PS5 Update Finally Adds Major Missing Storage Feature

The first significant PS5 update finally lets you store games on an external drive, but is that enough to address the console's storage issues?

PS5 Review
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

The first significant PS5 update includes a feature designed to address one of the next-gen console’s most baffling and impactful storage shortcomings.

Tomorrow’s PS5 update will finally allow PS5 owners to transfer next-gen games from the console’s internal SSD to external drives. According to the PlayStation website, these are the requirements for a compatible external PS5 drive:

  • SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or later. 250 GB minimum, 8 TB maximum capacity.
  • Not all devices are guaranteed to work with the PS5 console.
  •  You can’t connect the drive through a USB hub.
  •  Two or more USB extended storage drives can’t be connected at the same time. You can connect multiple USB drives to your console, but you can use only one at a time.

The transfer process itself comes with a few additional restrictions. For instance, you will be able to or store PS5 games on a compatible external drive, but you will not be able to directly play PS5 games from that drive (although PS4 games will still be playable from external drives). As Sony has explained in the past, the PS5’s unique SSD often directly influences the performance of a game, which they say makes it difficult to ensure the intended quality of an experience if you’re not loading data directly from the PS5 SSD. Some hoped that they may eventually find a solution to that restriction, but it sadly doesn’t seem that solution will be available in this upcoming update.  

Thankfully, the rest of the transfer process seems to be pretty painless. Most games can be transferred to an external drive through the PS5 home menu via the options button, and some games will even let you transfer specific modes to the external drive rather than the entire download. There’s no word on which games will support that last feature, but if there’s any chance that the ability to selectively transfer specific parts of a game will make it easier to store massive multiplayer modes on the PS5’s relatively small SSD, it will be a welcome addition for many.

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This update also includes expanded Share Play features that allow PS5 gamers to interact with their PS4 friends in new ways, an improved Game Base that will allow you to more easily access content, and features involving your PS5 friends. For a full rundown of the PS5 updates’ biggest new features, be sure to check out this PlayStation blog post

Still, the ability to transfer game data to PS5 external drives is obviously the highlight of this update. When I reviewed the PS5, I noted how the console’s advanced SSD was undermined slightly by the fact that I was already starting to fill it up after installing and playing just a handful of launch games. I don’t think that this update is a long-term solution to the PS5’s eventual storage shortages, but it’s a great way to free some extra space ahead of what we hope will be a busy second half of the year for the PS5 and next-gen gaming.