The console war between Sony and Microsoft has been going on for almost 20 years, with no clear favorite. This year, competitors have come as close to each other as possible – the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X releases are only a few days apart, the devices use similar hardware and are released at the same price. But at the same time, the approach of companies to gaming and consumers in 2020 turned out to be completely different. Because of this, choosing a console has become more difficult than ever, but Cybersport.ru will try to help you.
Pre-order – pros and cons
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S / X pre-order openings showed next-gen consoles were in high demand – store sites were overwhelmed and shelves empty in minutes. Not without incidents. Some retailers have unilaterally canceled PS5 pre-orders, and some Xbox fans seem to have confused Series X and One X, the previous generation console.
Often in such situations, manufacturers are suspected of creating artificial shortages. It is assumed that limiting primary supplies increases the value of the product in the eyes of buyers and allows bragging with loud slogans (“Consoles sold out in a minute!”) In financial statements. But even if this is true, is it justified for gamers to be among the first to buy a new console? After all, there are not very many arguments in favor of pre-order now.
Firstly, nothing is known about the real performance of the consoles, all we have is marketing information from manufacturers. Both Microsoft and Sony have had cases of problem launches, so without tests and reviews from real customers, pre-order is a very expensive pig in a poke.
Secondly, the first revisions of equipment very often come out with defects. Internal tests do not always reveal all the flaws, but a multi-million dollar audience copes with this much better. So it makes sense to wait a bit so that companies can collect feedback and launch a more stable version of the device.
Thirdly, there are not so many exclusive games for nextgen at the start. This is easy to explain – the number of devkits for new consoles is traditionally limited (especially if the device has not even been officially announced), and the very adaptation to new technologies and equipment takes some time. In addition, console makers do not want to lose the trust of a “fed” audience that has bought a PS4 or Xbox One. Due to this, players will not miss out on many new products if they delay the transition to the next generation.
Right now, the main reason to place a pre-order is the soul asks. A lot of us just want to try out ray tracing, SSDs, and a couple of new things as quickly as possible. For those whose work is not directly related to video games, there are simply no rational arguments to rush after consoles from the start of sales. Although no, there is one. Due to unstable exchange rates in Russia, prices for equipment, contrary to logic, tend to grow over time. PS4, for example, at the start cost about 18 thousand rubles – today even the basic version in official stores costs almost 30 thousand rubles.
Why do you need Xbox Series S or PlayStation All-Digital?
The new generation of consoles is the first in which buyers have to choose not only between manufacturers, but also between individual models that differ not only in storage capacity. The approaches of Microsoft and Sony in the matter of creating a budget version of the device turned out, as always, fundamentally different.
Let’s start with a simpler one. The PlayStation 5 is available at launch in two versions – with and without a Blu-ray drive. According to the manufacturer, there are no other differences between the devices. Although this does not save from various speculations – some users find it strange that the presence of the drive caused the difference in RUB 9 thousand.
At first glance, the benefits of the diskless version seem undeniable. It is much cheaper, and physical editions of games seem to be more and more archaic every year. Nevertheless, the regular PS5 also has its advantages. First, many are aesthetically pleasing to own discs. Second, collector’s and other special editions are usually accompanied by physical copies. Thirdly, against the background of the rise in prices for games, the relevance of the market for used discs, joint purchases and retailers’ shares is increasing.
The Xbox is more complicated. The budget Series S is not only devoid of a floppy drive, but also equipped with weaker hardware. As such, the console is capable of delivering a maximum resolution of 1440p versus 4K in the Series X. This will scare a lot of people off, but if you don’t have a 4K TV this shouldn’t be a problem. If you connect the console to a regular monitor, the standard of which is still at 1080p, then the option of purchasing a console for $ 27,000 becomes very tempting.
Sony and Microsoft Pricing Policy
Microsoft and Sony fought a very tedious price war this year – no one wanted to show their cards first to be able to make a better deal for their customers. As a result, the situation was resolved by an insider leak, but this did not make it clearer.
In the US, the next-gen consoles sell for $ 499. In the past, both Sony and Microsoft have been burned at inflated prices, so the decision to release devices in the same segment is absolutely understandable. The initial sales of PS3 were hampered by too “fat” filling, which later had to be cut. The Xbox One was bundled with the relatively useless Kinect at release, bringing the price up $ 100 over the PS4.
