In many ways, the console wars never went away. Just as previous generations debated the merits of the Super Nintendo versus the Sega Genesis, modern generations debate Xbox versus PlayStation.
In the current generation, there is a clear winner. In terms of global sales and market penetration, the Sony’s PlayStation 4 clearly beats out Microsoft’s Xbox One. According to research from February 2020, the PS4 has a market share of 52% versus the Xbox One’s 23% market share. Furthermore, Sony has sold over 106 million units while Microsoft has only sold a little over 46 million.
The message is clear: if Microsoft wants to win the next round of console wars, they need to come out swinging. And based on what we know about PS5 versus the Xbox Series X, it looks like Microsoft has already won.
Don’t believe it? We’ve got a full comparison and breakdown of the Xbox Series X versus the PlayStation 5.
Seeing is believing
The first point of comparison is mild, but it’s worth noting. While Microsoft has already shown us what the Xbox Series X looks like, Sony is playing coy with the reveal of the PlayStation 5 design.
Expect to see the official PS5 design reveal at the PS5 event on Thursday, June 11.
There may be some perfectly good marketing reasons for Sony waiting until June for the reveal. But from the outside looking in, it certainly seems like Microsoft is more confident in showing off the goods.
It’s also notable that the new Xbox looks less like a game console and more like a PC. This shows that Microsoft is willing to change their formula up in an attempt to triumph over their competition.
However, every gamer knows that the most important things in a game system are what lurks under the hood. On paper, Microsoft is beating out Sony in several key technical factors. But do these higher numbers mean exactly what we think they mean?
Interestingly, the CPU of each system is very similar. Each one is powered by 8x Zen 2 cores. On the PS5, those cores are running at 3.5 GHz while they run on 3.8 GHz on the Xbox.
So, does size really matter in this case? Not necessarily — the difference between 3.5 and 3.8 may be downright imperceptible. And while the Xbox Series X is capable of simultaneous multithreading, doing so brings it down to 3.6 GHz.
Long story short? Games are likely to run quite similarly to one another. As usual, this console war is going to come down to which developers can figure out how to make the most of the new console’s capabilities.
NEXT: Comparing GPU
Your eyes might glaze over a bit when we’re talking about CPU power. However, the GPU largely determines how the next generation of games will really look. So, how do Microsoft and Sony’s new systems stack up in the GPU department?
The PS5 GPU has 10.28 teraflops while the Xbox edges it out with 12 teraflops. In the most basic terms, this means that the Xbox Series X has the potential to crank out prettier games. But as games become increasingly photorealistic, it may be difficult for consumers to notice small graphical improvements between the systems.
Arguably, one of the biggest developments in next generation gaming is the advent of solid state drives. Now, console gamers can finally join PC gamers when it comes to games loading super-fast.
This is another case where the Xbox Series X looks superior on the outside. After all, Microsoft’s SSD offers a full terabyte of storage compared to Sony’s 825 gigabytes. But things aren’t as clear as you might think.
Despite having less space, Sony’s SSD can move more than twice as fast as Microsoft’s (5.5 GHz per second compared to Microsoft’s 2.4 GHz per second). That means that the PlayStation 5 can actually run rings around the Xbox Series X in terms of speed.
NEXT: More than the sum of the parts
More than the sum of the parts
You’ve probably noticed by now, but genuinely comparing systems involves more than seeing which number is higher. In some cases, the two gaming giants are trying very different approaches, and only history will prove who had the best approach.
Here’s an example: remember that teraflop superiority that Microsoft has? It comes with more CUs than Sony (52 to Sony’s 32). At the same time, Sony’s CUs are moving faster (2.23 GHz to Microsoft’s 1.825 GHz).
Which approach is going to lead to smoother and more fluid gameplay? We won’t actually know until the holiday season.
The controller gamble
Going beyond the internal specs, we can also compare the controllers. And doing so may make longtime gamers feel like they have entered a Bizarro World.
Once upon a time, it was a running joke that Sony didn’t mess with their DualShock design. While the company has made small improvements and tweaks, the modern PS4 controller doesn’t really look that different from the original PSX controller.
Now, Sony has thrown all of that out the window in favor of a revolutionary new DualSense design. They claim this will lead to more immersive gaming. Meanwhile, Microsoft looks like they have simply made small improvements to the general Xbox One controller design.
Until we have these controllers in our hands, it will be up to individual gamers to determine if it’s better for these companies to rock the design boat or stick with what has been working.
NEXT: Better backwards compatibility
Better backwards compatibility
When it comes to backwards compatibility, it seems like Microsoft is the clear winner. Despite frequent rumors that the PS5 would support earlier systems (like PSX, PS2, and PS3), Sony can only promise that selected PS4 games will be backwards compatible.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is promising support for all four generations of Microsoft gaming. Before you get too excited, though, we don’t know what form this will take. It will most likely be limited software emulation of selective titles instead of actual support for all previous discs.
The fight goes on
So, has the Xbox Series X already beaten the Playstation 5? Not necessarily. While Microsoft is boasting some better numbers in a few areas, we don’t know whether that will amount to a genuine superior experience.
And that means that this console war will continue via gamer speculation and arguments. Once each console comes out during the 2020 holiday season, we’ll be able to see who comes out on top!
Are you rooting for Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5? Tell us in the comments below!