It’s been roughly a year since the launch of the ninth gen consoles, the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series S/X and there’s still a massive shortage.
Getting one without using a bot or buying from a scalper is like winning the lottery.
I happened to win that lottery, getting a Playstation 5 at launch and getting an Xbox Series S months later.
So, I’m going to discuss which console is better and whether it’s worth going through hell to obtain.
At its launch, many noted how the Playstation is dummy thick.
At first I thought it was an exaggeration. Then I took it out of the box and yes, it is pretty big especially when it’s next to other consoles.
Additionally, the Playstation 5 with the disc drive looks like it has a butt sticking out, adding a bit more space.
For anyone who doesn’t have a big gaming setup, the massive size of the Playstation 5 may cause problems.
One small solution that Sony has done to fix this is including a stand to have the console be vertical or horizontal.
For anyone willing to wait a few years, Sony will probably release a slimmer model, just like the Playstation consoles of the past.
Both Xbox consoles are pretty small and ergonomic.
I don’t own a Series X, but having seen it multiple times, I’m surprised how small it is considering how powerful it is.
The console with the best design in my opinion is the Xbox Series S. I love the simplicity of the console.
It’s a small rectangular box that takes up very little space and both Xbox consoles can be stood up vertically and horizontally without having to use a stand, unlike the Playstation 5.
Point goes to: Xbox
Just like the Playstation 5 with the disc drive, The Xbox Series X has all the big next gen features including the disc drive. However, the Xbox Series S has a lot more differences in comparison.
It is a digital only console, it contains less storage and the highest resolution it can go is upscaled 4K.
But with that said, it has a heavily discounted price of $299.99 and contains a ridiculously large library of titles on game pass which I will get into later.
If you don’t care about native 4K or physical media, the Xbox Series S is an insanely good deal.
Overall Xbox has better consoles when compared to Playstation.
The base $499.99 Playstation 5 contains all the next gen games and features with many games running in native 4K and 60 frames per second.
Some can run in 120 frames per second and apparently the console has the potential to run games in 8K resolution.
What makes this model stand out is that it includes the disc drive.
If you still care about buying physical media, whether you are a collector or want to resell your games, then go with a disc drive.
But, if you’ve noticed that most of your game library has become digital, then there really is no point in spending the extra money.
Point goes to: Xbox
The controller to the Xbox has mostly remained the same.
There’s a screen capture button that can only record up to a minute and a slightly improved D-Pad and triggers. Microsoft decided to play it safe.
Sony, on the other hand, decided to make some major changes.
Their new controller for the Playstation 5 is called the Dualsense.
The first thing to note is how bigger it is compared to the Playstation 4 controller.
As someone who doesn’t have tiny hands, the Dualsense felt a bit bulkier, but a lot more comfortable at the same time. This controller also has haptic feedback on its grips. This is like a more advanced version of the Nintendo Switch’s HD rumble.
When walking in various games, I could feel my controller bump a bit with each step I took.
The Dualsense feature I liked the most are the adaptive triggers.
Many game developers really took advantage of these triggers.
In a game like “Deathloop,” adaptive triggers are used to make each gun and knife give off a different sense of vibration, making weapons more immersive.
The only downside is that the triggers do get stuck and break. One small drop could lead to the need to fix or replace the controller.
Point goes to: Playstation
Owners of the Playstation 5 have access to the majority of the Playstation 4 library, though obviously, PS4 discs are not compatible with the digital console. However, there is no backwards compatibility when it comes to Playstation 3, 2, or 1 titles (unless you count Playstation Now).
The next gen upgrades to Playstation games are a bit iffy.
Some titles require a tedious process to get games upgraded from the PS4 to the PS5 version. Some titles will allow an upgrade, but not allow save data to be transferred. But worst of all, some titles, including ones published by Sony themselves, require a fee to upgrade to the Playstation 5 versions of their games.
I’d consider this a rip off compared to what Microsoft has to offer.
The Xbox Series consoles are backwards compatible with the majority of Xbox titles across the past three generations, some of which are available on Game Pass.
On top of that, there is the smart delivery feature which will upgrade Xbox One titles to the next gen version automatically. It makes the upgrade process a lot more simple and smooth.
Point goes to: Xbox
During the summer of 2020, “Halo: Infinite” was announced to be a launch title for the new Xbox.
Due to the negative reaction of the first gameplay footage, the game was pushed all the way back to 2021.
So what has Xbox had to offer in “Halo: Infinite’s” place? Not much.
A small number of third party titles are on game pass as console exclusives such as “The Ascent” and “Twelve Minutes.”
