Since the early 2000s the console battle has been in binary—PlayStation vs Xbox—and the next generation is no different. With both consoles slated to launch later this year, sharing many of the same titles and vying for more-or-less the same audience, it’s impossible to not compare and contrast the two heavy-hitting consoles that will grace global living rooms for the majority of the 2020s. That said, as consumers in the 21st century it’s vital we are privy to enough information as to make up our own independent purchasing decisions. This article aims to cut through the noise and provide some stark comparisons between the consoles, equipping you for the decision on all gamer’s mind this coming Holiday season.
Below you can find the official specifications for both consoles side-by-side. But don’t worry, if the technical mumbo-jumbo is a little dense, we’ll break down the key points below.
If there’s any single takeaway from the above specs, it’s the fact that both consoles are outright beasts that offer up vast improvements across the board when compared to current gen consoles. But on closer inspection it’s clear that the Xbox Series X slightly does pip the PS5 in terms of specs, however whether this difference will be truly felt while in game is yet to be determined.
To put the power of these machines in perspective the Xbox Series X has been described by Microsoft as “four times more powerful than the Xbox One X”, and with relatively comparable processors we will be able to expect similarly incredible levels of performance from the PS5.
Along with this, both consoles sport 16GB of GDDR6 RAM running RDNA2 graphics, but the Series X again shows a higher ceiling with 12 TFLOPS across 52CUs, compared to the PS5’s 10.28 TFLOPS across 36CUs.
Needless to say, both of these units are promised to bring up to 8K resolutions (although perhaps not at launch), 120fps, ray-tracing and 3D sound. And, with most gamers utilising 4K resolutions at 60fps (or below) it’s fair to assume these two consoles will achieve that without breaking a sweat.
Furthermore, with both consoles offering large in-built SSD storage with options to expand it further, storage is not going to be an issue. Even more important, though, is the fact that they are utilising SSD storage as opposed to previous generations’ HDD drives. This is because SSD drives are considerably faster, which will result in lightning-fast load times across both consoles; as perfectly demonstrated in an Xbox tech demo.
Although not as important as technical capabilities, the overall design of both consoles provides a huge counterpoint.
Sony has ditched their all-black design of previous generations for a strikingly futuristic white-on-black colour scheme, in both their sleek, tall-standing console and new DualSense controller.
Xbox have gone in the opposite direction, doubling down on both matte-black and a boxy, geometric design. Although it has frequently been ridiculed as looking like a ‘fridge’, the Series X’s design will certainly be the aesthetic choice for some.
With both designs heavily contrasting, audiences are likely to have a clear favourite, at least aesthetically.
Peripherals & Backwards Compatibility
One place where the consoles differentiate themselves is the controller. PlayStation’s new DualSense boasts a vast array of new technology and capabilities, said to take full advantage of next-gen console capabilities. However this comes with caveat of it not being backwards compatible.
On the other hand, the Series X controller, although evolving in design, specs and capabilities, has remained closer to the current generation, meaning it will be backwards compatible.
Furthermore, the two companies have approached the backwards compatibility of their games differently. With Microsoft transparently revealing that all Xbox One games will be compatible with the new console, and a vast majority of both Xbox 360 and original Xbox games will play on the new console. Sony’s approach here is less concrete, most PS4 games will work on the next-gen console, but earlier console games will not be compatible.
Of course, consoles are, at the end of the day, all about playing games. Thus the selection of games at your fingertips is hugely important.
The Xbox Series X has a pretty impressive game line-up, including an array of third-party AAA titles, indies and a number of exclusives—including (Halo Infinite, Scorn and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Everwild, Avowed, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and a handful more.
After their June press conference, it’s clear that the PlayStation is promising a larger volume of games and exclusives (at least within the first year of launch). With Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Gran Turismo 7, Godfall, Horizon Forbidden West, the Demon’s Souls Remake, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal and Sackboy: A Big Adventure acting as the console’s poster children. This exclusive catalogue is complimented by a vast array of timed exclusives and non-exclusive launch titles spanning both AAA and indie.
Price is a vital point of consideration for any consumer purchase. But unfortunately, as of yet, we are still waiting for official word on pricings. According to various leaks it has been speculated that the PS5’s two editions, one with a disc-drive one without, will retail in the ballpark of $399-$599 With the Xbox Series X likely retailing within a similar range.
Which Next Gen Console is Right for You?
Well, we cannot answer that question, only you can answer that. From the information we have at our disposal it’s clear that the Xbox Series X is the slightly more powerful console, while the PS5 boasts a larger catalogue of titles (at least within it’s first year) and offers a handful of unique bits-and-bobs—most predominantly it’s updated DualSense controller and the continued support for PSVR.
And with both consoles offering vastly different looks, for a piece which will adorn your living room/bedroom for the years to come. It’s clear, that only you can truly decide which is the superior console for you.