I want PS5 over Xbox Series X — and it has nothing to do with specs

(Image credit: Giuseppe Spinelli/LetsGoDigital)

At this point, we have a solid idea of the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s specs, controllers and defining features. While it’s too early to say which system will ultimately offer a better experience overall, it’s probably time to start thinking about which console you’d like to buy. And I’m thinking about the PS5.

I stand by my assertion that a new console generation may not be necessary, and I’d like to wait and see how the streaming and PC gaming spaces evolve before I plunk down $500 or more for yet another big black box beneath my TV. But if I had to pick just one new console — no hedging, no conditionals, no prolonged internal debate — which one would it be? And I came down on the side of the PS5 instantly. The reason why is simple, and it boils down to game exclusivity.

This past console generation, Sony was consistently better about providing exclusive titles. This isn’t actually a knock against Microsoft; on the contrary, I respect that Microsoft opened up its exclusives to PC gamers. I wish that Sony would follow its lead. But the fact is, the PS4 is where you have to go if you want to play titles like God of War (2018), Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man — the list goes on. And I have every expectation that the PS5 will follow suit.

Why PS5 will beat Xbox Series X on exclusives

We could debate all day about the merits of having exclusive titles versus making everything multiplatform. But like Voltaire’s Candide, we have to make peace with living in the real world. And in the real world, Microsoft has made almost every Xbox-exclusive title available on PC as well. Sony has not done the same for PlayStation exclusives, and as far as I know, has no plans to.

PS5 exclusives: All the big games to expect

(Image credit: Sony)

In practical terms, this means that any Xbox Series X exclusive that I might want to play, I’ll be able to do so on PC. I understand that not everyone has a gaming PC, but I do, and the idea of buying a console to access the exact same library is, to me, ludicrous. An Xbox Series X might run games better than my admittedly old system, but I could simply take the $500 or so that a new console would cost and invest in new PC components.

I’m also not a huge fan of either Halo or Gears of War, so take that for what it’s worth. I do, however, love games from Obsidian and inXile, both owned by Microsoft. I will almost definitely purchase Microsoft exclusive games in the next few years; they’ll just be on PC.

God of War

God of War (2018): One of the best games ever, and a PlayStation exclusive. (Image credit: SIE)

Compare and contrast to the PS4, where exclusives generally stay put. Horizon Zero Dawn will come to PCs this summer, but aside from that, I can’t think of a single big PS4 exclusive that has gone multiplatform. Many exclusive PS3 and PS4 games are available to stream on PlayStation Now, of course, which you can use on a PC. But their availability comes and goes, so it’s not really the same as owning a game.

Speaking only for myself, I thought God of War (2018) was one of the very best games of the last decade, and I want to buy the system that can play its sequel. I want to play the next Spider-Man, the next Uncharted, the next Ratchet & Clank (please, please, please do not let this series die an ignominious death, Sony) and so forth. If I wait long enough, maybe they’ll be on PlayStation Now — and maybe they won’t. Or maybe they won’t be available when I have time to play. Buying a PS5, at present, seems like the only surefire way to play these exclusive titles. If that changes, so will my views on buying a PS5.

Do specs matter?

I considered discussing how the PS5’s specs stack up to the Xbox Series X’s, but I’ve already covered that in my PS5 vs. Xbox Series X face-off. The bottom line is that the Xbox Series X’s specs look more powerful, and that’s definitely a feather in Microsoft’s cap. But the fundamental question here isn’t, “Which console will run games at a better clip?” It’s, “Which console has the games that I want to play?” For me, at least, it’s the PS5.

(Image credit: Xbox)

(If you want to know how much processing power means to the average consumer, by the way, take a look at which console is currently sold out of what seems like every store in the entire world. It’s not the PS4 or the Xbox One.)

It’s worth noting that I can make this decision because of my gaming PC. Because of Microsoft’s commitment to cross-platform play, I won’t have to miss out on any games if I skip the Xbox Series X. This doesn’t apply to everyone.

So does this mean that I recommend everyone go out and pre-order a PS5 the second they become available? Not really. Heck, I’m not going to. But at the moment, Sony’s console seems like the better bet for gamers who want exclusive titles, particularly if they already have access to a gaming PC. If you want solid buying advice, mine is, as always, is to wait and see what reviewers say once the product launches.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • Dave81j6
    More articles like this please. It gets to what really matters, price, games, and what games your friends are playing.

