Some might say it’s a bit early to start throwing stones or picking sides. However, there’s been enough information released on both consoles to draw a pretty clear picture of both contenders. Just from what we know so far, the Xbox Series X is looking to be a strong, if not better overall console than the Playstation 5.
Yeah, yeah, I know. “You’re crazy,” you are saying. “There’s no way you could possibly know what console is better this far out. We’re still months away from their release.” Perhaps, but I have history on my side.
Reason 1: Historical Evidence
You see, every console generation has flip-flopped the dominion of power. And this time around, it is Xbox’s turn. But let’s go back and look at the fluctuation of leadership. First, it was the Playstation 2. To this day it remains the bestselling console. The Xbox was a debut machine that impressed with its hardware and some first party titles such as Halo. However, it was the PS2 that remained the champ of this generation by far. Sorry, Sega Dreamcast fans.
In 2005, the Xbox 360 released to worldwide acceptance. The bulky, hot PS3 was quirky, and while its hardware was impressive, it simply couldn’t match the reputation of the 360. It didn’t help that the PS3 garnished a reputation to be hard to work with for developers. With Xbox Live in full force and its community thriving, the Xbox 360 will be the console remembered as the king of the 7th generation of consoles.
Enter 2013: Microsoft, high off its throne of power, decides to market the Xbox One as something completely different. Not just a gaming console, but an entertainment center. Fears of “always on”, untradeable used games, and the lack of focus on what people actually wanted – a new gaming console – put a bad taste in the mouth of those loyal to team green. Gamers didn’t need much of an excuse to swap their Xbox 360’s out for a Playstation 4. The Xbox One was left to backpedal and re-align their business model, but it was too late. The damage had been done, and the PS4 is the current console of the cool kids.
I’m sure you might be seeing a pattern here. Sure, Sony may have learned from the past and kept their hubris in check for this next generation. They may play it safe and listen to their customer base over what is important to their fans. However, Microsoft is going to be pulling out all the stops for this next chance at taking back the crown. They haven’t been sitting back and nursing their wounds for seven years while Sony has eaten their cake. History has a habit of repeating itself, and Sony may have gotten a bit too big for its britches. I predict a resurgence for the underdog this time around.
Reason 2: It’s More Powerful
Alright, buckle up your brain cells because things are about to get technical around here. The Xbox Series X is more powerful than the Playstation 5. Computational power is measured in TFLOPS. Well, technically, it’s measured in FLOPS and a TFLOP is a trillion FLOPS. It’s calculated by the speed of the processor multiplied by its total amount of shaders and the instructions per clock. For those who are starting to nod out of boredom, a bigger number means more power. More power is better.
Just how much more powerful is the Series X than the PS5? Well, about 15%. The Xbox Series X cranks out 12 TFLOPS of power as opposed to the 10.3 TFLOPS in the Playstation 5. This might not seem like a large number, but it could make a noticeable difference. It means the Series X would be able to output the full 120 frames per second it’s capable of verses only 102 for the PS5 in an equal gaming test. It might mean it only has to downscale to 1440p in some games instead of 1080p which are too demanding for 4k. Or it could mean faster multitasking and response time when navigating the menu or streaming games. It’s not like we’re talking about single digits here; 15% more power is something to consider when purchasing a new console.
“But the PS5 has a special solid-state drive to completely eliminate loading times!” This is also true, but the Series X comes with an SSD too, and it’s bigger. Want to guess by how much? A little over 15%. Which translates to nearly 200 GB of data. That could be the difference between you being able to download the next Call of Duty or having to delete a game out of your library.
Reason 3: It Looks Better (Barely)
Sorry folks, but we don’t have a middle ground when it comes to console variations in the cosmetic department this year. Purely choosing by style, you can either have the mini-fridge, or the big white vase-looking thing. Both are admittedly a bit cringey. However, I can see myself cringing less every time I walk into my living room and see a box that could be mistaken for a stereo receiver or sub-woofer than something I stole from the fine arts museum. The Xbox will definitely age better and be more versatile in living spaces than the PS5. Ironically, the only space the PS5 might look comfortable in is, well… space. The ISS is finally going to have a system that matches its décor.
Mechanically, the Xbox also looks to be better suited to eliminate heat produced by its powerful hardware. Airflow likes open spaces to flow through, something the Series X has plenty of. The PS5, however, is awkwardly shaped and the venting doesn’t look as prominent. More trapped heat means more noise for the fans to blow it out. Also, let’s be real folks: the PS5 is huge. Some of us are going to have reinforce our entertainment centers for this monster. It’s big, tacky, noisy, and full of hot air (OK, that part I don’t know for sure), so the Xbox shamefully takes the win for better aesthetics.
Reason 4: The Games
I know what you’re thinking. It’s true that Sony’s titles have been better this generation. However, Microsoft has been acquiring some hefty talent to produce what should be quality content for the future. Obsidian Entertainment, Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, and more have been gained by Microsoft and are presumably working on Xbox exclusive titles. With Microsoft’s cash behind their work, these developers should be able to come up with some extremely exciting games. I have hope and confidence we will have some amazing Xbox exclusive games coming soon. Besides, there’s tons of awesome third-party titles that will be available on both platforms.
The bets are in
Things are heating up in the console battle arena. The crowd is cheering, waiting for the two contenders to show. Who will win? The veteran Playstation, happy on its thrown of nearly a decade. Or the returning outcast, back to knock its opponent down. You all know who my bet is in for. What is yours?