A PlayStation 4 feature we'd love Xbox to copy

As we've moved into a more digital-driven world when it comes to delivering games to consoles, we're left with the always unpleasant wait for the download and install to complete.

Especially now we're in a world with the Xbox One X with its inflated file sizes thanks to enhanced assets, even with decent broadband you can't just jump in and play.

However, on the PS4, Sony has a neat way of allowing games to split their downloads, meaning you can play your preferred part of the game a little bit quicker. I think that's awesome and I'd love to see Xbox implement a similar feature.

How Xbox does it

When you hit download on something from the Microsoft Store, the whole thing begins the arduous transfer to your console as one giant package. DLC will be installed separately, but the main game, single and multiplayer will all arrive at once.

In some games, as the download reaches a specific point, you may get a "ready to start" message on the console. This means you can open up the game and in some cases start playing, though how much you have access too can vary wildly.

There is a better way ...

The Sony way

I first noticed this while downloading Call of Duty: WWII on my PS4. It's a fairly big file, though far from the largest, and the Store asked me which part of the game I wanted to download first: Single player or multiplayer?

The idea is that the download is then split into two distinct parts, with the bit you want to play first downloading first. Once finished, I could dive straight into multiplayer while waiting for the remainder, the single-player campaign, to download in the background.

In this case the multiplayer chunk was still larger, but it meant that on my not exactly stellar broadband I was able to start playing almost a full half hour sooner. That might not sound like a big deal, but it's half an hour of playing a new game. Not half an hour sat waiting for it to install.

Considering how big some of the games are on Xbox One X, I'd love to be able to split it up this way. The good news is, it looks like they're already working on something akin to this.

Chime in

Generally speaking, I prefer Xbox over PlayStation across the board. But this one little feature is something that stood out to me and I'd love Microsoft to implement the same.

If you're a multi-console person yourself and have a particular non-Xbox favorite feature you'd love to see brought over, share it with us in the comments below!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

