Game On! Solving the ‘storage’ worries for the next generation of gamers

October 15, 2021 11:38 AM

As India leapfrogs from mobile to PC gaming, players need to build a system that can support their gameplay at any given point in time

57% of gamers have cited slow storage as a critical factor for the poor gaming experience.57% of gamers have cited slow storage as a critical factor for the poor gaming experience.

By Jaganathan Chelliah

The word ‘storage’ is often correlated to a space in our house, which is so full of goods, that it is almost impossible to find an arm’s space. Now let’s connect the same word ‘storage’ to the world of online gaming and discover the difference. In the world of gaming, storage plays a very vital role, as much as a joystick or even more. How? Imagine playing a AAA game, and suddenly you can’t proceed further due to a longer loading time. Storage also impacts other user experiences like frame loss, stuttering, etc. The logic is simple. The gameplay is affected if the game data is not transferred quickly from storage to other PC components. For serious players, high-performance storage is a must to develop gaming as a career option.

As per the ‘Next-Gen Gamers’ research conducted by Western Digital, factors such as excitement, fun, and challenge are the key motivators for PC gaming. 57% of gamers have cited slow storage as a critical factor for the poor gaming experience. Furthermore, 51% of gamers said that slow game loading besides bandwidth issues as some of the main areas of concern.

Install sizes for games have continued to grow over the years, with popular titles grabbing space over 200 GB. Even though not every game occupies a massive space, many can still take up as much as 150 GB. One thing is clear that AAA games will continue to grow in terms of install sizes as the quality and complexity of these continue to evolve. The ‘Next-Gen Indian Gamer’ survey reveals that 59% of gamers said slow loading time has adversely impacted their gameplay. Also, two in every five gamers have made the painful decision of deleting their old titles due to running out of storage.

To be able to achieve this and much more, storage is an essential component of expert-level gameplay. So how do we know what to select? The first step is to choose between HDD and SSD as this will allow for prioritising between performance or capacity. HDDs offer massive capacities at lower cost, while SSDs provide ultra-high speeds. SSDs have no movable parts, are quick, have low latency, and are highly responsive, enabling a great experience for gamers. As cross-platform titles had to also work on HDD-bound consoles, developers struggled to use the speed of SSDs to their advantage. This should be resolved with the next generation of PCs and consoles using the latest NVMe technology-based SSDs like offered in the WD_BLACK portfolio. This means that creators can now scale their games up to the capabilities of NVMe technology. Also, as every three in five gamers store their game libraries within their PCs, and every three in 10 gamers store more than ten titles in their PCs; so, a powerful storage device with adequate storage would provide a seamless gaming experience. The other option is to look at external storage that is optimised for storing games, this allows gamers to retrieve content when needed.

PC and console games have played a big part in shaping the gaming industry across the country in the last two decades. The market value of computer gaming was estimated to be around $96 million in 2019, while that of console gaming was about $240 million during the same period, as per Statista. And now, with E-sports becoming a mainstream sport, more players can be expected to join the PC gaming bandwagon. Further, E-sports will be a part of worldwide competitions, with medals being accounted for. This is also a reason why players need to invest in a better system with high-quality storage.

As India leapfrogs from mobile to PC gaming, players need to build a system that can support their gameplay at any given point in time. Having the right storage solutions can significantly enhance the overall gaming experience and help gamers up their game when it comes to being competitive.

The author is senior director – marketing, India of Western Digital. Views expressed are personal.

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