There are only a few short weeks to go until the launch of the highly anticipated Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles. Recently, there have been rumors buzzing about the specs, pricing, and more of these two highly desired pieces of tech. For weeks, fans have wanted to hear more information about these two consoles so they can make an informed decision when the PS5 and Series X release on November 12 and November 10, respectively. Luckily, major review outlets like Digital Foundry have already gotten their hands on these consoles and have a few impressions to examine.
Let us take a deeper look into this new hardware so you can make the best decision when purchasing your new gaming console.
Something interesting to note about the PS5 is its approach to cooling. It is using a special heatsink as opposed to the traditional vapor cooling system of the X which brings several benefits. According to an interview by 4gamer.net with the VP of Sony’s Mechanical Design Department Yasuhiro Ootori, he says that “Even with a large heat sink, the company has achieved both improved cooling performance and cost reduction… Although the heat pipes are used, the shape and airflow of the heat pipes have enabled the company to achieve cooling performance equivalent to that of an expensive vapor chamber with superior cooling performance and reduced costs”. In addition, Sony is using a liquid metal thermal interface instead of a traditional thermal paste, which they have worked on for more than two years. Regarding fan noise, Ootori says that “Various games will be released in the future, and data on the [Accelerated Processing Unit’s] behavior in each game will be collected. We have a plan to optimize the fan control based on this data”. These specifications in cooling are a significant factor when it comes to the performance of the PS5.
The Series X UI runs at 1080p versus the PS5’s 4K, which is interesting to note, especially when one considers the increased performance of these two consoles compared to the PS4 and One. The cause may be performance-based, Digital Foundry spoke with Microsoft earlier this year and they said “…the original plan was to reserve 1GB of RAM for the upgraded ultra HD dashboard, leaving 8GB total for developers…game-makers said that they could use the extra memory, so plans for the 4K front-end were dropped.” However, Martin points out that “if reducing the resolution of the home screen means better performance in games, then it’s probably a change most players can get behind”. However, there is always the possibility the dashboard could be patched to be 4K later, we will have to wait and see.
Regarding the specs of the two consoles, the digital PS5 is 400 USD versus 500 USD for the standard console, with the Series S and X being 300 USD and 500 USD, respectively. The digital editions of these consoles come without disc drives, with all games being downloaded to the console. The price difference is most likely due to the hardware difference of the two. The PS5 digital edition has 16 gigabytes of random-access memory, runs at a max of 120 frames per second, has a resolution of up to 8K, and has an 825-gigabyte solid-state drive for storage. The Series S on the other hand has 10 gigabytes of random-access memory, runs at a max of 120 frames per second, has a resolution of 1440p with 4K upscaling, and comes with a 512-gigabyte solid-state drive.
In addition, access to certain games sets these two consoles apart. At launch, PS5 players will be able to play Astro’s Playroom, Spider-Man: Miles Morales with Spider-Man Remastered, Demon’s Souls, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Destruction All-Stars as first-party titles. Further exclusives are coming down the line with titles such as Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, and God of War: Ragnarök. In contrast, the Series X offers no new first-party games at launch but offers some third-party exclusives such as The Falconeer and Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
The main focus for the Xbox however is its extensive Game Pass service, offering 390 titles at the time of writing with more to come, notably the EA Play service which offers a large library of EA games with trials and early access to new EA titles. The recent 7.5 billion USD purchase of Bethesda and parent companies like Zenimax Media is no small factor either, with the possibility of upcoming titles from Bethesda like Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6 being exclusive to the Microsoft platform.
As we can see, each console really sets itself apart with its own benefits in certain categories. The PS5 has a better-looking UI, but the Series X may have increased performance. PlayStation has more storage, however, the Series S is cheaper. The PlayStation 5 has more first-party launch exclusives, but Xbox has the Game Pass service and Bethesda newly under its belt. One thing is for certain: the competition will be sharp this holiday season, and these facts mixed with the pandemic will make for an interesting play for both companies.