October 26, 2020

Playstation 5 vs Xbox Series X – how they compare based on what we know

The Playstation 5and Xbox Series X are getting ready for an end-of-year launch. Which one is best for you? Let's find out!

The Playstation 4 and Xbox One are due for an update and their successors are expected to launch during the 2020 holiday season, close to the end of the year. We don’t have all the details about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X yet, but information is trickling in and we are ready to start weighing the pros and cons. In this Playstation 5 vs Xbox Series X comparison we will help you find out which console is best for you.


Console naming

PlayStation 5 release date bannerPlayStation

Not that it matters much for making a decision on which console to buy, but we wanted to touch on the naming plans for both devices. Sony and Microsoft have officially referred to their upcoming consoles as Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, relatively. We are sure these names will stick around, unless something truly critical makes these companies change their minds.


Design

Playstation 5

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There’s not much we know for sure about the PS5’s design yet, though leaks of the console’s dev kit have been floating around the internet for months now. We got our first look at it when the team over at LetsGoDigital found some patent images online. The outlet later mocked up its own design renders based on these patents — as seen in the video above — giving us a better look at the dev kit. A few alleged real-life photos also surfaced online, giving us a real-life look at the kit. Since these are not the final product, we don’t expect the PS5 will look like this at launch.

As far as the PlayStation 5 controller is concerned, we got a look at the official controller before the console. Sony is calling it DualSense, and it’s the largest design departure from any PlayStation controller before. Check it out:

playstation 5 dualsense ps5 controller official

Xbox Series X

Xbox series X everything you need to know

We have actually seen the Xbox Series X design in the official trailer, and it is mighty gorgeous. The vertical design should not only look great, but also occupy less space in your entertainment center.

Another notable change you can expect to see on the Xbox Series X is the new controller design. Series X controllers will be more ergonomic. They are expected to be smaller and lighter, with an improved D-pad similar to that of the Xbox Elite controllers. Following in Sony’s footsteps, Microsoft will also reportedly introduce a screenshot sharing button.


Hardware and performance

Sony PlayStation 5 main custom IO unitPlayStation

In Sony’s recent system architecture deep-dive, the company revealed some of the details about this technology, as well as other hardware details about the upcoming console. Playstation 5 specs will include a 3.5GHz 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor, an AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 16GB of RAM, an 825GB SSD, expandable storage support, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive. The Playstation 5 should also be able to run 8K video, and the company has already mentioned the console will support 4K video at 120Hz.

Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X will feature AMD‘s Zen 2 CPU, as well as a custom-made AMD Navi-based GPU. The new console will also have a custom SSD, with speculated read speeds as high as 2GB per second. The next-gen console promises a whopping 120fps video rendering, as well as 8K resolution. Microsoft is also introducing hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which will improve real-time rendering of light and shadows.

Great specs don’t always translate to superior performance.

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Whether one will do better than the other is yet to be seen. Remember great specs don’t always translate to superior performance. Software optimization, rendering, and other factors come into play. And as mentioned in the paragraphs above specs and capabilities don’t look to be too different.


Game availability

It has been proven time and again that a console’s fate is decided by its game availability. It’s no good to have an amazing console if you have no worthy games to play on it!

As far as PS5 releases are concerned, there are a few titles we can officially bank on, including Dying Light 2, Godfall, Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six: Quarantine, Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, and Lord Of The Rings: Gollum. Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War sequels are also rumored to launch on the console. We also expect titles like Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 4, and Uncharted 5 to launch on the PS5, but that’s just speculation at this point.

Meanwhile the Xbox Series X is falling behind in confirmed launches. We know Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II are coming. Currently, these are the only two confirmed Xbox Series X launch titles. However, Xbox Game Studios and its subsidiaries are working on many new and exciting games that will be available on the Xbox Series X.

This tells us that the Playstation 5 will have the upper hand in game availability. At least at launch, and as far as we know. Things might change before the end of the year.


Backwards compatibility

PS5 backward compatible with PS4PlayStation

Backwards compatibility is a huge incentive to upgrade to a newer console, even if some argue you should buy a console to play its own games. But having an already expansive library of previous titles will definitely keep you occupied until enough new new games are released. Not to mention the ability to keep playing your already purchased games is a huge plus.

At launch, the PS5 will be backwards compatible with nearly every single game in the PS4’s library. In a recent blog post, the company announced it will be compatible with “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles”. Not only that, but Sony believes many PS4 titles will likely benefit from higher, more stable frame rates and higher resolutions on the PS5.

Xbox One X

Microsoft has also confirmed all Xbox One games will be playable on the Xbox Series X, including Xbox 360 games that are backwards-compatible.

The fact that both new consoles will be backwards compatible may definitely help you decide whether to go for the Playstation 5 or the Xbox Series X. Especially if you already have a preference in title availability and exclusive deals with the PS4 and Xbox One. For example, I am a huge Final Fantasy fan, and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a Playstation exclusive. We also know many of you love the Halo series, and that is going nowhere other than the Xbox consoles.


Pricing and availability

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Both consoles should launch towards the end of 2020, during the holiday season, so there isn’t much competition there. Pricing might be a stronger factor to consider.

The PS4 and PS4 Pro retailed for $399, so we expect the PS5 to surpass that price point. During an earnings call in February 2020, Spiel Times reported that Sony has yet to decide on a pricing model. Rumors suggest a $499 MSRP.

The Xbox Series X’s price is a bigger mystery. Both the Xbox One (bundled with a Kinect sensor) and Xbox One X before it launched with a retail price of $499. Yet, considering all the hardware upgrades, the Xbox Series X might command a higher price. We don’t expect a massive increase, however. Microsoft has to offer a product that has mass appeal, but also one that’s relatively affordable. We wouldn’t write off the possibility of multiple Series X configurations set at different price points either.

So far it seems the Playstation 5 may be at least slightly more affordable than the Xbox Series X, as has been the case with previous generations. We can’t say for sure, though, because we are running mostly on rumors and speculation.


Playstation 5 vs Xbox Series X: which are you getting?

Considering all factors, picking one console over the other is mostly a relative subject. You have to factor in specific preferences and gaming habits. Something like controller ergonomics can change your perspective, and many believe Microsoft makes a more comfortable gamepad.

The Playstation 5 is also looking like it might be a cheaper alternative, and so far game availability is looking superior. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X seems to have an improved design and slightly higher performance capabilities.

We will continue learning more about the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X as we get closer to launch date. We have until then to make a decision. But, have any of you already set your minds on the Playstation 5 vs Xbox Series X dilemma?