopefully day 1. I want to see how you get Playroom on new HDD. I know the kids will love that. At least when Ps4 comes out in UK we’ll have more knowledge from U.S.

  • Clairvius

    This doesn’t bother me that much seeing that i don’t have to wait but a few seconds for it to install before gameplay starts if it speeds up loading times im happy. I’m not one to put music or movies on my game systems i have a HTPC for that so all my HD space will be for gaming only and i doubt ill ever be playing more than 10 games at a time anyway i’ll just erase the installs as i complete the games guess it would be nice to drop a tb or 2 of hd space in there one day in the future but i don’t think ill need to do that

  • Mikey Styles

    Already had ordered my 1TB SSHD hybrid for the PS4 figuring this would happen. & when the 2TB Seagate/Samsung SSHD is available come real soon I’ll be using that. It’s not the best of news & its not the worst.

    • brian murphy

      thing about the 2tb it may not fit its alittle to thick hopefully they will make a thin one i know for awhile the 1tb was thicker also but they started making ones as thin as the normal sized ones they just dont fit in the caddy unless you want to run a cable from there and have it set outside of your console

      • Mikey Styles
        • brian murphy

          pretty sweet glad there making them thin hopefully i can grab one sometime before i end up getting a 1tb cause installing ps4 games and buying psn games you will run out of space pretty fast least with a 2tb you can keep most of your games on there and not have to delete them as often i tend to buy alot of games so i know ill need me one 1 good plus for the ps4 least it installs in the background as you play and your not stuck waiting

    • jfelts

      That is exactly what I did. This will be my first SSHD hybrid and I have heard great things. I expect very quick loading times, not only because it is a hybrid solid state but because the PS4 won’t have to check the disk after the install happens.

    • monty

      where did you buy the hard drive and could you please provide the link of one you bought?

  • Mikey Styles

    Just an idea for those who would want to change their HDD on the PS4 & it’s speculated to only be bout $200. Not bad @ all.

  • Ghostdoctor081

    people are making it out to be such a big deal . I understand that it is a inconvenience to us but it is looking like no matter which way you go (Wii-U,Xbox One, and PS4 ) you are going to need a extra HDD sooner and later. If putting a 500gig HDD to keep the consoles price as low as possible we will have to deal with it and i’m ok at that.

  • mojack411

    I may have missed this but do you still need to have the actual physical discs inside the drive to still play the game after it’s been installed or are you good to go without it and only need it again if you decide to uninstall and reinstall the game?

    • jfelts

      You have to have the disc in the drive to start a game. This way it knows that you have it and aren’t just handing it off to a friend to do the same thing.

      • mojack411

        Ok cool. That’s what I’m used to so this basically just means faster loading times. 10 games at once is plenty for me.

      • Takumi Nishijou

        Awesome! So that means the disc burner will not run constantly and make noise right?

  • bizzy gie

    I saw in a tear-apart video how easy it is to replace the harddrive. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

  • jfelts

    This is good news actually. For some reason I wasn’t expecting to be able to play a game for like 10 minutes after putting the disc in. 10 Seconds is pretty quick.

  • jfelts

    So when we install a new harddrive, will the system just boot up like normal or does it have to go through some process to get the UI and everything on it? I don’t remember reading anything on how that works.

  • Benjammin Carder

    Oh well, even if it was 10 games as once who plays 10 gamez at once. But well have to see how much it takes ourself when we get it on friday

  • RECKLESSgoat

    yeah, well then I will be waiting for a ps4 version with atleast 1 TB, or I wont get it, I usually fill up my harddrives with dlc so…

  • Gamer Mania

    Apparently, if you are in the USA (Not sure about Europe or Asia yet) you can phone up Sony to ask for an Update Disc that allows you to update your console even without an internet connection…. Unlike the Xbox 720p which NEEDS online to download and install the patch…

  • Yusuf Leuer

    The question is does game data, i.e. saved games, settings, and awards, saved in a different loctation? If so then you can delete the game if space fills up but still be able to put the disc in and play where you left off as it installs again later.

  • Andre R

    If you delete a game from the harddrive and then later want to play that game again. And having a saved game 70% in the game, i wonder if you can start the game, the it will install at the point that you are, or will it install like for the first time. And have to wait? Till its installed at you 70% point in the game.?

    • Vladdie Papov

      you have to wait


    Microsoft also has huge storage space installs but luckily it has the cloud so a hard drive isn’t really that important unless you just don’t trust the cloud servers. If you’re one of those people…sucks to be you I guess.

  • David P. Masse

    There obviously will be a setback on SONY. Companies aways believe they made the right choice until they realize it was a foolish thing to do. So they will send out updates to systems to fix the problem. Its common sense. Ignorant moves = loss of buyers

  • Nick

    I actually love this, as long as you only buy game disks, and let me explain why:

    When I plopped Killzone in, it took about 20 seconds for it to install before I could play it. Then it installed in the background. What this means is that you can basically delete game installs off your hard drive for other games, and when it finally comes time for that urge for Killzone, I just have to plop it in and wait 20 seconds.

    I am more willing to wait 20 seconds if I get to preform suspension on games and faster loading times.

  • ps4Matt

    If that the case then Its so easy to hack because hacker dont have to find how rip a game but only to find how to tell the console the disk is in. When its not.

  • hossein

    I want install games and play them with out disc what should I do????

  • hossein

    help me some one!!!!

  • WoodenSaucer

    They should have just automatically deleted the cache, and nobody would ever have noticed a difference.

  • Mipaol

    Since I plan on getting a 1.5TB hard drive (hopefully the PS4 supports even larger drives by Christmas) and going all digital this gen I’m cool with this, tired of getting my lazy ass up off the couch every time I wanna play a different game.

  • pete

    don’t sony use Samsung hard drives in the ps4?? you can buy any make of hdd if its compatable I would think

  • Emanuel Grammatikakis

    I have Lords Of the Fallen and I’m just sitting at the Portal while the bar has been at 25% and says I have to wait until the game finishes downloading.. there’s no other way to check. Highly annoying because I can’t tell if it’s actually installing or if the game is crashed.

    • WingsOfChicken

      Did you ever find a fix? I’m suffering the same

  • Tyler

    This feature sucks. I have six games and they’re pretty lengthy games and my hard drive is full. Can’t delete them because when I do it automatically installs again! Thanks playstation!

  • Scottie Ulon

    destiny is taking 10 hours , can i take it out and play something ? or does it have to stay in till its finished ?

  • TheLight

    Stupid idea. It might be OK if you only ever buy a few games over the life of a console but I usually have at least 100 games for each console that I buy before the they stop making it. Having to delete content from the drive to load a new game is unacceptable. I seriously hope Sony disables this “feature” as mandatory and makes it optional. Having the option of loading from Blu Ray would be much better for me and if I had known this before I bought the PS4, I might not have.

  • Darrin Tyler

    this is dumb. I’m out of space already. And All I got is 7 DISC games. I never even installed the games….I certainly don’t recall them being installed at all. I’m going to need 100TB HDD if this is true…..

  • Gowon Abba

    i need 2 crack my ps4 ,i need help on how 2 do that