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PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Which Console Reigns Supreme?

XBOX Series X vs PS5 Comparison

A resounding 6 years have passed since the PS4 and Xbox One first hit the shelves. At the time they redefined our understanding of what video games could be, pushing the boundaries of graphical fidelity, design and immersion in unprecedented ways. It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since then. The world is, in many ways, a much different place than it was in 2014. Now fast-forward to 2024 and the stage is set for what is arguably Sony and Microsoft’s most exciting generational console showdown to date. And while many details about both machines remain shrouded in mystery, there is enough known information to get the average gamer thinking about which console may be the better choice.

When deciding between two consoles that promise to be so fiercely competitive you have to cover all angles and try hard to remain objective in your comparisons. With consoles, the three aspects that are most heavily discussed and always seem to matter the most to the player are the price, the power and the games. On that note, let's take a deeper dive into each of these elements and discuss what has been confirmed and what is still unknown about these highly anticipated machines.

Design and Aesthetics: Who Wins the Style Battle?

Well, aren't we all familiar with the old saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Surprisingly enough, it holds true even when we're comparing these two gaming behemoths, the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Let's delve right into their design and aesthetics. 

PlayStation 5 

With its eye-catching dual-tone design, the PlayStation 5 definitely stands out in a crowd. The console sports a sleek, futuristic design with bold curves, and it's perhaps the tallest console Sony has ever designed. It's almost as if Sony wanted to make a dramatic departure from the traditional black box design that has dominated for years. The looks are rather polarising, you might either absolutely love it or find it a bit too outlandish. Nevertheless, there's no denying that the PS5 screams "next-gen". 

Xbox Series X 

If the PS5 design is all about "bold and striking", the Xbox Series X treads a more conservative path. It's a simple, no-nonsense design, resembling a compact, miniature PC tower that's dominated by a single, monolithic black hue. Some gamers appreciate the understated, minimalistic design, considering it a professional and mature approach to console design. However, for those who crave for a unique design aesthetic, the Xbox Series X can feel a tad too simple. 

Technical Specs Comparison Between PS5 and Xbox Series X

When it comes time to compare Xbox vs Playstation consoles the first question in everyone’s mind is almost always: which one is more powerful? And although the differences between the two have largely been insignificant and unnoticeable over past generations, this time it seems a little different. Here is a table detailing exactly the differences and similarities between the hardware of both machines:

The two next-gen consoles feature relatively similar GPU and CPU arsenals, however, they are both custom-built, making it difficult to measure the actual power of the machines. If we strictly look at the figures, the Xbox Series X seems to be noticeably more powerful than the PS5. Microsoft claims their console will offer a 12.155 teraflop power which is a remarkable 1.18x the Playstation 5’s 10.28 teraflops. And although this seems to clearly indicate the Series X will be a more powerful console, there is actually a catch. While the Series X seems to have the PS5 beat in terms of overall engine power, the PS5 manages to narrow the performance gap by using a variable GPU clock speed. The Xbox Series X GPU is locked at 1.825 GHz—gigahertz. The PlayStation GPU speed, however, can reach 2.23GHz, but will not always operate at this speed. In short, the Series X seems to be aiming for a ‘beefier’ system at the expense of performance while the PlayStation is taking the exact opposite route. 

Ray Tracing Capabilities in Next Gen Consoles

Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X will be capable of real-time ray tracing. Ray tracing is a light-rendering feature often used by high-end gaming PCs. Most of the time to accomplish ray-tracing without hurting performance you need a considerable amount of power in the system. Luckily they both possess AMD Zen 2 GPUs and AMD Navi graphic chipsets which will, in theory, make the consoles capable of high-performance ray tracing.

User Interface: Futuristic vs Familiar

PS5 Futuristic Interface

The PlayStation 5 greets you with a completely redesigned user interface which is sleek and intuitive. It differentiates between the ‘Games’ and ‘Media’ sections to avoid the jumble of the two. Furthermore, the Control Center, instantly accessible at a press of the PlayStation button, offers quick access to system notifications, music controls, and even displays your friends’ online status. Sony has indeed poured a great deal of thought into making a more user-friendly interface for gamers. 

Series X Tried and Tested Interface

The Xbox Series X offers a more familiar layout as it carries forward the same user interface from Xbox One. It’s all about continuity here – gamers migrating from the previous generation will feel right at home. It includes dynamic themes and delivers fluid navigation with a well-designed guide system that contains shortcuts to most parts of the console. Added to that, the quick resume function provides a smooth and seamless experience for gamers switching between different games.

Console Storage Wars - No More Load Times

Sony and Microsoft have long stressed the importance of SSD storage—Solid State Drive—in their next-generation consoles. SSD storage is supposed to substantially reduce load times and allow developers to pack far more detailed assets into larger environments. It should also ensure the console’s user interface works much smoother than before, even when running several applications at once.

Controller Design - Which is the Perfect Fit

PS5 Dual Sense Controller

The PlayStation 5's DualSense controller truly revolutionizes the concept of immersive gaming. The controller incorporates haptic feedback to provide a new sensory experience. This means you'll feel varying degrees of resistance and vibration depending on the in-game activities. Squeezing a trigger to pull a bowstring, for instance, feels different from firing a shotgun. 

Furthermore, the DualSense sports a two-tone design and has a more rounded shape than its predecessor. This makes it comfortably snug and ergonomic. 

Xbox Series X Controller

Xbox Series X's controller, on the other hand, is a testament to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. On first glance, it mirrors the design of the Xbox One's controller. But Microsoft has indeed implemented some tweaks. For starters, it's slightly smaller, making the controller a better fit for people with smaller hands. 

It also introduces a new, tactile d-pad derived from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller, and a 'Share' button, for capturing and sharing game moments. 

