We are now just two months away from the launch of the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft. We finally know all the specs, release date and prices. So who will be the winner of next generation, PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?
At first, let’s for a moment move back to 2013, when the current gen PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were announced. From the beginning Sony started with a lead, it had a cheaper, sleeker and more powerful console with a promise of many first party exclusives to come. Xbox One on the other hand, well, you may remember its announcement presentation. It was a disaster. Microsoft was talking about everything, but games, which caused confusion between gamers. The Xbox One also looked like a bulky VCR from the 80’s and cost $100 more than PS4.
Sony started with a head start and although Microsoft made later a few good decisions, it was unable to catch up. Seven years later, PlayStation 4 is a huge success with more than 110 million units sold up to date. Xbox One sold less than half of that – about 50 million units.
Two consoles – two different approaches
Now, the situation is a bit different. Microsoft tried to learn from its mistakes, so it won’t make it that easy for Sony. Sony on the other hand knows what worked for them last time and they will try to repeat their success. What are they offering then?
Both companies will start this generation with two consoles, but their approaches are radically different. Sony chose to come up with PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition and as you can guess from the name, the latter won’t come with the Blu-ray disc drive. And that is the only difference. Both consoles share the same specs, the present or absent disc drive is the only difference. And if you are good to go with only downloading games from PS Store, then you’ll pay $100 less for PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($399,99/€399,99/£359,99) in comparison to regular PlayStation 5 ($499,99/€499,99/£449,99).
Microsoft will also launch two consoles – Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S and the price difference between them is much bigger, $499/€499/£449 vs. ($299/€299/£249). That also means specs are different too. Xbox Series X will be the powerful next gen console aiming for 4K/60fps gaming, while Series S is like something between Xbox One X and Xbox Series X. It has a less powerful GPU (4 TFLOPS vs 12,15 TFLOPS), smaller RAM, smaller storage and no disc drive. According to Microsoft, Series S will aim for 1440p/60fps. Other than resolution, will the graphics be the same between Series X and Series S? Only time will tell, I guess.
Price or power?
All things aside, Microsoft has the cheapest console now. It’s a $100 less than disc-less PlayStation 5. But, there’s a catch! It may be cheapest, but is it truly nextgen? 4K resolution was a buzzword a few years ago, when Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro launched. And now you’ll get the console where the majority of games should run in 1440p. Of course, resolution isn’t everything, but consider the fact that consoles should last for six or seven years. Will the Xbox Series S have enough power for years to come? On the other hand, $299 is a great price for a new gaming console. And there will be a group of people who may not care about 4K and simply want the cheapest option to play new games. For them, Xbox Series S may be the clear choice.
|PlayStation 5||PlayStation 5 Digital Edition||Xbox Series X||Xbox Series S|
|CPU||8-core AMD Zen 2 up to 3.5 GHz (variable frequency)||8-core AMD Zen 2 up to 3.5 GHz (variable frequency)||8-core AMD Zen 2 up to 3.8 GHz||8-core AMD Zen 2 up to 3.6 GHz|
|GPU||AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 2.23 Ghz, 36 CU||AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 2.23 Ghz, 36 CU||AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 1.825 GHz, 52 CUs||AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 1.565 GHz, 20 CUs|
|RAM||16 GDDR6 RAM||16 GDDR6 RAM||16 GDDR6 RAM||10 GDDR6 RAM|
|Storage||825 GB (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, 8-9GB/sec compressed)||825 GB (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, 8-9GB/sec compressed)||1 TB (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)||512 GB (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)|
|Disc Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray||absent||4K UHD Blu-ray||absent|
Then there will be another group of gamers, who wants the latest and greatest device to play the newest games in best form possible. And for them there are three options – Xbox Series X and both PlayStation 5 consoles with the price advantage now on Sony’s side. You can get PlayStation 5 Digital Edition for $100 less than Xbox Series X. It is true that the Xbox Series X will be a bit more powerful than PlayStation 5, but you probably won’t see much of a difference.
It will be really interesting to watch which console will be the most successful. For now, it’s hard to tell. If you want the cheapest option to play games, Xbox Series S is hard to beat. But, if you want true nextgen experience with 4K, then it’s cheaper to get PlayStation 5. Not to forget to mention, that every brand has its die-hard fans and there are more factors than just the price and power.
You can have all the power you want, but if noteworthy game titles are missing, it may break your neck. After all, game consoles are about running games. Both companies have announced the selected titles we can expect at launch or in a near future. All the spotlight is again on the exclusive titles, which will be available only at one of the consoles.
If you buy PlayStation 5 you can expect Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Gran Turismo 7, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Final Fantasy XVI and the new God of War title. These are some of the strong titles from the beloved series which can attract a lot of attention.
Microsoft is also planning to bring the strongest brands for the latest Xbox consoles. Halo Infinite, new Forza Motorsport, State of Decay 3, Hellblade 2 and even the new Fable game is in the works. Microsoft also has another strong weapon and it’s called Xbox Game Pass. It’s a subscription service which allows you to play a selection of games for a monthly price. For less than $10/month you can often play even the latest Microsoft’s first party titles.
As I said in the beginning we are now just less than two months away from the new consoles. PlayStation 5 will launch on November 12th in selected markets and one week later, on November 17th, it will be available worldwide. Xbox Series X and Series S will be available to buy worldwide from November 10th.
Who will fare better then? Now it’s impossible to tell, but it will be interesting to watch those consoles compete. Microsoft has the advantage of the cheaper Xbox Series S which is a great deal at $299. PlayStation on the other side has a $400 console capable of running games in 4K. Only years will show, who made the better decisions. But I can’t wait for this console generation to start.