PS5 vs Xbox Series X: How do they compare?

Last updated at 09:28
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Elle Osili-Wood compares the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X. (Sept 2020)

If we had a console war klaxon, now would be the time to sound it!

Sony has just launched its new PS5 console in the UK, a week after it was released in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.

"Today marks a historic moment for the PlayStation brand, and all of us at SIE are pleased to celebrate the release of PlayStation 5 together with our community of fans, game developers, and industry partners," said Jim Ryan, the President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

But, how does it compare to the new XBox Series X which came out last week?

Take a look below to see how these monster machines match up, as they battle it out for Christmas 2020 supremacy.

Price and release date

The PS5 will match the Xbox Series X in price, with both consoles costing £449.99.

Xbox Series X was the first to launch, dropping on the 10 November, with the PS5 launching in the UK on 19 November.

Will that week's head start give the Series X an advantage over the PS5?

Cheaper versions
The Xbox Series S is a much smaller and less powerful version of the Series X

You wait for two next-gen consoles and then four come along at once... Both Microsoft and Sony have announced cheaper alternatives to their main consoles.

The new Xbox Series S is the cheapest of the new next-gen consoles at £249.

A slimmed down version of the PS5, which doesn't include a disc drive, will cost £359 at launch.

While that might encourage people to go for the cheaper Xbox Series S, some gamers have pointed out that that machine is limited to 1440p gaming. That means it won't look as good on screen as it can't run in 4K resolution.

The slim digital edition of the PS5 has the same specs as the more expensive console, just without a disc drive.

More and more gamers are opting for digital downloads rather than physical discs to insert into consoles, so this could prove to be a positive move made by Sony in the console war.


So, back to the main machines, which one is more powerful?

"The two higher-spec consoles are close to each other in terms of specification - the Xbox has more storage," said Nicky Danino, a gaming expert at the University of Central Lancashire.

"But there are still reasons why people will pick a specific console. What platform your friends play on, for example, is highly influential."

So as we compare the power in each machine, something that will be a relief to most gamers is that the days of waiting for long, lengthy loading screens are finally over!

Inside the shell of both consoles is something called a Solid State Drive or SSD for short. That bit of hardware means that the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be able to read data quicker and more efficiently, meaning bigger open worlds and near-instant load times.

For example the SSD on the PS5 means it will be around 100 times quicker than the PS4!

Hogwarts LegacyWarner Bros/PlayStation
At the Playstation showcase there was also a first look at the much anticipated Harry Potter spin-off Hogwarts Legacy. The role-player game will be a cross-platform release in 2021

Both consoles also feature ray tracing. This means that light can be recreated realistically for the first time in video games by simulating each ray individually, allowing for the most lifelike lighting, shadows and reflections yet.

Ray tracing has been added into lots of games recently (like Minecraft and Fortnite) and makes games look even more epic.

Both consoles support up to 8K resolution and 120 frames per second (fps). The current standard for games consoles is 30fps, meaning both consoles will have smooth gameplay unlike any seen before.

Technically the Xbox is slightly more powerful; the new console runs on 12 teraflops. Teraflops are how speed is measured in gaming.

For comparison The Xbox One X currently runs at six teraflops and the new PS5 will run on 10 teraflops - so basically the new Xbox Series X is faster.

Space for game saves and downloads

The Xbox Series X also packs more onboard storage than any PS5 model, with 1TB of space to save game data, which is pretty roomy.

The PS5 has 825GB, so for gamers on the digital only version, that storage space could fill up pretty quickly.

How do the controllers compare?

The new Xbox controller will look a little like the old ones but with some differences; it will be slimmer, wireless and have a new 'share' button.

The bumpers will be more rounded for comfort, and have raised dots on the back for extra grip.

You'll also be able to use it with an Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.

Sony revealed their new PS5 controller design on their blog in April.

Called DualSense, the controller has lots of new features like 'adaptive triggers', a create button, and an in-built microphone.

The controller will do more than just vibrate as things happen on screen and is more immersive than previous models.

Players will have different sensations as their in-game character draws a bow and arrow, or struggles to walk through sand or heavy winds for example.

However it has caused a bit of debate online over its appearance, with some people loving the new design, and others saying it's a bit 'ugly'.

The old PS4 DualShock controller can be used with the new console, but it might not work as well with newer games.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesSony
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be one of the PS5's exclusive titles
What comes with the consoles?

Inside the PS5's box, you'll get the console, power cable, and a DualSense controller.

Both versions of PS5 are also bundled with Astro's Playroom, a 3D platformer game designed to show off some of the interactive features of the DualSense controller.

Inside the Xbox's box, you'll get the black Series X console, power cable, an HDMI cable, and one black wireless controller.


In terms of games, the Playstation 5 has some big exclusives coming out at launch including Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X's launch line-up relies mostly on third-party games, which will also be available on PS5.

As for online subscription the PS5 is releasing an upgrade to the Playstation Plus service, called 'PlayStation Plus Collection'. It basically includes several big-name PS4 games to download, for example Ratchet and Clank, at no extra cost.

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WATCH: New games to look out for on the next-gen PlayStation

Similarly, the Xbox Series X will have the subscription service Xbox All Access which will provide access to hundreds of games from different generations of Xbox.

The company also announced it would include EA's Play library with the "ultimate" version of its Xbox Games Pass along with Xcloud, a streaming service a bit like Google Stadia, which they say will enable gamers to stream the newest games online.

"It is possible that PS5 will have launched three console-exclusive titles before Xbox Series X manages to launch its first," said Louise Shorthouse, a games analyst at Omdia.

"Consumers also tend to stick with the same console brands across generations, so Sony is in an incredibly strong position," she added.

BBC Click's Marc Cieslak said: "But is the PS5 fighting the last generation's console war?

"Xbox has a compelling offer with its Game Pass Ultimate subscription service. So even if Xbox doesn't sell as many physical consoles as PlayStation, it may still prove to be at least as profitable."

Can old games be played on the new consoles?

Both consoles have something called 'backwards compatibility' which means that a new console is able to play game discs from older consoles.

The Xbox Series X will be able to play games from their previous two consoles, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Playstation fans will only be able to play games from the PS4 console onwards on the standard version of PS5.

The PS5 and the slightly slimmer PS5 digital version
What do they look like?

The Playstation 5 is really, really massive. In fact it is biggest games console in modern history!

It's 39cm tall and more than 10cm wide. If you are worried about having enough desk space, it can be placed either sitting up or lying flat.

However the PS5 has received some criticism for the way it looks online, with some people saying it looks a bit like a wi-fi router.

The Xbox is wider, but considerably shorter at around 15 cm wide and deep, and 30 cm tall.

The Xbox Series S is tiny in comparison standing at 27.5 cm long, but only 6.5cm high and 15 cm deep.

The Xbox Series X and the less powerful Xbox Series S

Sony was the clear leader in the previous generation of the so-called console wars.

The PS4 outsold the Xbox One, selling 111 million consoles to Xbox's 51 million, but what about predictions for the new machines?

"On paper the Xbox Series X is the more powerful, but PlayStation has a solid line-up of platform-exclusive titles," said Marc Cieslak from BBC Click.

Check out this guide on gaming safely from Own It

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