Sony has patented a new technology that will help remove loading screens from games that use it.The patent, titled ‘System and method for dynamically loading game software for smooth game play’, describes a technology that loads in data in advance in order to prevent load screens.

The patent explains that the system can monitor the player’s character, and use this information to load in new areas in preparation as the player approaches them.

“A load boundary associated with a game environment is identified. A position of a character in the game environment is then monitored. Instructions corresponding to another game environment are loaded into a memory when the character crosses the load boundary, such that game play is not interrupted,” the patent describes.

Effectively, this means if the game detects that you’re approaching the boundary of the environment that is currently loaded, it can load the next environment into a standby memory module and then instantly display it when you eventually reach the boundary, rather than sending you to a load screen or a ‘transition room’, such as Mass Effect’s elevators.

This patent is an unsurprising filing considering one of the PS5 specs is a bespoke solid state drive, which Sony have focused on in their discussion of next-gen gaming so far. The Xbox Scarlett has also been revealed to use an SSD, indicating that a big feature of next-gen will be dramatically reduced load-times, or – in the case of this patent – no load screens during gameplay.

It’s important to note that the patent does not indicate a complete eradication of load screens all together; the description refers to load screens that interrupt gameplay, rather than initial load times during boot-up. Indeed, it seems unlikely that with current tech we’ll be able to instantly jump into a game with no load times at all, but anything to help smooth-out in-game loading is very much appreciated.

Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.



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