War never changes in the console arena, with a new one brewing between the PS5 (opens in new tab) and the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab). There’s a growing debate on whether Microsoft’s next-generation console will have Sony’s machine beat thanks to its superior power, or whether the speedy storage and strong exclusives of the PS5 will give it the edge.
But we’re going to argue the case for the PS5 here. Sony’s console has yet to be revealed but from what we know so far, it’s shaping up to be the superior next-gen games console. So here are five reasons the PS5 will beat the Xbox Series X.
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Superfast SSD storage
From everything we’ve seen so far, the PS5’s killer feature seems to be its very fast custom SSD. While it only offers 825GB of storage space compared to the 1TB of NVMe SSD space the Xbox Series X has, the PS5 has a throughput of 5.5GB/s compared to the Xbox Series X’s bandwidth of 2.4GB/s.
Sony’s proprietary storage means the PS5’s SSD will probably trounce the Xbox Series X’s SSD when it comes to loading games. The Xbox Series X can apparently switch between two games on the fly, so we’d expect the PS5 to do something similar but faster, as well as load up big games in mere seconds.
A speedy SSD can also allow for graphics assets to be pulled from storage and into the console’s CPU and GPU at a faster rate. So while the PS5’s 10.28 teraflops of compute power is trumped the Xbox Series X’s 12 teraflops, real-world performance might be tipped into the PS5’s favor thanks to its SSD tech.
And the PS5 will come with PCIe 4.0-based expansion slots to allow for storage space to be upgraded using off-the-shelf parts, while the Xbox Series X needs a custom expansion SSD.
While game developers have praised both of the upcoming consoles, the PS5 seems to be the one that’s getting the most attention. Many have been waxing lyrical about the PS5 SSD and how the console will make accessing its power an easy process.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney noted that the speed of the PS5's SSD is beyond anything available in the most high-end PCs (opens in new tab), and could shake up the SSD performance expected from some of the best gaming PCs (opens in new tab).
“[The PS5] has an immense amount of GPU power, but also multi-order bandwidth increase in storage management,” he said. “We’ve been working super close with Sony for quite a long time on storage. The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on the PC for any amount of money right now. It’s going to help drive future PCs.”
And he's not alone in such claims, as Adam Fletcher, CTO at Mediatonic, also championed the PS5's SSD capabilities.
"The SSD is a really exciting step forward as it does away with one of the biggest limiting factors in current-gen consoles," Fletcher told Mashable (opens in new tab). "For developers, it'll mean having to make fewer compromises, and less smoke and mirrors to hide loading times, which ultimately will result in more immersive experiences for players."
Speaking of loading games, the PS5 could have a more expansive list of exclusive games than the Xbox Series X. A sequel to the excellent Horizon Zero Dawn (opens in new tab) could be in the works for the PS5, and there’s a good chance a sequel to the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne could make it to Sony’s next-generation console.
Sony also has exclusive developers like Naughty Dog, the folks behind the Last of Us 2 (opens in new tab), who could reboot the Uncharted series on PS5 hardware. And Santa Monica Studios is due to follow up the seminal God of War (opens in new tab) with a sequel at some point, which alone could make the PS5 a console worth buying. A follow-up to the excellent Marvel's Spider-Man also seems like a no-brainer.
We'll have to see how each console's first-party lineup shakes out, as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios has a number of powerful developers under its banner. But all of Microsoft's first-party games will be made playable on Windows 10 PCs. So if you have a powerful gaming desktop, then you can enjoy a lot of future Xbox games without the need for an Xbox Series X (opens in new tab), making the PS5 the console of choice.
Innovative DualSense controller
The DualSense controller (opens in new tab), which is the only finalised part of PS5 hardware we’ve seen, may be a controversial step away from the DualShock 4 design. But it’s a lot more interesting than the new Xbox Wireless Controller the Xbox Series X will come with.
The new Xbox Wireless Controller looks much like its Xbox One (opens in new tab) predecessor, only with a few button positions changed. In comparison, the DualSense controller is a radical departure from the DualShock 4, with a sharper design and bold two-tone color scheme.
More importantly, the DualSense has improved haptic feedback that will deliver more immersive rumble, such as the ability to feel the “slow grittiness” of mud when a player drives an in-game car through it. And other features like a built-in mic could facilitate voice commands in games, while improved triggers will supposedly allow players to feel things like the tension of a bowstring when using a bow and arrow in a game.
Then there’s the mysterious ‘create’ button, which could be a way for streamers and content creators to better create videos and clips of their in-game exploits; think of it as a supercharged version of the ‘share’ button on the DualShock 4. In comparison, the Xbox Series X’s controller looks a little dull.
Superior 3D sound
The PS5’s 3D Audio has been designed to allow you to hear the sounds coming from all around you, which could give it a major edge over the Xbox Series X.
Surround sound for games consoles have been around for ages. But with Sony’s Tempest Engine, the PS5’s 3D audio capabilities promise to take into account data based on a person’s ear and head shape and use it to far more accurately create 3D sound.
The best headphones (opens in new tab) might be needed to get the most out of 3D audio. But Mark Cerny, PS5’s lead system architect, noted that the feature will still work through TV speakers.
In comparison, there hasn’t been much noise from Microsoft around what audio capabilities the Xbox Series X will have, though it’s rumored to have a dedicated audio chip (opens in new tab). But given Sony has talked about its console’s audio chops, we’re pinning our colors to the PS5 mast on this one.
The VR advantage
Given its work on the HoloLens headset and Windows Mixed Reality, you’d be forgiven for thinking Micorosft might have a virtual reality headset for the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X, but it doesn’t. Sony, on the other hand, has the PlayStation VR (opens in new tab) headset, which delivers a solid virtual reality experience on PS4.
Sony already confirmed in 2019 that the PS5 will support the existing PSVR headset, and it's possible that the company could be prepping a new model to support its upcoming console. There are already some impressive titles for PlayStation VR, such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission and Resident Evil 7, which gives the PS5 a VR platform to build upon. PSVR also seems like a perfect fit for the PS5's immersive 3D audio tech.
Of course, it’s still early days for bot the PS5 and Xbox Series X, so we can only speculate on which will come out on top. Both are promising to be impressive gaming machines, but the PS5's blazing SSD, immersive 3D audio and promise of better exclusives should give it the edge this holiday season.