The younger versions have a larger spread: PlayStation 5 All-Digital – $ 399, and Xbox Series S – $ 299. However, due to the fundamental difference in the approaches of the PS5 manufacturers, it is more appropriate to compare the AD with the Xbox Series X. As a result, we get a list in increments of $ 100, which in theory should cover the maximum audience:
- Xbox Series X – $ 499;
- PlayStation 5 – $ 499;
- PlayStation 5 All-Digital – $ 399;
- Xbox Series S – $ 299
However, this is a US option. In Russia, prices are formed in a different way and hardly depend on American ones. Therefore, our situation is somewhat different:
- PlayStation 5 – ₽46,999;
- Xbox Series X – ₽45,590;
- PlayStation 5 All-Digital – ₽37,999;
- Xbox Series S – ₽26,990.
The difference in RUB1.4 thousand. Sony tried to compensate for the discount on the pre-order of the standard PS5 in the amount of RUB1 thousand. We can say that the situation has leveled off.
If you choose the most affordable next-generation console, then the round is definitely for the Xbox Series S. If you look for a full-fledged next gen with 4K support, then the PlayStation 5 All-Digital wins. But in comparison to top-of-the-range consoles, the Xbox Series X wins, although the margin is minimal. Let’s consider it a draw.
It is also worth mentioning prices not only for consoles, but also for games for them – and there is nothing to rejoice here. Sony not only announced the $ 70 standard (₽5,500) for next generation AAA titles, but also raised the prices for older titles. Microsoft has not revealed the cards yet, but it is hardly worth expecting a miracle from it. Neither side mentioned regional prices for Russia either, and this could become the decisive and most powerful argument in favor of one of the consoles for our market.
What to play?
The number of teraflops and frames per second is a very interesting thing, but in fact, everyone only cares about games. Most of them will of course be multi-platform. Based solely on the dry numbers from the performance characteristics, we can conclude that the more powerful Xbox Series X will provide users with a better picture and performance. However, this conclusion is very premature.
First, the difference in specs between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X isn’t big enough to sum up without benchmarks. Secondly, the power of iron is far from the only factor influencing the final result. The convenience of working with it for game creators is also important.
The Xbox One X is more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, but it hardly affects the gaming experience. PlayStation 3 on paper looked a little more solid than the Xbox 360 – somewhere there are more gigaflops, somewhere – gigahertz, and even Blu-ray was. In fact, the PS3 architecture was much more complex, which made it inconvenient to work with the console. As a result, multi-platform games looked and worked worse on it, and some even had to be abandoned.
While nothing is clear about the true state of affairs behind the performance characteristics, you can only discuss exclusives. Xbox is deprived of them in the usual way – all its titles will be released on PC and in xCloud, so Series X will not be able to offer anything to boyars and fans of cloud gaming. PlayStation round.
On the other hand, if we talk directly about console exclusives, that is, about those games that will be released on the Xbox , but bypass the PS5, the situation looks less straightforward. With the purchase of ZeniMax Media, Microsoft has seriously strengthened an already strong group of studios under its leadership. You can get acquainted with them in our material . However, the announcements of new games still need to wait.
In this regard, you should choose based on what you want to play more: God of War or Halo Infinite, Gran Turismo 7 or Forza Motorsport, etc. Although it should be admitted that the advantage is still with the PlayStation, because its only alternative is YouTube.
Xbox Game Pass or PS Plus Collection?
Exclusives have historically been PlayStation’s trump card. But Microsoft also has good cards, the main one being Xbox Game Pass. The service offers an extensive collection of games for a relatively low monthly fee of $ 89 for an Ultimate subscription, which works for both PCs and consoles, and more recently Android.
Game Pass has a lot of advantages:
- number – more than 200 games on each platform;
- Updates – new games are released regularly, including the full EA Play and Bethesda libraries;
- price – a year of subscription costs about the same as two console games;
- responsiveness – many titles get into Game Pass on release day;
- additional bonuses and discounts.
Of the minuses, we can only note the fact that the games in the collection do not remain forever – some of them periodically leave the library, giving way to new ones. In addition, some users note that this pool includes a lot of indies. At the same time, it can even be called a plus: the service will help you learn about games on which you would hardly purposefully spend money.
Sony did not respond to Game Pass up to the September presentation PlayStation 5, which was presented an updated subscription PS Plus. Service users on the new console will have access to the library of games that “defined the generation” of the PS4. The starting lineup includes 18 titles.
