Why does the PS5 still have the dreaded “copy” phase?


If you’ve owned a PS4 in the last generation, you’re well acquainted with the infamous “copy” phase of downloading games, patches, or fixes. You can download a 500MB update in seconds, but the “copy” component takes a long, long time to implement, delaying your actual game from ten minutes to a full hour.

When the PS5 arrived with its new hyper-personalized SSD, the assumption was that copying wouldn’t be a thing anymore. And yet it stays, as I’ve discovered with my console usage time so far, and I’m still a bit confused as to why it’s still a thing.

The PlayStation performs this “copy” mechanism with some downloads because when it receives a new patch, it essentially copies the entire game while adding the patch, in an effort to prevent file corruption. This generally means that the larger the set, the longer the copy phase takes.

Adding an SSD speeds up copying, but doesn’t eliminate it. I put an SSD in my PS4 which made it go faster but even here and now with the PS5 and it boasts of a custom SSD the copy still sticks. Basically, Sony doesn’t seem to have changed the way it downloads and applies patches, although the process is now faster with the new hard drive. According to some sources, Mark Cerny bluntly said that the PS5 would no longer have a copy, unless his comments are misinterpreted.

But here we are.

Yesterday I had a familiar experience with Destiny 2 where I had to download a tiny patch and then hit the copy stage. The final result? After about 15 seconds of downloading it took a full 23 minutes to copy and let me start playing. It didn’t sound very “next gen” to me, I have to say.

Now, it’s possible that this is because Destiny 2 is a PS4 game, and has not yet been “optimized” for PS5, which will take place in December. So once this patch arrives, maybe slow copy will be something that gets updated. Maybe, but I’m not counting on it.

I’ve also seen the copy phase appear in dedicated PS5 games already like Astro’s Playroom and Godfall. It’s faster than the last gen, but it’s still around, and I was just hoping Sony had ditched this way of patching and updating games, something you don’t come across on Xbox that didn’t. no “copy” phases of updates. Yes, it’s true that Destiny 2’s copy phase lasted 45 minutes and the new one is only 23 minutes, but it’s still not great.

Again, maybe this has something to do with this weird mid-phase where a lot of games get stuck between PS4 and PS5, and once things are only made for PS5, the copy will either be gone or short enough that you don’t really notice it. But for now, I’m definitely noticing it, and I don’t think I’m alone.

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