    And yes as a fan of Xbox i could get defensive about Xbox exclusives, or offer counter points highlighting Microsoft's approach to console gaming ...

    But none of that invalidates the points of the author.

    Less mudslinging, more articles like this.
  • takk78
    Dumb name for an article. Knowing the Series X has better Specs, it goes without saying that if a person preferred PS5, it would be for reasons other than than the specs. Unless you believe your readers think you always buy systems with inferior specs, then it's perfect.
  • Kvally
    This is the reason I want the Xbox Series X over the PS5. I find Xbox to have the better exclusives. That said, I am buying both day one. I don't want to miss out on the GranTurismo/Uncharted/GodofWar.
  • Ikuo
    And that's why Microsoft is so much ahead in term of Ecosystem. And so much better prepared for the next decade than Sony.

    Like 2-3 years ahead PlayStation.

    Xbox is platform agnostic.
    It is player-centric, whereas PS is still "console centric"... A strategy that belongs to the past.

    Xbox allows you to play wherever you want. xCloud ? PC ? Xbox Series X for the best premium console experience ? It doesn't matter as long as you use Xbox Ecosystem which is FAR better that PlayStation's.

    And by the way, PlayStation WILL publish their games natively on PC or at least on PS Now (which is on PC too...), day one, like Gamepass. Trust me, they will.

    Because subs and services are what bring money. Not console sales anymore.
  • Flugen
    I love Playstation but you are way romantic in your opinion. Console that will make 3rd party games look better, takes the generation always. Maybe you are new to this. But exclusive won't matter. Check the sales and see where are Playstation exclusives compared to major aaa 3rd party titles.
  • Ikuo
    Flugen said:
    I love Playstation but you are way romantic in your opinion. Console that will make 3rd party games look better, takes the generation always. Maybe you are new to this. But exclusive won't matter. Check the sales and see where are Playstation exclusives compared to major aaa 3rd party titles.

  • Whetthis
    I will say that I enjoyed Cuphead, Ori 1 and 2, Gears 5, Forza Horizon 3,4, Sunset Overdrive, Killer Instinct and Sea of Thieves a great deal. Just as much as I enjoyed Spiderman, God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn on my ps4. The xbox live, gamepass and backwards compatibility and ability to continue play on almost any device is impressive. At launch of the series X I can play ALL my titles. And xbox live gold will still give me 2 free games a month. I played Journey To the Savage Planet on xcloud on my galaxy tab 4. That was amazing. to play a game like that on a mobile device. I also know that Microsoft has invested in first party content. Grounded looks amazing, Everwild from Rare looks beautiful, Halo will be a monster, The initiative is developing a big game and has top talent from the industry, Fable is in development, Hellblade 2 should be great, Outer Worlds 2 will be an exclusive. Naughty Dog could be developing a new FPS and it could be great. Perfect Dark may return in full force. We have no idea, this article is pure assumption. We will have to revisit this in a couple years to know if this article is baseless or is based on fact.
  • Travix 3111
    Oh man, I am impressed how hilariously awful this article is. So impressed that I NEEDED to comment on it. I read a lot of gaming articles and this one is bad. But I have some suggestions of how to improve. I’m not here to hate, I’m here to help and you gotta be informed of what is actually going on with stuff like this in the gaming world. You state “Microsoft has made almost every Xbox-exclusive title available on PC as well. Sony has not done the same for PlayStation exclusives, and as far as I know, has no plans to.” Sony is making plans to bring their games to pc. Might I draw your attention to this article https://thenextweb.com/gaming/2019/08/20/sony-boss-wants-to-bring-first-party-playstation-titles-to-pc/. Now I know that Shawn Layden was pretty much banish from Sony so how about this article https://www.tweaktown.com/news/69991/sonys-first-party-ps4-exclusives-coming-pc/index.html and oh yeah, this article https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2020/03/11/it-would-be-weird-if-sony-didnt-bring-more-playstation-exclusives-to-pc/. It may not be day one like Microsoft is doing but it certainly pokes a hole in your viewpoint.