40 Comments
  • The only one thing i like on ps, its status bar of estimate time left.
  • That status bar is inaccurate from what i noticed using the console
  • Yeah you could pull a time out of your rear end and be as accurate.
  • My main issue with Xbox is that when I downloaded COD WW2 and started to play the single player after the "ready to start" notification all downloads are paused whilst I'm playing. I'm pretty sure games used to continue to download in background most of the time - Makes playing immediately less useful on Xbox One as you then have to wait for the remaining 60-80% of the game to download once you finish the first mission
  • I'm all digital and have hundreds of games. It's accurate but certain things will affect it. If you launch an online app it will prioritize your active experience with whatever it is Netflix/online multiplayer, and the download will be slowed down. The measurment is based on how quickly data has downloaded over the last several mintues so if you watch Netflix for a half hour then stop, the download will show a longer time than it will actually need if you were to just wait for the download.. but after another several minutes the time will be accurate again. Also at the beginning of downloads it says it takes longer than it will but as the minutes go by it has more data to judge the time and it gets more and more accurate.
  • 100% agree, as that has been my experience with psn. Also all digital and download speeds only change if I am already in an online game such as Destiny. If I am playing binding of Isaac I get max speed downloads.
  • Correct... it's so inaccurate, I rather not have it there because of how misleading it is.
  • I feel like p2p could speed up downloads too. At least Xbox uses azure right?
  • I really wanted that on my Xbox too. Unlike Xbox which only gives you the option to uninstall the game once you start a game update (seems like apps can be canceled) PS4 game Updates can be canceled witout losing game data. I had some network connection issues on my console and after contacting support I decided to do a factory reset on my console. At the same time Halo 5 and Gears 4 had updates in progress but the network problem wouldn't let me download it. So after factory reset the game data for both games was gone and the game tile became a shortcut to store download page. Yes! I had to download almost 200GB again.
  • i dont care.. i have 300/300 Fiber connection...
  • When do you plan to catch up?
  • This is indeed a better way to download games. Though even better would be if we could split the games into "single player" and "multiplayer" and choose when to install which part. So, for example, I don't play in multiplayer. Ever. With that system I'd never have to waste disc space installing the multiplayer part of the game. Some (weird) people don't play single player. They wouldn't need to waste space either. Maybe one day we'll reach that point.   What would I like the Xbox to copy from Sony? 1 - user-upgradeable INTERNAL drives. NO, plugging in external hard-drives os NOT a solution. Don't even bother trying to make that argument.   2 - The entire ad-free UI. Unlike the Xbox, Sony doesn't spamm its users which f*cking ads everywhere on the console you already paid for.   3 - Themes. Unlike the Xbox who is forcing everyone into Microsoft's horrible recent choices (namely replacing beautiful black backgrounds with disgusting grey ones), Sony allows users to install themes that change pretty much the entire look and feel of the console.
  • Allegedly the feature Microsoft is working on could allow just that, download what you want, leave what you don't. It would likely need dev support though and could you imagine EA or Activision allowing people to leave their cash-cow multiplayer games uninstalled? We'll see.
  • "could you imagine EA or Activision allowing people to leave their cash-cow multiplayer games uninstalled?"   No. Well, actually...yes. I could see them allowing you to PAY for the privilege. You know how much they like money.
  • Microsoft already has a system in place called Intelligent Delivery that lets developers partition their games so that users can select which parts of the game they want to download. They're still working on the UI for it, but the backend infrastructure is done. Developers are already using it to separate 4K assets so that those with an Xbox One S don't have to download them. As for your other requests: You're just ******** for the sake of it. There's nothing wrong with using external drives. Especially since they let you move games easily from one console to another, without ever having to break out a screwdriver. You're probably one of those people who thinks editorial or "featured" content is the same as advertising. It isn't. Know the difference. The latest Xbox dashboard update lets you make the home tiles transparent and remove the gray bar at the bottom so you can see all of your background. It also lets you use a light theme.
  • While featured content and ads are different on the back end, the user experience is the exact same, every bit as annoying and in the way haha.. though I do think his comment is blowing everything wayyy out of porportion. Featured content can be useful.. but I think it should be left for the store as opposed to your dashboard. External drives are cool. Sure they should do internal as well but I think the only downside with external is they can be slower than the same drive would be when used as an internal, but I think it's hardly slower.. like super hardly slower haha, and maybe not even always slower at all. Other than that it just looks worse and makes moving your Xbox more inconvenient, but at the end of the day if you are going to pick only internal and only external, external is better since you can get way more storage. As you said, the portability is also nice when talking about switching consoles as opposed to moving one console.
  • The thing that annoys me about the ads isn't that they're there when we buy the console and set it up. It's that we can't remove them. Windows 10 also comes with ads on the start screen and on the lockscreen. But you have an option in settings to disable it and done. If the Xbox had that same option I'd be fine with it. But it doesn't. And that's the problem.
  • @UnnDunn LOL your damage control is hilarious.  Having the possibility to upgrade internal drive is an added feature. Just because you don't see the use of it, it doesn't mean there is no use.Having a MUCH bigger hard drive or an SSD without the need of external drive sticking out of the console. It's some added benefit to XB1 owners. People should want something nice and positive for XB1 gamers. Next you'll defend ads... The guy wants a clean andn ad-free UI and you'll damage control that too... There is a limit to defending a company no matter what.    
  • Ya I got 2GB in my ps4
  • *stands and applauds*
