When Sony announced the PlayStation 4 last month, it shared many technical details on what the console can do yet left some parts out, like the size of the hard drive. Today during the Game Developers Conference, Sony hinted at the hard drive size but once again wouldn't confirm any specific details except to say it'll be "very large."
Chris Norden, senior staff engineer at Sony's strategy team, made the tease during a PlayStation 4 panel at the GDC: "There's also going to be a very large hard drive in every console."
The fact that every console is going to benefit from a large hard drive is a good thing, and a learned lesson from the PS3 launch. If you recall, Sony offered a 20GB or 60GB hard drive with the initial batch of PS3s. That size could be quickly eaten up by demos, movies, and full games, but Sony did allow for gamers to upgrade the hard drive on their own with any standard sized 2.5" drive. It's an added expense, but a necessary one in order to hold more data.
By going with a large hard drive in every PS4 right away, Sony ensures gamers can begin downloading and playing games without having to backup and restore data if more space is required. It also ties in with the company's "play-as-you-download" feature for the console, which allows gamers to purchase and play a game almost immediately. Games are going to be split into "chunks," with the first one being small enough to begin playing right away.
Once that initial chunk is downloaded, the game can launch while the remaining parts are still coming in. Sony is encouraging developers to have a bare minimum of data in the first chunk, so it could be something like an intro movie or character creator to get gamers started right away. Its overall goal is to shorten or even eliminate loading times on the PS4, which is a "pain point" according to Norden.