The “Quick Resume” feature on the Xbox Series consoles has been a revelation. Sure, the ability to suspend and resume a videogame was possible on last-gen consoles – and on several generations of handhelds going as far back as 2005’s PlayStation Portable – however, this function was limited to a single game and required constant power to the device while it remained in a “sleep” state.
The ability to suspend and resume a game was, initially, a nice-to-have but inessential part of my gaming life. Unfortunately, with great age comes great responsibilities, and suddenly I understood why handheld and mobile gaming has taken off so strongly with older gamers. When the comforting routine of daily gaming gives way to a mix of short bursts and rare binges, the ability to walk away from a game at any point and return later becomes a godsend.
The most common suspend-and-resume functions work exactly as they sound: the game is paused, background operations suspended, and both data cached for the CPU/ GPU and data in the memory stack is suspended. As both cache and RAM are forms of volatile memory – requiring constant power to retain information – the device can only suspend a single active game and must remain in a low-power state. If your device is turned off completely, or if it loses power (think running out of battery or power outages), that data is lost.
Quick Resume makes use of the fast read-write speeds and low-level API access of the custom SSDs in the Series S|X consoles to dump the CPU/GPU cache and RAM data into a partition when you suspend a game. As this is non-volatile memory, the console can store this data for 4-5 games and retains that data even when the power is off, allowing you to quickly flick between multiple games, picking back up right where you left off.
Of course, it’s not a perfect feature: some games don’t resume consistently, there’s no ability to check what’s currently stored in memory and which title will be overwritten next, and there’s the unavoidable limitation of not maintaining an online connection for games that require it.
However, the ability to flick rapidly between several short indie games or tackle a lengthy RPG in bite-size chunks – without worrying about making manual saves or hitting checkpoints – is incredibly liberating for those short on time or with erratic schedules. It is for this reason that I hope every other manufacturer will be looking at this feature and implementing their version in the future, be that on new consoles, mobile devices, and on PC (where high-speed NMVe drives are becoming more common).
Almost every manufacturer is running marketing campaigns encouraging gamers to play “what they want, when they want, where they want” (subscriptions, streaming, VR, etc.). Quick Resume – whether on a console under the TV, on a handheld device packed in your satchel, or on the PC at your work desk – could allow gamers to make use of whatever gaming time they have. Being able to commit to playing almost any videogame you want, with no fear of losing progress when you need to stop, and the ability to pick it back up whenever the opportunity arises, is one of the true “next-gen” gaming features that needs to be on every device.