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Pour one out for HDDs because PC games are starting to require SSDs



Are you still hanging on to that giant 8TB spinning HDD for your PC game installs? Well, it’s starting to look like SSDs will become the new minimum spec for modern PC games. While SSDs have shipped as standard in the latest and greatest PC gaming rigs and laptops, we haven’t seen game developers really push for SSDs as a minimum… until this week.

Microsoft held its Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday and revealed that Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, will require 125GB of SSD storage when it debuts on September 6th. It’s not a recommendation — it’s a minimum spec to play Starfield on a PC.

A single game isn’t a trend, but at the same time CD Projekt Red also revealed that it’s bumping the minimum specs of Cyberpunk 2077 to require an SSD at minimum and phasing out HDD support. While the system requirements change for Cyberpunk 2077 is related to the upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion that won’t ship on older HDD-powered Xbox One and PS4 consoles, the base PC game will be updated soon to this SSD minimum spec.

“One of the changes is the choice to stop supporting HDDs for the minimum requirements – SSDs offer faster loading times, improved streaming, and better overall performance when compared to HDDs,” explains CD Projekt Red in a blog post.

The new Cyberpunk 2077 minimum specs.
Image: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 won’t suddenly stop working on HDDs, but CD Projekt Red will discontinue active support and stop testing the game on HDDs so players could run into performance issues or bugs eventually.

It’s inevitable that we’ll see more PC games require SSDs at minimum as game developers continue to leave behind the Xbox One and PS4 generation of consoles and start to push the limits of the Xbox Series S / X and PS5. Both the Xbox One and PS4 shipped with HDDs and consoles always heavily influence how a cross-platform game is developed.

Now that current gen consoles are all SSD we’re about to see what developers can do with this fast-loading technology now that they’re prepared to leave HDDs in the history books. Hopefully we’ll see more games support DirectStorage too. It will still be a gradual transition where games are unlikely to actually be blocked from running on HDDs, but if you’re still fond of the whirling from a spinning disk then savor the moment because developers are getting ready to move to a world of SSD speed and silence.

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