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Xbox Series X v. Playstation: The Console Wars Heat Up

Can you believe it’s been seven years since the Xbox 1 and PS4 were released? Time flies when you’re having fun. That means it’s been the better part of a decade since either of these two console giants delivered a new gaming system. It was almost starting to feel like the day would never come, but here we are.

It’s 2020, we’re stuck inside, and the console gods have blessed us with two rad pieces of hardware to get us through the indoor months. That said, there are some caveats for the potential buyer. Remember how the last first batch of consoles had some, ahem, problems? We’re talking the red ring of death type of problems. Yeah, you’re gonna want to avoid those. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know before deciding to pony up the cash for one (or both) of these new machines.

Xbox Series X vs PS5 Specs 

These two consoles are both improvements on the last gen, but how do they hold up against each other? We take a look at the details below. 

PS5: Versatile, Sleek, and Deadly

Sony’s PlayStation 5 comes in two different forms: The $499 version has an optical disc drive to play physical media (like 4k Blu-rays) while the $399 Digital Edition doesn’t have the drive. They look basically the same (with the Digital Edition losing a little heft thanks to its lack of drive).  

Both PS5 versions have the same hardware: an impressive AMD Zen 2 processor that still utilizes the RDNA 2 graphics processing unit. When tested, the PS5 performed extremely well, with an impressive 10.28 teraflops. What’s a teraflop? Basically, it’s a measurement for how well a graphics chip performs under pressure.  

That’s not to say it’s the be-all and end-all for graphics. The PS5 delivers on these other graphical feats as well, with ray tracking technology which allows for 120 frames per second. That’s gonna make for some smoooooooth gaming sessions. Couple that with support for HDR and 4k, and you just know games are going to look incredible on PS5.  

Xbox Series S and Series X: The Most Powerful Consoles Ever? 

Also coming in a pair, Xbox has the Series X ($499) and the Series S ($399). The Series X has some incredible hardware, and comes with an ultra-high-speed HDMI cable for 8k resolution output. It also has a 1TB solid-state hard drive, an optical drive, and the same processor as the PS5 (AMD Zen 2). That said, the Xbox actually clocked a higher teraflop with a sold 12 as opposed to PS5’s 10.8.  

The Series S pairs down this setup, halving the hard drive space (though still solid-state), getting rid of the optical drive, and only allows games to run at a resolution of 1,440 compared to the true 4K of the Series X. It also does not come with an ultra-high-speed HDMI cable, though it does support the output.  

Controller Wars: Does the PS5 or Xbox One X Controller Play Better? 

Both the Xbox and PlayStation have new controller designs. The Xbox One X was designed for functionality, with an improved directional pad and the ability to connect to your devices with Bluetooth for reduced latency. 

The PS5 controller really went for it though, with haptic feedback actuators (so you can actually feel the impact in your hands), dual-sense adaptive trigger buttons that actually apply pressure back to your fingers when you pay the game, and a sleek build.  

Xbox or PlayStation? Which one comes out on top? 

The reality is that both of these machines are absolute beasts -- especially the top of the line models for either. We really love the inclusion of a physical drive for media, and the raw hardware on both models seems up to any graphical challenge the next generation of games will throw at them.  

Both controllers are cool, but we give slight edge to the inventiveness of the PS5 controller; they really went with a fully immersive experience, and the attention to detail shows. That said, the Xbox controller is no slouch either, and we like the ability to pair it to a computer to reduce latency -- that’s going to be key for Xbox’s glut of first-person-shooters. 

Which brings us to the final criteria: exclusive games. Right now we have to give the edge to the PS5 again. The Miles Morales Spiderman game looks amazing, and the fact that it’s only available on PS5 is a huge win right before the holiday season. While there are some great games coming down the pike for Xbox (Halo Infinite, Fable) they just didn’t have enough for us to sink our teeth into at release date.

So for us? We’re going PS5. Don’t hold us to that though, give us six months and we’ll probably have both. I mean, when it comes to the console wars it’s good to have your cake and eat it too. That way, we’re all winners!