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PS5 and Xbox Series X: Here’s what we’re actually buying

PS5 vs Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft/Sony)

The PS5 and Xbox Series X are only weeks away, and many gamers have already made up their mind on which next-gen console they’re getting — including us geeks at Tom’s Guide. 

While one of the two upcoming next-gen consoles has proven more popular among the virtual Tom’s Guide offices, there are also many folks who are skipping out on the new systems at launch. Some are even opting for PC-based alternatives.

So which next-gen consoles are the Tom’s Guide staff actually buying? Here’s a quick breakdown on who’s getting PS5 versus Xbox Series X — and who’s sitting this round out for now.

Mike Andronico, editor in chief: PS5 

Spider-Man Miles Morales

(Image credit: Sony)

This is a tough one. While I prefer almost everything about the Xbox Series X — the design, the backwards compatibility, the Xbox ecosystem — I’m going PS5 first solely for the exclusives. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is my most anticipated title of the fall, and while it’ll also be on PS4, I want to experience it in its full 4K, ray-traced glory. Getting a PS5 also ensures I’m ready for titles like God of War: Ragnarok and Horizon: Forbidden West, and I’m eager to experience existing PS4 exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima on better hardware.

As someone with a powerful gaming PC ready for upcoming Xbox titles like Halo Infinite and Forza Motorsport, I’m less inclined to get a Series X out of the gate. And while I plan on picking one up eventually to experience my existing Xbox library with better graphics and performance, I’ll need a PS5 first to play the console exclusives I’m most excited about. 

Henry T. Casey, editor: Neither 

As I wrote earlier this year, I'm sitting out of the launch party. Neither console has a launch title that's big and important enough for me to take notice. I'm OK playing Miles Morales on my PS4 (though I still need to finish Spider-Man on that same console). My backlog is too big and substantial right now — yes, I need to finish Control and start Horizon: Zero Dawn — and I just don't think I need new hardware… yet.

Plus, the Nintendo Switch and party games like Jackbox and Among Us have proven to me, countless times, that graphical fidelity does not equal fun. Have fun trying to get a next-gen console, I'm still enjoying the games of not-long-ago past.

Marshall Honorof, editor: PS5 (maybe) 

It's an interesting time to be a gamer in the Honorof household. I'm currently building a new gaming PC, and I've requested review units of both the Xbox Series X and the PS5. As such, I'll have three state-of-the-art gaming machines in my apartment next month — but none of them will technically belong to me. As such, I've been debating what I should buy for myself, and when I should buy it.

While I'll have a better idea what I want after I test these three new systems (the PC has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070), my gut says that the PS5 is probably the right choice for me. While a gaming PC would be my first choice, a good one costs about $1,000 — and a really good one, like the one Tom's Guide is building, costs at least $1,500. That's an awful lot of money, particularly when the consoles cost $500 (or less) apiece.

Between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, though, I have to go with the PS5, if only for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. While I have nothing against Halo, Hellblade, Ori and other Xbox-exclusive series, Ratchet & Clank has been one of my favorite ongoing series ever since I picked up the first game. Rift Apart looks like a particular treat, since it's one of the few games we've seen that will take full advantage of the PS5's rapid load times and rendering.

Still, I'll have a better idea in a month or two. If Ratchet & Clank is the only big exclusive in the PS5's arsenal (I've already played Demon's Souls; a remake, however good, is not going to radically alter the experience), I'd be just as happy to invest in a PC, an Xbox Series X — or nothing, while I run down the clock on the PS4 and the Xbox One. 

Adam Ismail, editor: An RTX 3070 (for now) 

PS5 vs RTX 3070

(Image credit: Sony/Nvidia)

I've chosen to hold off buying a next-gen console at launch for a couple reasons. First, I'm just not seeing any launch titles to truly get excited about, on either platform. Oh sure, there's stuff I'm looking forward to down the line, and I'll surely pick up a PS5 day-and-date with Gran Turismo 7's eventual release. But until then, I have a PC that's handling all my gaming needs brilliantly, and will continue to once I pick up an Nvidia RTX 3070. Or, rather, if I can pick up an RTX 3070.

But when it does come time to choose a new console, I'm torn. As I said, I'm eagerly anticipating GT7 — Gran Turismo is without question my favorite franchise — though in terms of hardware, I am far more interested in everything Microsoft is doing in terms of features and services with Xbox Series X. Smart Delivery, Xbox Game Pass, a greater selection of titles supporting cross-platform multiplayer and especially Microsoft's stellar treatment of backwards compatibility across multiple generations are all major draws for me, and will make opting for a PS5 difficult. In all likelihood, I’ll wind up with both one day; when that’ll be, though, is hard to foresee.

Tom Pritchard, editor: Neither (for the immediate future) 

Except for the Switch, the last console I got excited about was the Xbox 360 S. That just about sums up my relationship with console launches. I waited two years to get a PS4 and Xbox One, and never even bothered to upgrade them to their 4K counterparts, so this time around my opinion is a resounding “eh.”

I’m sure I’ll pick up both consoles at some point, as we’ll eventually get to the point where the games I want aren’t available on the consoles I actually have. But by then the price will have come down by a couple hundred bucks, and the built-in storage options will have increased to a more reasonable level. It worked last time, and I’m sure it will work this time.

It also feels like Sony and Microsoft are going to have a hard time keeping the machines in stock, so even if I change my mind it’s not like I’ll be able to buy one for a while anyway. Maybe I could be tempted by a Halo Infinite edition Xbox Series X, but other than that I’m content with waiting. That way I can probably get both consoles without paying the cost of a small car.

Though one thing is for sure, I will not be buying a digital-only console unless I have zero choice. They may well cost less, but going all-digital is not something I’m keen on. I still buy CDs for crying out loud.

Richard Priday, staff writer: PS5 (eventually) 

PS5 UI

(Image credit: PlayStation)

I've been loyal to the PlayStation line of consoles ever since the PS2, and I won't change that this time around. However, what I will be changing is when I actually buy the console.

I bought the PS3 at launch, but none of the initial bundled titles really stood out to me. I ended up getting an edition with Genji: Days of the Blade, which was decent fun. But I knew that I'd played myself by trying to get in on the action early. It's why I only bought my PS4 once the PS4 Slim was available, but then that felt like I'd missed the boat on a lot of games and was continually playing catch-up. 

The main reason I play on PlayStation consoles is for the exclusives. And the one exclusive I'm really looking forward to is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. I'm curious about the Demon's Souls remake too, but not nearly to the same degree. Therefore I imagine that I will finally buy myself a PS5 once Insomniac Games finally lets their iconic duo loose.

Even though I've made my mind up, I have to say I am a lot more impressed by the Xbox Series X's hardware than I am by the PS5's. And the whole Smart Delivery feature sounds excellent, particularly if you're a PC gamer too, as I am from time to time. I can imagine myself picking up the mid-life refresh of the Series X or Series S in a few years' time and picking up a few good titles that suit console play rather than PC, but I can't guarantee that in the same way I know I'll be picking up a PS5 at some point in 2021.