Playstation or Xbox? A complete Review of The Next-Gen Consoles
By Max Gast
As some of you guys might know, the next generation of console gaming is upon us.
What does that mean? There’s a new generation of consoles on the market that are more powerful with faster hardware, better graphics, and other innovations that make older models seem way less interesting.
The competitors in the ring this year are, as always, Sony and Microsoft. With the Xbox Series X and S on Microsoft’s side and the PlayStation 5 on Sony’s. This review will be split into two parts: pre-release and post-release, this is because as of writing this paragraph it is Nov. 3, 2020, and the consoles come out Nov 10 (XSX) and 12 (PS5) Anyway, let’s get on to the basics.
These are the basic facts to start us off with.
XSX: The release date of the Xbox Series X is November 10, 2020. The console will launch with 35 games optimized from Xbox One. That means they will be upgraded to new, next-gen graphics. Some of these titles include Xbox’s hit racing game Forza Horizon 4, NBA 2K21, Watch Dogs: Legion, Fortnite, Dead by Daylight, and Borderlands 3. A new game from Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will launch with the system but will also be on Xbox One, PS4, and PS5. The system, like PlayStation 5 will have more titles coming out close to release such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Nov. 13) and Cyberpunk 2077 (Dec. 10)
PS5: The release date of the PlayStation 5 is November 12, 2020. The console will launch with 19 games. Significantly less than the XSX but there are more exclusives at launch. The list of PS5 launch titles includes Spiderman: Miles Morales, a sequel to Spiderman PS4 based on the character from Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, Miles Morales. More titles include Sackboy: A Big Adventure which is another entry in Sony’s Little Big Planet series, NBA 2K21, Fortnite, Borderlands 3, a long-awaited Demon Souls remake only on PS5, Dirt 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Watch Dogs: Legion.
So who has the upper hand? It may seem simple on paper, with Xbox having Game Pass (Basically Netflix for video games) and PlayStation having more exclusive games, but if you look closer you’ll start to notice that Microsoft has made some power moves before the release of their new console, such as Project X Cloud, a way to stream games any device. In my opinion, the biggest power move Microsoft made was purchasing ZeniMax Studios for 7.5 billion dollars, more than Disney bought Star Wars for and more than Microsoft spent on Mojang Studios combined. Now, “Why did they spend that much money on a company?” you may ask. Well, ZeniMax is the parent company of multiple studios, the biggest one being Bethesda Game Studios, the creators of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. PlayStation owners are now freaking out because they are worried about The Elder Scrolls VI will be an Xbox exclusive. If they make The Elder Scrolls VI an exclusive, that means more people will buy an Xbox. Good move, Microsoft.
Sony also made some plays (not as big as buying Bethesda, but plays). They waited out Microsoft so that they were pressured into releasing the details of pricing. What Sony didn’t know was that the Xbox Series S was a thing — $299 next-gen gaming. It was a graphical downgrade but it still played next-generation video games. But then Sony’s Playstation 5 event in September where they were talking about new games for the system ended with a bang. The price was announced. $500 for the normal PS5 but $400 for a digital edition of the PS5. The big mystery is how Sony cut $100 off for just losing an optical disc drive. The digital edition means that you will only be able to buy games off the Playstation store, giving Sony more money than if you bought games from Walmart or Gamestop. That’s how the PS5 digital edition is $400 dollars for barely any downgrades.
Now let’s go over the specs. I’m going to tell you all about next-gen specs the easiest I can. This is just Xbox Series X and PS5. Not Xbox Series S.
XSX (Source: resetera.com): The Xbox Series X has a 12 Teraflop GPU with a custom RDNA 2. A teraflop is a mathematical measurement of a computer’s power (in this case, a console). A teraflop translates to a computer/console being able to process 1 trillion calculations a second. Since the XSX has a 12 teraflop GPU it can process 12 trillion operations a second. That’s insane compared to the Xbox One X, which has a 6 teraflop GPU and compared to the original Xbox One with a 1.3 teraflop GPU. The Xbox Series X will have a 1 TB (Terabyte) custom SSD (Solid State Drive) so you’ll have 1 TB to install your games. An SSD is a new internal storage device that is very popular among the PC community and is finally coming to consoles. An SSD is way faster than a hard drive. Both consoles have a 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive. The XSX has a 16 GB (gigabyte) GDDR6 with a 320 MB (megabyte) bus for the memory.