Unlike the Game Pass, the PS Plus Collection includes only AAA titles. At the same time, among them there are many PS4 exclusives, which really “defined the generation”, you cannot say otherwise – God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Bloodborne and others. If you haven’t owned a PS4, then this collection will come in handy.
It is not yet clear how quickly the PS Plus Collection will grow. It is only known that the company does not plan to include new games in the library on the day of their release. From the pros, it can be noted that the advantages of the old PS Plus version will remain – gift games, bonuses and discounts. But the Xbox Live Gold subscription included with Game Pass Ultimate has similar ones.
Despite the impressive titles included in the PS Plus Collection, the service is not yet able to compete with Game Pass. Microsoft just crushes with numbers. Plus, adding games to the collection on the same day and the PC library leaves Sony no chance. Xbox round.
Backward Compatibility, Upgrades and Smart Delivery
Backward compatibility is a very important feature. First of all, it is interesting for those who buy a console for the first time or switch from one manufacturer to another. Thanks to her, the user will be able to join the titles of the previous generation, which he was previously deprived of.
Because of the standardized architecture of the Xbox family, each console supports most legacy games, although sometimes additional developer assistance is required. Xbox Series X is no exception. This feature has always been Microsoft’s strong point.
Sony has a very complicated relationship with backward compatibility. The PS2 supported it in hardware – the console’s audio chip was the processor of the original PlayStation. In the PS3, the PS2 processor was added for the same purpose in a similar way. However, due to many difficulties, this affected only the first revisions, later support was reduced to software emulation, and then backward compatibility was completely abandoned.
The PlayStation 4 was completely devoid of backward compatibility. Old titles adapted for a new device had to be bought again. This was and remains one of the main disadvantages of the console.
The PlayStation 5, in turn, will receive backward compatibility, but only with PS4 games. To support them, to all appearances, no additional tweaks are required, and titles can be launched directly from old disks. An unconditional step forward, but it doesn’t look very encouraging against the background of the Xbox. Xbox round.
The next generation will also have a new feature, somewhat similar to backward compatibility and crossgene. Its meaning is that when buying a game for the old generation, the user also gets its version for new consoles. In this case, we are not just talking about the possibility of running the game on different devices: the gamer will also have access to all the nextgen-improvements of the updated versions.
Microsoft calls this feature Smart Delivery. Sony did not name it in any way, but it will also be on the PlayStation 5. However, if Microsoft is promoting it as one of the advantages of the console, Sony prefers to remain silent. Perhaps, the technology is not so smooth – for example, it is already known that in a number of games between consoles it will not be possible to transfer the progress of the passage.
Next-generation consoles aren’t just about high resolution and frame rates. It is also a technological leap that should justify a generational change. Based on the marketing campaigns of the manufacturers, the SSD will be responsible for it.
Both Microsoft and Sony are betting heavily on solid state drives. For casual gamers, this primarily means faster boot times for both OS and video games. But they are much more important for developers. A sharp increase in data transfer speed will make it possible to do without various tweaks, facilitate work and provide new opportunities for filling games with content.
Besides SSDs, Sony is actively promoting the new DualSense controller. The gamepad has received the most extensive redesign in the past 25 years, and also acquired features not available to its competitor – tactile feedback and adaptive triggers.
On paper, the innovation advantage over the PlayStation 5 – its SSD is faster, and the controller is called almost a revolution in the gaming industry. And since Microsoft does not respond to this with anything other than a little more power, we will give this round to the PlayStation with a slight advantage.
It should be noted that it is simply impossible to evaluate innovations without feedback from real buyers, and in the case of DualSense – and without personal experience. We can’t say what effect the tenths of a second will have on games that the PS5’s custom SSD outperforms the competition. As for the controller, the DualShock 4 also had interesting features like a gyroscope and a touchpad. However, outside the exclusives, they were almost never used, and in them the usefulness of these functions was questionable. A similar fate may befall DualSense.
I never thought that I would be comparing consoles in size, because it seems like a very minor factor. However, revealing the dimensions of the PlayStation 5 made me change my mind. This thing is just huge!
No kidding, PS5 is the largest console ever. It takes up even more space than the Xbox One and PS3, and is very close in size to the system units. Compared to it, the Xbox Series X and even more so the Xbox Series S look diminutive.
If you are cramped in your living space or plan to often carry the console with you, for example, on a visit, then you need to think twice before taking the PlayStation 5. Perhaps this volume is useful for cooling the device. But the round is still unconditionally for the Xbox.
