The next generation of gaming has seen a slew of new consoles released in the past year. Both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S were released in November 2020, generating a new culture of cutthroat console purchases amid shortages due to the pandemic. With Sony and Microsoft often directly competing with each other, which console out of these two tech giants is better than the other?
The PlayStation and the Xbox often find themselves butting heads with each new console released. Xbox first came into the picture in 2001 to compete with the wildly successful PlayStation 2. Ever since, both tech companies have traded blows with their proceeding gaming hardware. It's safe to say that the PlayStation and Xbox will be competing against each other for years to come, and both platforms have their own dedicated fans.
But is one machine really better than the other? In terms of hardware and game libraries, which one has a leg up on the other?
Which is better, Xbox or PlayStation?
We've already covered how each console is doing in terms of sales for the current generation: In the latest iteration of the ongoing console war between the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S, PS5 is currently leading in sales with more than 13.4 million units sold compared to the Series X's 8 million. This very nearly reflects the last console war between the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, where Microsoft's user-unfriendly business model for the console paved the way for the PS4's success.
Looking back even further, the Xbox 360 came out strong over the PlayStation 3 between 2005 and 2006. The exuberant $600 price tag on the PS3 made the cheaper Xbox 360 a more consumer-friendly choice. But that success also came with a catch: The 360's rushed production resulted in the infamous Red Ring of Death, an error state for the console that had a decent chance of rendering a 360 unusable.
By now, both Sony and Microsoft have gotten a handle on how to both produce and market their newer hardware. Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X are comparable in terms of graphical fidelity and game performance. Tom's Guide offers an interesting breakdown of each machine and discusses what each one does better. Games on the PS5 load faster and look nicer, but the Series X features a nicer design aesthetic and bigger backlog of backwards compatible games.
However, a major sticking point for console wars is the amount of exclusive titles a new machine has to offer. Exclusives are games that are only playable on one specific platform and can't be played on any other. In that department, the PlayStation has been on top for several years running.
Sony's gaming reputation has been built largely on its string of critically acclaimed PlayStation–exclusive games and franchises. Between the success of the Uncharted series, the God of War reboot, and Marvel's Spider-Man, the PlayStation has plenty of advantages over Xbox, which is largely known for having far fewer exclusives like Halo and the Forza racing series.
When it comes to the latest generation, neither console has an enormous amount of exclusives just yet. But with the good reception for the PS5-exclusive Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and remasters of other popular titles like Ghost of Tsushima, PlayStation is vying to come out on top of Xbox yet again. Given Microsoft's deteriorating reputation over the years, it'll be interesting to see how the Series X will try to stay in the game.
If only anyone could get their hands on either of them.