Microsoft and Sony seem to be taking two completely different approaches to the lead up to release for the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. Social media is alight with each of the respective Sony and Microsoft fans denouncing each other’s efforts towards next gen. For gamers like myself that just want to enjoy all that is on offer this can be equally confusing, frustrating and annoying.
To be fair some gamers will only have the potential funds for one next gen console. So which one should they choose? This can depend on a number of factors, including what even your style preference is. I’ve highlighted some of the key differences between the two below.
On the Xbox Series X the priorities are:
- World’s most powerful console (apart from the SSD).
- Play your games any way you want and on whatever platform you want (Mobile gaming via xCloud, Xbox games on PC). Phil Spencer has even gone as far to say that no true exclusivity is their goal next gen. Looking at how things are moving now a lot of the Xbox titles are already available on PC, and Microsoft also starting to push games out to different PC platforms, such as Valve’s Steam, this rings true.
- Smart Delivery is a real item. All 1st party Xbox games will be playable on any Xbox console and will download the appropriate assets suitable to the generation. Microsoft is also pushing third party vendors to do the same, and have highlighted that next gen upgrades should not be charged as DLC. This to me should be mandatory.
- Xbox exclusives are not an initial priority for the Series X. Phil Spencer has gone on record to say don’t expect any Series X exclusives for a couple of years. The recent Xbox Showcase on the 23rd July confirms this. There are plenty of exclusives lined up though.
- Backward compatibility is huge for Microsoft. Play your games as far back as the original Xbox (certain titles) and also get modern support for these games.
- Expanded storage will be in the form of a custom Seagate memory card that plugs straight into the back of the Series X. It is reportedly going to be as fast as the internal SSD drive. USB storage will be available for previous gen games.
- Game Pass. This is a huge strategy for Microsoft. Every single game shown at the recent digital Xbox event is available on Game Pass at launch. This means a gamer doesn’t have to outlay a huge cost to buy all the new 1st party games and can enjoy them for a monthly fee.
On the PlayStation 5 side of things:
- Console exclusives are very big for Sony. Expect lots of AAA titles to come out that will only be playable on the PS5. They’ve dominated the exclusive title market with the PS4 so I don’t see this changing.
- Backward compatibility is definitely not the focus for Sony, and the message isn’t clear on whether games coming out on the PS5 will be playable on the previous generation.
- External support available via USB, but only for playing PS4 games. You’ll need to copy the PS5 game to the SSD to play.
- PSVR 2. While more details are still to come, Sony is hoping to improve on the decent sales numbers the original PSVR enjoyed. In comparison Microsoft still hasn’t announced any VR support for the Series X.
- SSD. There is much marketing around how fast the PS5’s SSD is. This sounds very impressive on paper, and it will be interesting to see how it integrates with the rest of the system.
For the record, I’ll be getting a Xbox Series X console first. I like the look of it and the rest of my audio visual equipment is all black. On paper the specifications are better, and the lower cost of not having to buy every 1st party Microsoft game at launch is very attractive. I have Game Pass Ultimate (for PC games too) and it is one of the best marketing decisions Microsoft has ever made. It is also amazing value for gamers.
Will I get a PS5? For sure, though it may be next year and not likely to be at launch. Sony has released some amazing games on the platform, and some are simply too good to miss.
Let us know whether you plan on buying one of the next gen consoles in the comments below!