Other participants in the console war
Traditionally, modern console warfare refers to the confrontation between the PlayStation and the Xbox. However, we must not forget about other market participants. Sometimes they can make very significant adjustments to the state of affairs.
First of all, it is, of course, a PC. For the main target audience of game developers, personal computers are primarily an adaptation for work, not games. Therefore, questions like “Why Xbox if you have a PC?” do not occur very often. In Russia and the CIS, on the contrary, PC gaming is historically developed much stronger than the console one.
The PC is more powerful and versatile than the Xbox Series X and PS5, but the price of decent assemblies can be several times higher than the cost of new consoles. This difference is gradually offset by regional game prices. If you have a PC that meets modern industry standards, the Xbox Series S / X is unlikely to interest you, it is better to take a closer look at the PS5. Let’s not forget about the new lines of video cards from NVIDIA and AMD, the latter will be presented in October.
Another serious player in the market is Nintendo. This company has long been following its own unique course and seems to be completely oblivious to the passions going on in the industry. The Switch dominates the portable arena almost completely. According to rumors, in early 2021, the company plans to present an updated version of the console. For those who love casual games and portability, it can be much more interesting than the PS5 and Xbox Series S / X.
The most powerful force in the gaming industry right now is mobile devices. They account for the largest share of revenue and audience. Despite this, they cannot compete with PC and consoles on equal terms, and they do not try, preferring shareware format. At the same time, cloud technologies can make certain adjustments to the positioning of mobile gaming. XCloud and Stadia already allow you to play console titles on smartphones. Who knows, maybe in a short time specialized gaming stations will be completely pushed out of the market.
Apart from this, there are also slot machines, as well as less visible consoles. Most of them are analogs of retro devices or gadgets for a narrow audience of geeks. But all of them – and even the long-suffering Atari VCS – occupy too little of the market to take into account.
PlayStation 5 vs. Xbox Series S / X – Which Console Should You Choose?
In the late 1990s, the PlayStation nearly wiped out the SEGA console industry. In the early 2000s, PS2 finally finished it off and even went skating on a fresh Xbox. The Microsoft device failed to match the competitor’s performance, but managed to adequately hold back the blow of the most popular console in history.
The experience of this struggle was very useful for Microsoft in the future and allowed it to enter the next generation much more successfully. The PlayStation 3 is not a flop console like the Wii U or the Dreamcast, but in direct comparison with the Xbox 360 it was clearly inferior.
The situation changed with the start of sales of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Unsuccessful pricing, loss of exclusives, and occasional performance problems prevented Microsoft from holding onto the lead and left the eighth generation at the mercy of Sony. Although, again, this cannot be called a complete failure.
Obviously, Microsoft can learn from its mistakes. She no longer positions the Xbox as a “media hub” and is focusing on gaming again. The same goes for pricing – the Xbox Series S can break the bank thanks to its surprisingly low price. In addition, the company is building its strength with xCloud and Game Pass.
At the same time, Sony is on a course that has hardly changed for 25 years. Technical innovation and exclusive video games – the company pays no attention to anything else.
If you approach the question purely mathematically, evaluating only advertising, then at the start of the new generation, Microsoft’s position looks more confident. The Xbox Series S / X marketing campaign is constantly bringing something new to the table, while the PlayStation 5 PR people seem to have little interest in what’s going on. However, despite all this, it is still very, very early to choose a winner. In addition, even in this situation, each console can easily find its buyer.
Xbox Series S is a budget next gen. The cheapest and most compact way to enjoy the next generation of games. Suitable for those who do not have monitors and TVs supporting 4K and increased hertz. A great option for those who like to play, but not too deeply immersed in the gaming environment.
Xbox Series X is a high speed popcorn gaming and a great PC replacement. The best option for those who want to get a full-fledged nextgen, but are not going to play through every game in the world. The abundance of the multiplatform will not let you get bored, and the huge Game Pass library will help you forget about buying games.
PlayStation 5 All-Digital is the cheapest access to a full nextgen. The hardware of the older brother, exclusives and ₽9 thousand savings make the console very attractive for owners of good PCs and the Internet.PlayStation 5 – the best traditions of past generations. A selection of hardcore fans, fans, collectors and hoarders. You shouldn’t take it as a replacement for your PC, but as an addition to it, it will do just fine. With such a kit, you will not miss a single important release of the generation, and the drive, in theory, will be able to compensate for the rise in prices for games