PS5 (Source: slashgear.com): The PS5 has a 10.28 Teraflop GPU (10.28 trillion operations a second) with the GPU architecture being a Custom RDNA 2. The PS5 has an 825 GB SSD, way smaller than the Xbox Series X. Mind you it’s not a complete 825 GB and 1 TB because it needs room for other stuff for the consoles. For memory, the PS5 has 16 GB GDDR6/256-bit.
This is the simplest way I can do specs. On to the post-release section!
As of writing this part of the article, it is November 24, 2020. I have had the Xbox Series X for about 2 weeks, so I think I can give a decent launch review of that console. I’m going to start with that.
XSX: Xbox had a really good launch. I think the only bad part about it is the lack of first-party titles (games that are only on Xbox) and the fact that people tried to make it look like the XSX was smoking when in reality they were just blowing a vape into the fans. It wasn’t that big though because it was debunked super quick. Halo Infinite was going to be a title that launched with the Series X and then ended up being delayed to 2021. I personally was super excited for Halo Infinite so when the Xbox launched, I ended up buying Halo: The Master Chief Collection so I could replay all the older Halo games while I waited. Other than that, the Xbox had a super smooth launch, and it was Microsoft’s biggest launch ever. For people who played on Xbox One, the User Interface is very familiar, being identical to the Xbox One’s UI. Other than the lack of first-party games and very few consoles in stock online and retailers at launch I would give the launch an 8.5/10 mostly for Microsoft having barely any Xboxes at launch.
PS5: Now personally, I didn’t get a PS5 but from what I’m hearing it had a good launch. Just like the Xbox, the only big problem at launch was the number of PS5’s stores actually had. It did have super good games at launch, though like Astro’s Playroom, a pack-in game that was sort of like a test of PS5 mechanics. Spiderman: Miles Morales was the big game everyone was playing. Every launch can’t be perfect though and also very few people got a PS5 due to the limited consoles they had for pre-orders and how many they had in stores at launch. The limited consoles were mostly due to scalpers setting up bots to buy as many consoles as they want as soon as preoreders start. Scalpers are people who buy out a popular item to sell it for twice its value on eBay. The User Interface (UI) looks like a cleaner version of the PS4’s UI and is receiving praise for its look. All in all, I give the PS5 launch a 8/10 mostly because I don’t think Sony was ready for this many people to want one and the supply is really low. For both consoles, the second they restock they are gone in less than 2 seconds. Literally. Now I’m going to move on to the conclusion where I pick the console I recommend.
Compared to the last generation’s launches (PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U) there are way more affordable choices. Right now, one of the best deals in gaming is the PS5 all-digital edition: $400 for all the features of the normal PS5 without a disc drive. On the other hand, Microsoft has the Xbox Series S. For $300 you can get next gen gaming but with fewer features such as no 4K capabilities but 1440p. It does have ray-tracing capabilities and up to 120 FPS like the Series X though. The Series S is also all-digital.
It is hard to come to a conclusion about one. The base models of the Series X and the PS5 are both $500 and the specs are close to similar. I’m going to divide it up into 3 different categories. Affordability, hardcore gamers, and casual gamers.
If you want affordable options obviously you want a Series S or PS5 all-digital. If you want to go super cheap on next gen I would go with the Series S. If you want true next gen features I would go with PS5 all-digital because it has all the features of the normal PS5 and if you don’t care about physical games I would buy it.
For the hardcore gamers, I recommend the PS5. Especially if you play a lot of Call of Duty because Sony has deals with Activision to get exclusive stuff. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the newest installment in the Call of Duty series in the Zombies game mode there is this mode called Onslaught where you can play Multiplayer maps in Zombies and Sony has it a year before PC and Xbox. The Playstation controller is also very familiar as they have used basically the same controller since 1997. Also Playstation has a ton of exclusive games and most of them are super good such as The Last of Us and God of War. PS5 is what I would recommend if you are a hardcore gamer.
For casual gamers I recommend the Xbox Series X. I mostly say this because of Xbox Game Pass. It’s the best deal in gaming and it’s very consumer friendly — $10 to $15 a month for a library of over 200 video games. Sony barely comes close with Playstation Plus. There are not nearly as many games on PS Plus as on Xbox Game Pass. If you just want to play video games and don’t care about exclusives the Xbox Series X and Game Pass is what I would recommend if you are a casual gamer.
So, out of all of those categories, what type of person are you? I hope this review helps you decide!