  • "There's nothing wrong with using external drives. Especially since they let you move games easily from one console to another, without ever having to break out a screwdriver." - Yes there is. Space for one. Loss of USB-ports for other. External hard-drives are like drinking urine to survive in the wilderness. It will do the job. But it's not a solution. Also...why on earth would I go around moving hard-drives? My consoles don't leave the media centre. Nor would the drives. Also, personal examples: I have the original 500GB XBone. I had to buy an ugly external hard-drive to connect to it to have space for the games. When I bought the One S do you know what I did? I got the 2TB version. Because I was sick of having 1 USB-port taken by the drive and the media centre cluttered. I also have a PS4. I bought the 500GB. You know why? Because all I had to do was open the side door, remove that internal HDD, and replace it with a 2TB SSHD. Not HDD. SSHD. That upgrade alone made it faster, expanded the internal storage and spared me the loss of a USB port and the clutter in the media centre. On the Xbox I had to pay royally for the extra space. On the PS4 I just had to upgrade the internal drive to whatever I wanted (I could have put in an SSD if I wanted, btw. I didn't).   "You're probably one of those people who thinks editorial or "featured" content is the same as advertising. It isn't. Know the difference." You probably are one of those people who don't have a f*cking clue what advertisement is. Educate yourself. Here's the dictionary entry: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advertisement   "(...) something (such as a short film or a written notice) that is shown or presented to the public to help sell a product or to make an announcement; (...) a person or thing that shows how good or effective something is"   All those "Gold" tiles on the Home Screen and the Guide, the "intelligent suggestions" and the small tile next to it ARE ADS. Whether you like it or not.   "The latest Xbox dashboard update lets you make the home tiles transparent and remove the gray bar at the bottom so you can see all of your background. It also lets you use a light theme." - You have no clue what themes do, do you? It's more than change the tile transparency or adding a background. It's, for example, getting rid of the disgusting grey backgrounds. And suggesting the light theme is just idiotic. Specially when I said the grey backgrounds where disgusting as replacements for the beautiful black backgrounds they had before. Also, I will NOT put up with white background sh*t on an OLED TV. Period. So that alone is enough to never EVER touch the light theme.
  • I do agree with the upgradable internal drive. I hate to have stuffs floating around.
  • I'm one of those weird people that still buys the game. Sure there are usually day 1 updates to install, but at least I don't have to download the full game. I also don't trust that those digital games will always be available on Sony's servers. 
  • I usually do too. Except for things I want to pre-load.
  • You actually do download the full game even with a disc which is why the file size is the same for disk as digital, but with discs you download the game from the disc as opposed to over internet, and disc is way faster. You still have to do the updates over internet but the main game on disc saves a lot of time.
  • I don't remember any of my games on Xbox one taking over an hour to download. Is Psn often that slow?
  • Depends on your internet connection.
  • I have 56mbps broadband.
  • There are definitely issues with PSN download speeds. I am hooked up by ethernet and I generally max out at 15 MB per second download but I have over 200 MB per second when I did a speed test on my laptop. I read about it once and it is a bit more technical than I understand, but I know it has something to do with PS4's habit of sending a type of packet or authorization or request or something every so often (like every few seconds or something). It must have been true because I tested the work around by setting up a proxy (which apparently sends those requests more quickly.. or something) and I got over 30 MB per second, but the proxy was a free one and it didn't keep it at 30 MB the whole time. Besides it's so inconvenient to set up a proxy just for a download and then switch back before gaming because the proxy wouldn't be able to handle it as well. I haven't downloaded an Xbox game since Halo 5 but I have read XB seriously upgraded their download method and now is waayyy faster than PS4, if you have higher internet speeds of course. I suppose if you only have 15 MP per second it will be the same on both.
  • 1) Replaceable hard drives, once 1/2 TB ssds become affordable it would really breath new life into old consoles. 2) Themes 3) Would love VR however I'm aware they want an untethered experience and I do to... last thing you want to do is someone yanking your console out of the cabinet and causing damage to everyone and themselves in the process.
  • I remember on the PS3 EA Sports allowed you to purchase and download either the single player, the multiplayer or the full game of the Fight Night Champion. I'd hoped that this would be the norm with this generation of consoles
  • What I would really like is downloading the game without buying it. This way, when a game releases in the morning, and I know I'm gonna run to Gamestop in the afternoon, I can have it ready to play when I get home. 
  • Themes with live wallpapers
  • One good that it does that i don't know if the Xbox One does is that you can start to play without downloading the full game, for example in uncharted 4 after downloading the first chapters you can already start playing and by the time that you finished those chapters you would already have the game fully downloaded.
  • i thought xbox had that.  i know you can download a game and it will pop up saying it's ready to play even though it's not totally downloaded yet.  at least it used to.
  • Xbox kind of already has had this feature since launch but it's up to the developers. Back during the early days ox Xbox One, developers made games so that they installed a certain game mode first such as campaign or multiplayer. From the user perspective, the game will reach about 20-30% complete and you'll get a notification that the game is ready to start. It is at this point you'll be able to start playing whatever game mode developers chose to install first. But now that feature isn't used much and you pretty much have to wait until everything is done installing. But the option is there for developers to split up the install bits.
  • In terms of what features I'd like to see PS4 adopt from Xbox One: 1. Backward compatibility. I understand that the PS4's architecture is too different from the PS3's and therefore not powerful enough to be able to emulate its software, but at least if they'd allow those who already own PS3 games to insert the disc or it'll detect the digital version on your account to play the games for free through PS Now. Also, if they'd significantly increase their PS2 library and add PS1 emulation. 2. Add the option to download the PS4 games available with a PS Now subscription instead of having to stream them, similar to Xbox Game Pass. 3. Make cloud game save storage available to all users and not just for PS+ subscribers. 4. Release an updated, slimmer PS4 Pro model with a 4k Blu-ray drive included. 5. Move the purchase history section from the PS4's OS to the PS Store and add the option in the OS library to hide certain titles that are not currently installed. 6. Release a first party Dualshock 4 equivalent to the Xbox One Elite controller. 7. The long sought-after ability to change PSN IDs. 8. Add support for Dolby surround when the signal is passed-through a TV via optical cables. (This is a minor one.) (Edit: Added numbers 6 & 7)
  • Another feature I want Xbox to copy is HDMI-CEC
  • Publishers will just misuse this capability so that they can charge for all the different pieces.
  • I think this is already the case, or similarly. I was playing AC Origins when my game is bugging out and can't proceed further. My only choice is to reinstall everything. When it became "Ready to Start", I loaded my save file. The game prioritized installing and loading the dream sequence part where my game previously left off. Upon finishing the sequence, the rest of the game (open-world) continued installing.