Updated: Mar 29
It has been 7 years since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Over the years both consoles have produced great games and many memories for the gaming community with PlayStation releasing God of War, Uncharted, Marvel’s Spiderman, Bloodborne to name a few while Xbox have also released a decent collection of first party exclusives such as Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, Halo : 5, Halo: The Masterchief collection and Gears 5. Now, both Microsoft and PlayStation have revealed their next generation consoles: The PS5 and The Xbox series X/S. The PS5 is being released in two iterations: the digital edition which retails at $399 and the normal edition which contains a 4k blu-ray disc drive and retails at $499. Its counterpart Xbox has also released two editions of its console: the Xbox series X which retails at $499 and the Xbox series S which retails at only $299. It is worth mentioning that there is a difference in the performance of the Series S console and has a lower level of hardware and specs in comparison to the Series X. In contrast, there is no difference in the performance of the digital and Blu-ray edition of the PS5.
The specifications/ hardware of the consoles have been released by both companies. Both companies have opted for the same CPU architecture however the Series X takes an upper hand in overall clock rate of the processor. Both consoles have 16 gigabytes of GDDR6 RAM. Another similarity between both consoles is also the GPU architecture however the PlayStation 5 has lower Teraflops than that of their counterpart. One major area where the PlayStation 5 is excelling and has also become a pivotal selling point is its ultra fast solid state drive however there is only 825 gigabytes of this fast storage out of which only 700 GB is available to the users. Overall the Series X can be seen as a clear winner in the hardware department of the two consoles.
The Xbox Series S has the same processing unit as the Series X. However, it lacks in other departments, such as the RAM and GPU clock rate which is only 4 Teraflops in comparison to the Series X’s 12 Teraflops. The main target output of the Series S is 1440p with 4K playback or upscaling. It is evident that the $299 price tag of the Series S comes with sacrifices in certain aspects of the console. It can objectively be said that the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console of this current generation but now we should look at the most important aspects of these consoles: the games.
With the release of the new consoles there will obviously be some games to show-off the potential of the hardware of these consoles. The launch lineup of PlayStation is most probably the best we have seen in the history of gaming with games like Sackboy: A big Adventure, Godfall and Destruction All Stars. All of these games are exclusive to the PlayStation 5. The two main games which caught the eye of each gamer are Spiderman: Miles Morales and Demon Souls, which is a remake of the original game by Bluepoint Studios. The entire launch lineup of the PlayStation is extremely diverse and appeals to almost every type of gamer. This appeal is clearly seen with the demand and low stock issues of the PlayStation 5.
Unfortunately, the launch lineup of Xbox is not as dazzling or enticing as PlayStation’s with their first-party launch line up being Crossfire X,Gears Tactics and ‘Second Extinction’ which is an indie-esque game. It is safe to say that Xbox’s launch lineup is somewhat underwhelming, considering the better hardware inside the console. Another unfortunate blow to Microsoft was that their undoubted flagship franchise Halo had to delay the launch of their game Halo: Infinite which many die-hard Xbox fans were looking forward to. Even though the gameplay of Halo:Infinite was released by Microsoft on their YouTube channel, it was heavily trolled and criticized for its low graphics and stagnant gameplay. As a result of this, 343 industries issued a statement delaying the launch of Halo: Infinite. Despite the disappointing first party lineup of Xbox there are many other third party games which are coming to both platforms such as Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion to name a few. It should also be mentioned that Microsoft has acquired Zenimax Media which is the parent company of Bethesda games for $7.5 billion. This suggests that from now on many Bethesda franchises may be exclusive to Xbox moving forward.
Apart from ray tracing, there are many other new features which are coming to both consoles, one of those being backwards compatibility which essentially means that your PS5/ Xbox can play your PS4/Xbox one discs. The PS5 is only backwards compatible with PS4 games and almost all games are backwards compatible except ten, out of which the most popular was ‘Joe’s Diner’. Xbox takes an upper hand with regards to backwards compatibility as even Xbox 360 games i.e games which were released almost 15 years ago can also function on the series X with enhanced graphics. Some original Xbox games which were released in the ending years of the 20th century are also playable on the Xbox. Microsoft has achieved this through their technology of smart delivery which enables gamers to seamlessly play the best version of their game on each Xbox console. This works both ways for the new generation of Xbox and the previous version. This is probably one of the most underrated features of the Xbox and has played a pivotal role in shifting the attention of the consumers from the lack of first party games they have. Xbox also has the quick resume feature which allows gamers to smoothly shift between games without starting up the game again and again. On the other hand, PS5 has a similar function but it is not as flawless as Xbox’s. The PS5 has a control menu in its user experience or UX which helps the gamer to achieve trophies and give hints about the mission or task the game requires him/her to do. The Dualsense 5 which is the PlayStation 5’s controller has some additional features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers which allow games to have a more immersive and realistic experience in the game.
Even though the PS5 has better games at launch there is an astronomical $70 price tag associated with these games. From now on, all PS5 games will be around $70 which is a jump of around $10 from their previous pricing. Xbox will also follow the $70 price tag but Xbox also offers Xbox game pass which is essentially a video game subscription service which gives gamers access to over 200 games.
In conclusion Xbox has a more customer centric and affordable gaming experience with Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass. However, PlayStation still does have the upper hand in games. The acquisition of Bethesda by Microsoft may change the situation concerning games and first party titles but as of now it comes down to a choice of personal preference.