Some games have their next gen upgrade exclusive to the Xbox.
Of course, older titles such as “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” and “Forza Horizon 4” all have their upgrades. But there are some multiplatform games such as “Psychonauts 2” have their upgrades exclusive to Xbox due to Microsoft buying these studios up.
Other than upgrades and some smaller titles, Xbox is heavily lacking in the exclusives department.
Before the Playstation 5 was released, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan stated that “We believe in generations,” claiming that most, if not all first party games, would be a PS5 exclusive.
That turned out to not be true.
Upon launch, “Sackboy: A Big Adventure” and the expansion marketed as a “standalone game,” “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” both turned out to be available on the Playstation 4 as well. And even more of Sony’s various upcoming titles are intended to be released on both the Playstation 4 and 5 too.
The few true exclusives for the Playstation 5 were pretty underwhelming in my opinion. I appreciate the “Demon’s Souls” remake as an artistic recreation of a classic title from the PS3, but I knew I would probably never finish it. The vehicular combat title “Destruction AllStars” was a pretty looking game with an interesting concept, but the lack of content made the experience get boring quickly.
The science fiction roguelike, “Returnal” just seemed like an uninteresting and frustrating title so I never bothered to pick it up. Maybe I’ll try it when it inevitably gets offered on Playstation Plus. “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” was an amazing visual showcase that displayed how powerful the Playstation 5 could be. However, take away the graphics and fast load times, you get a pretty overhyped game. The combat and platforming works fine. The story is decent, but nothing memorable.
It seems like I’m too hard on these games, but Sony is offering these games at an up-charged $69.99 per title and keeping them exclusive to a new console that is still incredibly difficult to find. Playstation at least has something, unlike the Xbox. Though there isn’t that huge system seller yet.
Point goes to: Playstation (though not by much)
Overall, when it comes to the online service, both Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold work fine. There really isn’t anything to complain about. Where the two services differ are the free games that are offered. Upon liking your account to your Playstation 5, Sony grants you access to the Playstation Plus Collection, a decent backlog of classic PS4 games that will keep anyone busy.
It contains many classics such as “God of War” and “Resident Evil VII: Biohazard”. And every month a mix of Playstation 4 and 5 games are given out each month. These titles can be hit or miss, but there are usually more hits than misses. And with the Playstation 5 being only a year old, Sony has gotten into a habit of giving out smaller titles or next gen upgrades the day they release.
Just like Playstation Plus, Xbox Live Gold gives out titles every month that are hit or miss. Unfortunately, these games are more misses than hits. The majority of the games are pretty underwhelming, with an occasional good title every few months.
In the previous generation, both Sony and Microsoft released their own additional subscription service that provides an entire library of games, or a “Netflix for games” as many like to call it. Both have been around for a while so by the time these new consoles released last year, both Playstation Now and Xbox Game Pass have had time to evolve.
Playstation Now was originally a service in which people could play PS3 games on the PS4, but only through the cloud. And to this day, this is the only way to play PS3 games on the PS5. Over time they also gave the option to download PS4 games as well that rotate in and out. It’s decent if you have nothing else to play and would like a backlog of games. However, Playstation Now is pretty barebones compared to Game Pass.
As stated before, Game Pass contains titles across every Xbox console. Plus all of them are downloadable. Upon opening the Game Pass menu for the first time I was pretty overwhelmed. It was like one big buffet full of games. So far I’ve used it to play through the Halo games, the next gen version of Hades and many more. A bunch of catalog consists of titles that were released on the service at launch. Many of them are indie titles and some are huge blockbuster releases.
In just this month alone, the service is adding the new remaster of the classic “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and a new AAA title from Xbox Game Studios, Forza Horizon 5 along with many others. The only downside to both Playstation Now and Game Pass is that titles will rotate in and out just like with most streaming services. Though Game Pass as a whole is an amazing service. It’s enough to make the system worth it and blows away both of Playstation’s subscription services by itself.
Point goes to: Xbox
As someone who has always stuck with Nintendo or Playstation, I’ve have to say that Xbox is killing it so far this generation. Microsoft offers more console options for consumers and offers an extremely good deal with Game Pass. Though the future is bright for both companies. Microsoft is still shopping around for more studios to acquire, Plus they have a huge variety of first and third party games coming to Game Pass upon launch. On the other hand, Sony has some amazing exclusives coming up such as “Spider-Man 2” and “Wolverine”. And then there’s Nintendo who needs to release something to compete eventually. I hope to see some healthy competition between the three through this generation.