For the last 20 years, Microsoft and Sony have been battling it out to be the leading console maker in gaming. There are challenges to the fringes of gaming in Google and Nintendo, but these titans have risen to the top, to fight it out like gladiators.
As such, they both bring out their next-generation consoles at similar times, so they don't give the other an early advantage. In the last quarter of 2020, we will be awaiting the release of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.
Most consumers will have to pick between them - so it begs the question, which one should you buy?
Whilst there have been variations and tweaks, it has been six years since the predecessor consoles were released. But this battle has been going on since 1994 when the original Playstation was released.
Sony had a headstart and took the lead early. Microsoft's first attempt to get a piece of the pie with the original Xbox came in 2001 but was quickly annihilated by the PS2, which had a year advantage to get in consumers' homes. The PS2 is still the best selling console of all time with over 155m units shifted.
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Microsoft won the next round though. They got their Xbox 360 out early in 2005 and proved the trend that releasing earlier than the rival helps. When the PS3 came out, it couldn't compete.
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And here we are now with the latest figures, with the PS4 having achieved a sharper growth, making it the 2nd best selling console of all time. The Nintendo Switch has done well to take advantage of more mobile gaming, but most people who own one will have one of the other main consoles too.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Price
We don't have confirmed pricing at this stage, so we are going off rumor and speculation. The reality is that both companies will be looking to see what happens with each other and trying to wait as long as possible to announce.
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We know that they will want to compete with each other, so they are likely to be similar. Most of the indications at this stage are between £449 and £499 - but it is unlikely either would want to break the psychological barrier of breaking £500. This is slightly above previous launches with the PS4 launching at £350.
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One way that they often frame their pricing is to offer different levels of storage or features. Microsoft is rumored to be launching an all-digital version that will require games to be downloaded. This could be priced at the £399 mark and would promote more sales of games through Microsoft's online store.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Specs
What we have heard so far has been fairly aligned between the two companies. Both consoles will share the same AMD Zen 2 processing chip which is reportedly capable of 8K graphics.
Both consoles will the most powerful that either has produced. Microsoft is claiming the Series X will be 'four times more powerful than the Xbox One'.
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Both machines will have updated hard drives and RAM memory. As games get bigger, this is crucial to reducing load times. Sony has claimed that loading up a game on the PS5 will be 'ten times faster' than on the PS4.
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This could be the heartland of where this battle is won and lost, either way, we should see a quantum leap in gaming when it comes to graphics and performance as a result of these consoles.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Storage Space
If you have been playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare this will be important to you. Games are getting bigger and the 70gb downloads can be a killer. Many players can only hold 4 or 5 games on their console at a time - which if taking an all-digital option, could become a problem.
Currently, it's all rumors and hearsay, but we know the current models which have between 500mb and 1TB is not enough. They have to have between 1TB and 2TB to be viable and the ability to add external storage is always going to help.
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Rumors to date pitch it around that mark and if it's true against the prices above, it actually looks like a bargain compared to PC memory prices. The strongest noise for 2TB is from Sony, so that could be another defining point in the war.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Controller
A more subtle area of competition, controllers have merged to the point where it's pretty clear what works and therefore there are limited differences in the standard models.
Both companies have said there will be updates to the technology of how the controller vibrates and responds to in-game activity. The key is actually a boring but key area of battery power. The longer they can last without charging the better.
Another boring addition that makes a difference would be the headphone jack that Microsoft added to the Xbox One X pad. This allowed regular headphones to replace the headset, as well as playing with sound through the pad. Small things can add up to big victories.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Sound & Vision
The current Xbox has a huge advantage with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos. We would fully expect Sony to level the playing field with the coming releases. PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny has signaled that the PS5 will become the 'gold standard' in gaming sound.
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As the Xbox has already been winning in this area it feels like more of the same from their latest offering.
GAMECHANGER: Could this be the title that swings it into towards Microsoft
As mentioned earlier, the AMD Zen 2 chip offers the chance for both consoles to support 8k gaming. This is an area we expect both consoles to blow us away. This isn't an area either should stand out, but if one doesn't compete it will end the competition right here.
Although remember, a lot of the quality you can expect to get out of your gaming sound and visuals will be limited by the TV and sound system you use too.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Games & Backward Compatibility
This year has already been the year of delays. Most developers will want their game to be with the launch titles and piggyback on new console sales. Microsoft has already announced an exclusive launch title with Halo: Infinite. There is always a racing game too, so expect to see a new Forza title in the works.
The equivalents on the PS5 will likely be Gods of War and Gran Turismo titles to really take the fight to Microsoft.
Both titles have a host of major titles to push, expect the new updates to Fifa 21, Madden 21, Grand Theft Auto 6, Cyberpunk 2077 and a new Call of Duty to hit us over the next 18 months.
Both Sony and Microsoft have said they will support backward compatibility, meaning the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be able to play old games from previous console generations. This is no surprise given Microsoft has been doing this for a while.
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This is good news for people who want to move to the new console but still play their buddies who haven't updated yet.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X - Which should you buy?
I'll start by saying 2020 is the most exciting year for gaming in a long time. The host of anticipated titles, as well as these two consoles, is getting the industry to fever pitch.
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From what we know so far, neither purchases will disappoint fans and the biggest thing to split decisions will be based on your gaming community and who you want to play with online.
Right now I think the PS5 will be the slightly better option and more likely to be successful.
Sony already has the advantage with more people on their current console, and if the rumors of a 2TB system that is then slightly cheaper than the Microsoft release price then that will be the fatal blow.
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