We're now a week away from having both next-gen consoles out in the wild, and wouldn't you know it, we're still learning new things about them. We've known about the PlayStation' 5's internal storage solution since before we even saw the console itself, but now we've got confirmation on a detail that system architect Mark Cerny alluded to earlier this year: at launch, the PS5 won't support internal storage expansion.
The Verge received word from Sony confirming the lack of support at launch for internal storage expansion today. Both models of the PS5, the one with a disc drive and the digital-only version without, have 825 GB of internal storage (with about 20% of that likely taken up by the operating system). The ability to expand the PS5's storage will be switched on by Sony via a system update in the future, just as patches may tweak the PS5's fan.
Since March, we've known roughly how PS5 storage expansion will work: instead of going with proprietary storage cards like Xbox is adopting, Sony will let PS5 owners use off-the-shelf NVMe M.2 drives to expand storage in their consoles, but there's a couple of catches: Cerny says the drives need to be able to fit inside the PS5's expansion bay (revealed in last month's teardown video) and have to deliver more than 5.5 GB per second in bandwidth. At the time, Cerny said expansion support was "likely to be a bit past" launch.
With lots of M.2 drives out there on the market for PCs that won't be compatible with PS5, Sony plans to launch a compatibility testing program and will maintain an official list of supported drives. Two manufacturers of drives that could be compatible with PS5 suggested to The Verge that Sony hasn't launched that program yet.
So, right at launch, PS5's speedy internal storage will be limited to the drive space it comes with. In an instructional video about transferring PS4 data to a PS5 released today, Sony recommends that people keep PS4 games they plan to play on PS5 installed on an external drive so as to leave extra space for PS5 games that rely on the faster speeds of its internal storage.
The $219 price tag on Microsoft's proprietary 1 TB expansion drive may sting some, especially for folks planning on buying the digital-only Xbox Series S with only 364 GB of usable storage, but it's likely the case that the first wave of compatible M.2 drives for PS5 will be similarly priced. Regardless of which next-gen console you're considering, having a large external solid state drive on-hand should help with whatever file shuffling and backward compatibility install issues that might come up.
USgamer will have reviews live for the PS5 itself, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and the console exclusive Demon's Souls remake in the coming days.