Which Console has the Better Exclusive Games

To touch on the thing we gamers all care about the most, the actual games. Some gamers don’t care about every minute difference between consoles and simply want to know which games they will be able to play on either platform. This is where console exclusives come into the picture. For years, console exclusives have been the deciding factor in choosing either an Xbox or a PlayStation. This generation promises to be the same with an exciting lineup of exclusives having already been announced for both consoles. On Xbox, the main exclusive title that will excite fans is the long-awaited return to the Halo franchise: Halo Infinite. Playstation’s most anticipated exclusives include Spiderman Miles Morales—the sequel to Marvel’s hugely successful Spiderman PS4 exclusive.

PS5 Exclusive Games

When it comes to exclusive games, Sony has always excelled. The PlayStation 5 isn't an exception. With a robust library of exclusives that would make any gamer's heart beat faster, they've stayed true to their reputation. 

  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales swinging onto the scene with energetic gameplay and breath-taking visuals.
  • Demon's Souls, a beautiful remake of the cult classic featuring challenging combat and dark ambiance, pushing the boundaries of the PS5's graphical capabilities.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, bringing inter-dimensional chaos, seamless world switching, and incredible detail on characters and surroundings.

Sony's strategy has always been about a strong narrative experience, and it's clear they've doubled down on this with their line-up for the PS5.

Xbox Series X Exclusive Games

While Microsoft may not have as many exclusives as Sony, they've secured some pretty significant titles for the Xbox Series X

  • Launching off with Halo Infinite, the reimagining of the iconic franchise is a big draw for Halo fans, signalling a strong comeback.
  • Starfield, Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda delivered an epic RPG that many are calling the Skyrim in Space.
  • Forza Motorsport, visually stunning and detailed racing simulation that showcases what the Xbox Series X can do graphically.

In addition to these exclusives, Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda promises exciting things to come, with highly anticipated games like The Elder Scrolls VI being exclusive to the Series X.

Backward Compatibility

You can Play PS4 Games on PS5

Why ditch your all-time favorite games just because technology's advanced, right? It's precisely with this sentiment that the PlayStation 5 offers backward compatibility for most PlayStation 4 games, allowing you to ignite the nostalgia and relive those cherished gaming moments. The PS5's ability to play PS4 games is quite a leap from its predecessor's (the PS4) lack of backward compatibility for PS3 games.   But it doesn't stop there - select PlayStation VR games also enjoy compatibility with the new console. The catch? PlayStation 3, 2, and 1 games are unfortunately excluded from this compatibility perk. 

Xbox Series X lets you play literally any old game

Now if we're talking about total backward compatibility, the Xbox Series X takes the cake. It racks up major nostalgia points by supporting Xbox One games, as well as a substantial library of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, which means you can have a free-for-all throwback gaming session anytime. Xbox's "Smart Delivery" feature also makes the deal sweeter – if you purchase a game for the Xbox One, you'll automatically have access to the optimized version for the Xbox Series X. 

In essence, both consoles understand the significance of gaming history, but it seems the Xbox Series X has a naturally larger window looking back.

Price and Value - Making Every Penny Count

When it comes to choosing a gaming console, cost is inevitably a factor that comes into play. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are both top-tier, high-performance consoles, and their prices reflect this. However, value isn't solely determined by the initial price. It also includes elements such as the ongoing costs of online services, the availability and the price of games, the future-proofing, the overall gaming experience offered, and potential additional costs like peripherals and add-ons. 

PlayStation 5 Complete Package Price

The PlayStation 5 is available in two models: the standard edition with a built-in disc drive and the Digital Edition. This gives you the choice of how you want to purchase and play games. The PS5 Standard Edition is priced at $499, while the Digital Edition costs $399. 

  • Online Services: PlayStation Plus, required for most online multiplayer games, costs $9.99 for a monthly subscription, $24.99 for a quarterly subscription, and $59.99 for an annual subscription.
  • Games & Add-Ons: The price of games and add-ons varies, but new PlayStation games typically cost around $70.
  • Peripherals: Additional DualSense Controllers are priced at $69.99, and other peripherals such as the Pulse 3D wireless headset and the HD Camera also come with their own costs.

Xbox Series X Complete Package Price

The Xbox Series X comes in a single model with a built-in disc drive, priced at $499. 

  • Online Services: The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes Xbox Live for multiplayer gaming and access to a massive library of games, is $14.99 per month.
  • Games & Add-Ons: Xbox games also typically cost about $70 for new releases. However, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you access to many games as part of the subscription, meaning you could potentially save on game costs.
  • Peripherals: An extra Xbox Series X controller costs $59.99. Other optional peripherals – such as the Xbox Wireless Headset and the Seagate Storage Expansion Card – come with their own additional costs.

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X offer great value for their price, but the way you play games could impact the cost-effectiveness of each console. If you like physical copies of your games, the PS5 with a disc drive might be a better option. If you prefer digital games and enjoy a wide variety of titles, the Xbox Series X with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription could offer more value.

Which Console should you get for Christmas

Maybe after reading this article, you’re leaning more towards one console than the other. Maybe you were always going to buy a Playstation or an Xbox because you’re a devoted and satisfied customer. In the end, there is no definitive winner in this comparison. It all boils down to what aspects are more significant to you as a gamer. Are you swayed more by powerful specs, exclusive games, controller design, or retro gaming capabilities? Answering these questions might just lead you to your perfect console. No matter your pick, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X promise an immersive, high-definition gaming experience like never before.

About the author

Adan Cabal

I’ve cultivated my writing skills and learned to marry my interests by working as a gaming journalist here at Game Champions. This is a perfect way to talk about the things I’ve always loved and share my thoughts with a wider audience.

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