The PS5 and Xbox Series X are the big two current-gen systems. Both consoles eclipse their predecessors in terms of performance and game libraries. If you’re able to find either of these elusive consoles, you’re going to get an overall great gaming experience.
While I’ve long preached that people should own multiple gaming consoles if their budgets allow it, I opted to get a PS5 over an Xbox Series X this generation. That may surprise those who’ve read my recent piece, “I’ve been playing the PS5 for a year — and it doesn’t feel like a next-gen console.” While I have issues with the PS5, I find it more enticing than Xbox Series X. But as I’ll detail below, I haven’t entirely cut myself off from the Xbox ecosystem.
Why did I buy a PS5?
My PlayStation journey didn’t begin with the original PlayStation released in North America in 1995. I was a full-blown Sega fanboy and wanted nothing to do with Sony’s system — opting instead to get a Sega Saturn. In hindsight, this was an ignorant mindset to have. But considering I was a teenager whose parents could only afford one system, I think I can cut my younger self some slack. After the death of my beloved Sega Dreamcast, I reluctantly bought a PS2 during my early college days and never looked back.
For 20 years since 2001, PlayStation consoles have delivered some of the finest gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Sure, there have been pitfalls and rough patches, especially during the PS3 era, but by all accounts, PlayStation hasn’t given me a reason to abandon its ecosystem. This isn’t about being “loyal” to a brand (a silly concept on its own). It’s more about continuing with a brand that has, thus far, delivered what I wanted.
Getting a PS5 was a no-brainer given my long history with the platform. As I've argued, the PS5 isn’t a true “next-gen” console yet but it will be over time. After all, it took the PS4 a couple of years to really ramp up. Upcoming titles like God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West and Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will make the system a must-own.
Learning that Sony is reportedly launching Project Spartacus to directly challenge Xbox Game Pass makes the console even more enticing. I expect to sing the PS5’s praises by the end of this console generation.
What about Xbox Series X?
I didn’t jump into the world of Xbox until late 2015. That was because none of its systems had more than one or two titles that piqued my interest. Also, it seemed most of the Xbox’s heavy hitters were shooting games like Halo and Gears of War. That was all well and good but I naturally gravitate toward the single-player narrative-driven experiences found in many of PlayStation’s first-party offerings.
After landing a steady freelancing gaming journalist gig in 2015, I was making enough to finally buy an Xbox. I was also able to afford a powerful gaming rig, but I’ll get to that momentarily.
My Xbox One got extensive use during the first quarter of 2016. I played through the main Gears of War series, Rise of the Tomb Raider (an Xbox One exclusive at the time) and Rare Replay. I even played Voodoo Vince… because, why not? Everything was going fine until the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative brought my time on Xbox consoles to a screeching halt.
For those who don’t remember, Xbox Play Anywhere (opens in new tab) was the beginning of Microsoft’s push to bring its first-party games to more platforms, in this case, the PC. This initiative would eventually evolve into the Xbox Game Pass subscription service we know today. When the initiative launched, I had been enjoying the benefits of PC gaming for several months. If I could play Xbox games on my PC (which was more powerful than either my Xbox One or PS4), why should I play on lesser hardware?
Because of my experience with Xbox One, I didn’t see the need to buy an Xbox Series X — especially since I now own a gaming rig complete with an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. I can enjoy every title on Xbox Game Pass (which works wonderfully on Windows 11) and experience them at their graphical best. Though I don’t own an Xbox console, I still get to try Xbox games on PC. This is in line with my philosophy that it’s best to own multiple platforms.
I don’t need an Xbox Series X
A PS5 and PC combo cover almost all of my gaming needs. The PS5 gives me access to Sony’s first-party exclusives and all the older titles I bought on PS4. It’s also the place where I play with friends since most of them are on PS4 or PS5. One of the best gaming PCs, I can play thousands of games thanks to services like Steam and GoG. And of course, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on PC gives me all the Xbox titles I can handle. Toss in the Switch for good measure and I’m pretty well-covered as far as games are concerned.
This is obviously my ideal setup but it may not be right for you. While I will always advocate owning multiple consoles, this won't work for everyone. After all, if you legitimately don’t care about PlayStation’s offerings, then you won't need Sony’s console. The same is true if you feel the same about Xbox Series X or Nintendo Switch. Do what’s right for you.
Will I ever buy an Xbox console? It's possible. Right now, it’s easy for me to play Xbox games on my PC since I have it next to my LG CX OLED TV. But if I should ever move to a bigger place where I can't easily plop a big PC next to my TV, then perhaps I’d consider getting an Xbox so I don’t lose access to those games.
But, for now, a PC and PS5 are all I need.