    Also, Sony has not actually given you a reason to buy a PS5 for a game yet. So for the only confirmed PS5 game, Godfall, is also available on PC. Maybe you missed that in the world premier trailer. Which kinda kills that theory in your article. Here it is for you to watch again just in case you missed it 7HhUpLqHyv4View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HhUpLqHyv4. You oddly end your article asking the question “Which console has the games that I want to play?” and the answer is neither system has a game that you cant get on pc so far. In anything the facts point to anything but the PS5, but i digress, let's continue.

    Perhaps you are unaware but Sony’s first part studios are struggling… bad. Naughty Dog, Sony’s “golden child”, can’t seem to put out a game https://www.techradar.com/news/sony-pulls-the-last-of-us-2-from-playstation-store-and-will-refund-pre-orders. Its probably from their unsavory practices in the workplace https://kotaku.com/as-naughty-dog-crunches-on-the-last-of-us-ii-developer-1842289962. But everyone (well, informed persons) knows that Xbox has been poaching their good developers from Sony’s studios like crazy (just google “xbox poaching sony developers” and there is no shortage of sources available). I’m not saying that exclusives sony will put out are going to be bad. I’m just pointing out that their talent is leaving and chances are the quality of exclusives is going to go down.

    Lastly, 90% of the games available to play are going to be third party games. One can get into all sorts of tangents talking about which online service is better for competitive games and all sorts of other things that are less material. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how you’d want a PS5 over and Series X for third party games. Or that you’re going to play third part games on your pc that is an “admittedly old system”? I guess that somehow makes sense......

    I hope you strive to be more informed before writing more articles. Heavens know that we need less fake news in our world. Also, I do want to assure you that I am an informed reader and I know that this article is your opinion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It just happens that some people's opinions are garbage when compared to facts.
  • Shperax
    admin said:
    I’d rather have a PS5 than an Xbox Series X, and exclusive games are the primary reason why.

    I want PS5 over Xbox Series X — and it has nothing to do with specs : Read more
    Its pretty sad given your job that you aren't going to have ALL gaming systems available. Thus the only conclusion someone could arrive at is that this article is proof Sony is now paying for these opinions. I'm not rich by any means but I spend on a single GPU more then what these consoles will cost TOGETHER. Why on earth would I pass up the opportunity to own them both. Especially if I was a writer on a well known tech website. Sorry but this article has "Sony shill" written all over it. Shame on Tom's Hardware for letting something like this be published.
  • Enry117
    Nothing wrong about buying PS5 over Series X, just admit you're a fanboy tho. Right now there's no info on PS5, no games on PS5, no price, no reason to buy it. Pure fanboy choice. I think you shouldn't be writing on a news site, but on a personal blog. In these days and age, news sites like more to influence people than to report on facts, a very bad kind of journalism.

    Since this is an opinion piece, I'll write down my opinions about a couple phrases in this article too. First of all Sony's exclusives were not consistently better through out the whole generation, they didn't have good exclusives up untill 2016 as Michael Ephraim admitted. And in my opinion (read it: don't take it as gospel, but...) from 2013 till now, Xbox One had the best exclusives every single year with: Killer Instinct ('13), Titanfal ('14), Halo 5 ('15), Quantum Break ('16), Forza 7 ('17), Forza Horizon 4 ('18) and Gears 5 ('19).

    From the start of the generation people like to harp on Xbox because that was the "cool thing to do". That's because of journalists like the one who wrote this article, who just have a personal preference toward a console, and write fanboy comments instead of proper articles.

    As this article sais, Sony exclusives are or are going to be on PC too, through PS Now or through straight ports. Sony's views are changing apparently, it looks almost like the few console sales, compared to the massive PC market, are not enough anymore.

    All the games Marshal writes in this article he wants to play have never even been mentioned by Sony, wouldn't it be smarter to wait buying PS5 untill those games come out?

    I'm not buying a Series X at launch either probably, eventhought there are a few games announched for its launch. I'm going to play those games wiith GamePass on Xbox One. But sure as hell I'm not going to buy a PS5 at launch, because there are zero exclusives announched for it right now, because it's going to have about 1/10 of the games availabe on Series X, if you consider all the backward compatible games, becuse I don't care about just graphics in games, because I care about value and because PlayStations are notoriously loud and it looks like PS5 is going to be loud too.