The next generation of gaming consoles is finally upon us. Whether by way of no-good scalpers or good old fashioned digital queueing up, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have been flying off the shelves. Were you not as lucky to nab one towards the tail end of 2020, you’ll likely be eyeing to get one sometime in the next few months. If, at the same time, you’re also undecided as to which offering will be taking a coveted spot in your media center we can’t blame you. Whether it’s talking about PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, both sides of the camp are filled with promises of high-end gaming, higher resolutions and stunning games. Your choice will ultimately boil down to the finer print, so let’s get to it.
Obligatory Spec Talk
Let’s get this one out of the way without too much Star Trek-style technobabble. Be it PlayStation 5 or Xbox, both consoles are bringing it with the specs. Either side has the 8-core CPU and 16 GB of RAM needed to power the next wave of digital adventures. Both Sony and Microsoft’s offerings are capable of full 4K resolutions and up to 120 frames-per-second for smooth gameplay experiences. The exception here is the Xbox Series S which has the lower spec GPU and can go up to 1440p resolution. From here on out, the differences are rather minute.
Xbox Series X wins the teraflop war versus the PS5 by a small margin thanks to a slightly more capable GPU. An additional plus point is the controller retains nearly the exact same form factor Xbox and PC gamers know and love. On the other hand, the PlayStation 5 has a custom solid-state drive that makes it load games at lightning fast speeds. This gives developers an extra design point to consider as nearly entire, densely populated levels can be loaded in a near instant. The PS5 also boasts the DualSense controller with multi-motor haptic feedback and adaptive triggers that add an incredible layer of immersion like no other controller.
All in the Form
As a gamer, you may care more about what’s under the hood but let’s face it; when a console looks cool, it just completes the experience. In this area, when asking the question “PlayStation 5 or Xbox?”, your answer will come down to your own taste and preferences.
There’s no way to address this point delicately for the Sony offering. The PS5 is a beefy boy. It’s a large, curvy box like no other console we’ve seen before. It’s the kind of device you don’t tuck away because, like yourself, it’s there to make a statement. Unless you have a media center with plenty of shelf space, you might want to make a few compromises…or sacrifices.
On the other side of the form factor spectrum, both the Xbox Series X and S stand modest and minimalistic. The Series X has a clean, rectangular shell with a top ventilation mesh that you’ll want to ensure doesn’t get obstructed. The Series S is nearly half its size, making it a lot friendlier for placing in smaller spaces.
King of Value
We’re getting down to console specifics now as both Sony and Microsoft have chosen largely different strategies this time around. With the launch of Game Pass, MS made a boldly fierce move that has changed the face of casual gaming for the better. Having your pick of a 100+ game library for a $10 per month subscription is mind boggling. It stands to reason that Game Pass and high specs make the Xbox Series X a great value offering in the long-term.
For the not-so-fussy casual gamer, the Series S with Game Pass is simply the best value package on the market hands down. Grabbing a next-gen console for $300 was already an insanely good wallet saving proposition. Not needing to fork over $40-70 per title on top of that is just beyond a steal.
All of this on top of offering full backwards compatibility with titles from as far back as the original Xbox era. With the Xbox Series X/S Smart Delivery system, games such as Sea of Thieves, Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 look absolutely stunning and run smoother than ever.
Therefore, if you’re wondering which one offers better value for your buck, PlayStation 5 or Xbox, then the Xbox Series X/S is the clear winner. But value isn’t everything…
Exclusively No Compromises
Where its rival banks on grabbing gamers with its subscriptions and backwards compatibility value proposition, the PlayStation 5 looks to the future with a steely stare. Whether you choose the disc-based version or the Digital Edition, the PS5 doesn’t force a compromise when it comes to specs. The only choice here is if you can or can’t live without a disc drive. This makes the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition the best priced high-end console at $50 cheaper than its sibling and the Series X.
Sony is also laser-focused on continuing its reign of exclusive titles. With games like the grueling Demon’s Souls remake and the insanely fun Spider-Man Miles Morales, you’ll have titles to play that can’t be found on other platforms. If that’s not enough, Sony’s PS Plus subscription was made sweeter with an out-the-gate library of some of the PS4’s greatest exclusives, including Bloodborne, God of War and Days Gone; all of which benefit from the PS5’s Boost Mode.
Upgrading from a PS4? You don’t need to sell it off just yet. As an added bonus, you can stream your PS5 games to its predecessor so you can park the old boy under your bedroom TV like you always wanted.
It’s Decision Time
Still asking yourself if you should get a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S? Think of it this way: if you enjoy playing a wide variety of titles and aren’t too fussed about the latest and greatest, then the Xbox route may be for you. On the other hand, if the allure of Sony exclusives has you intrigued, then either PlayStation 5 offering will do the trick with no compromises. For the sufferers of choice paralysis, picking up a PS5 and an Xbox Series S with a Game Pass will provide the best of both worlds minus the stress.