It's no secret that Sony and Microsoft have been competing in a console rat race over the last two decades. Today, this race has led both companies to their fifth-generation consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Also referred to as “next-gen” consoles, they are the latest pieces of tech from the two console powerhouses. Given this, we thought it was time to pit one against the other to determine which is the better console. So, if you're curious, keep reading to find out!
What is PlayStation 5?
Released in 2020, the PlayStation 5 is Sony's newest console. To date, the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition have sold an estimated 40 million units worldwide. The difference between the two is that the latter can only run downloaded games, whereas the standard PlayStation 5 can also play disc copies of games. Nonetheless, they are both cutting-edge systems and, in fact, also the first vertically standing console in the PlayStation lineup.
What is Xbox Series X?
The Xbox Series X, which was released just a few days before the PlayStation 5, is Microsoft's fifth-generation console. To date, it has sold approximately 21 million units worldwide, which is roughly half of the number of units sold by the PlayStation 5. Perhaps that is an early indication of which console is better, but we must still consider the facts. That being said, it's time to dig into and compare each console's technical specifications.
Aside from sales figures, it's the technical specifications that will truly help us determine which console is better in this PlayStation 5 vs Xbox Series X comparison. So, let's take a closer look at what these consoles are packing under their hood.
- PlayStation 5 – AMD Radeon™ RDNA 2, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz, 10.3 TFLOPs
- Xbox Series X – Custom RDNA 2 GPU, 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @1.825 GHz
- PlayStation 5 – x86-64-AMD Ryzen™ “Zen 2”, 8 Cores / 16 Threads, 3.5 GHz
- Xbox Series X – 8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
- PlayStation 5 – 16GB GDDR6
- Xbox Series X – 16GB GDDR6
- PlayStation 5 – 4K at 120Hz, 8K
- Xbox Series X – 4K @ 120 FPS (Up to 8K)
Right off the bat, we can see that the GPU and CPU of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are very similar. Their video and processing cards produce nearly identical results, with only minor numerical variations. At the same time, they are both delivering the same 16GB GDDR6 RAM. Furthermore, both consoles can run 4K at 120 frames per second. In addition, they can push up to 8K resolution, but at the expense of some lost frames.
Either way, if you want to get the most out of either console, you'll want a monitor that can support a 120Hz refresh rate. That way you can fully utilize each system's 4K resolution and 120 FPS capabilities.
That little tidbit aside, the technical specifications don't reveal much about which console is better. All it really tells us is that the two consoles are nearly identical. So, you'll practically get the same experience from both consoles with only minor differences in performance. In fact, the performance differences are so minor that you wouldn't be able to tell which console produces a better, smoother, and more detailed image with your naked eye.
Games, Subscriptions, and Exclusives
There is some debate about the games that come with each console. Furthermore, each console's subscription service. In fact, we've already discussed Xbox Game Pass vs PlayStation Plus, and while both services are excellent, Xbox provides more games through EA Play, Xbox Live Gold, and the Activision-Blizzard catalog. However, the debate does not end there because we must also consider the exclusive games for each console.
Xbox Series X exclusives consist of titles such as Halo Infinite, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 5. While these are excellent games, the Xbox Series X lacks the PlayStation 5's extensive library of exclusive titles. The Last of Us series, God of War series, and Final Fantasy XVI are just a few examples of PS5 exclusives, but the list could go on and on. So, while the Xbox Series X subscription services may offer more games, the PlayStation 5 is providing better and more exclusives.
The last area of discussion falls on each console's controllers. It's no secret that many of us prefer an Xbox controller over a PlayStation one. The Xbox controller is more ergonomic, more comfortable, and more streamlined in general. The PlayStation 5 controller, on the other hand, is extremely simplified. It's not our favorite PlayStation controller edition; we prefer the PS4 version. That being said, this section is largely a matter of personal preference.
Nonetheless, if we had to pick a winner in this category, we'd go with the Xbox controller. After all, there's a reason it's the preferred controller among Esports professionals.
Which Console Is Better?
The time has finally come for us to decide which console is better. It's been a close race, and before we stake our claim, we'd like to point out that both consoles are fantastic and will provide you with the most cutting-edge gaming experience. That being said, there is a reason why the PlayStation 5 has nearly doubled the sales of the Xbox Series X. As a result, we believe that the PlayStation 5 is the better console.
Sure, the PlayStation 5 doesn't have the best controllers or subscription service, but when it comes to exclusive games, it easily outperforms the Xbox Series X, which is a huge incentive in deciding what console to buy.
At the end of the day, we're looking for the console that's going to deliver a better gaming experience. And, considering both consoles' performance is nearly identical and controllers are a matter of personal preference, the games are the deciding factor. And you can't deny that the PlayStation 5 has greater exclusives than the Xbox Series X. We don't want to miss out on those experiences, which is why we are going with the PlayStation 5.