PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in direct comparison

First there are no new consoles for years – and now the new Xbox and Playstation 5 appear almost simultaneously, with very similar technology. But there are still differences.

There are new smartphones and tablets more or less all the time, but new consoles only every few years. Playstation 4 and Xbox One were launched in 2013, followed by the Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox One X updates in 2016 and 2017. But now both Sony and Microsoft have the real successors ready – and revealed prices as well as other details.

In Germany, the Xbox Series will be launched on November 10, 2020, and the PlayStation 5 on November 19, 2020. But what can the new devices do – and what are the differences between the individual models? The most important info at a glance:

What new consoles are there?

A total of four models will be launched in November: Microsoft’s new console flagship is the Xbox Series X for 499 Euros. In addition, there is the Xbox Series S, which has less computing power and no Blu-ray drive, but comes in a more compact case and with a really low price for a console launch: 299 Euros.

Sony also has two models, but they only differ in one aspect: The regular PlayStation 5 costs 499 Euros, and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition without a Blu-ray drive costs 399 Euros.

Which console is better?

One thing is clear: There are no differences between the flagship models. Both consoles work with Zen 2 processors from AMD, and the graphics hardware also comes from AMD – for ultra HD graphics in unprecedented quality, as both manufacturers promise.

A first on the console market: Both consoles have SSD storage on board – long loading times should thus come to an end. However, this also has a downside: If you need more hard drive space than the integrated 825 gigabytes (PlayStation 5) or 1 terabyte (Xbox Series X), you cannot simply connect an external hard drive, as was still possible with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Instead, the console manufacturers want to offer their own storage expansions – which could get expensive.

This is a foreseeable problem, especially for buyers of the Xbox Series S. It also has an SSD on board, but only with 512 gigabytes of storage. Considering that modern games on current consoles are often more than 50 or even 100 gigabytes in size, this is rather little. Otherwise, the Series S has similar hardware as the Series X, including the same processor, but the graphics chip is much weaker.

How do the manufacturers want to score?

Not much. Both manufacturers are basically continuing as before: Sony is primarily relying on strong games from in-house development studios, combined with exclusive titles from other manufacturers, such as the recently announced “Final Fantasy XVI”, plus the game streaming service “PlayStation Now”.

Microsoft is also focusing on game streaming with its X-Cloud technology, but the clear focus is on Game Pass – a subscription service for downloadable games that gives users unlimited access to more than 100 games, including all new Xbox games from Microsoft and its developer studios, for starting at 10 euros a month.

In addition, both consoles of course offer the usual apps for streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime – that is standard by now. The controllers of both consoles have only changed in details and design.

What can I play on it?

That is the sticking point. Neither of the two consoles offers a real smash hit at launch, which is not available elsewhere. Microsoft had to postpone its long-awaited shooter flagship “Halo Infinite” to 2021. And Sony has a new “Spider-Man” game, but it will also be released for PlayStation 4.

In addition, there are plenty of games from other manufacturers at launch, from “Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War” to the new “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and the inevitable “Fifa 21”. All of these titles are also available for the consoles that are currently available.

Will my old games work on the new consoles?

Yes. That wasn’t always a given in the past, but now Microsoft in particular has discovered backwards compatibility for itself. All games from the Xbox One also run on the Xbox series consoles, plus numerous titles for the predecessors Xbox and Xbox 360. Sony doesn’t lean quite as far out the window. However, all games for the PlayStation 4 should also run on the PlayStation 5.

The question as to which version of the games will run is a bit unclear. Microsoft promises with its Smart Delivery program that users will always automatically have the best possible version. Thus, no one should have to pay for updates to the new console generation. However, it is still unclear whether and which game publishers will follow suit or whether the offer will mainly apply to Microsoft’s own titles. Sony promises something similar, but only for selected games like the new Spider-Man.