Commentary: PS5 versus Xbox Series X, the choice of the decade

In this commentary, St. Thomas University student Kurvin Silvio, right, reviews specs for the new Playstation 5 and XBox Series X. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Though 2020 is deplorable for everyone, a glimpse of hope shines for gamers. The release of the next generation of consoles is upon us, which usually happens every seven years. 

Sony dropped the Playstation 5 on Nov. 12 while Microsoft released the XBox Series X two days later. But the question is, what console do you choose to play for the next several years?

Sony goes big

Let’s talk about the Playstation 5 first. Sony went big both literally and figuratively. The PS5 is larger than any other console released by Sony and comes with next-generation internals. The company boasts about one addition in particular: Ray tracing. 

Ray tracing is a rendering technique that aims to provide more realism in games, like a more realistic shadow on game characters and clearer environments to play in. Sony said the PS5 will provide games with a 4K definition at a smooth frame rate of 120 frames per second. 

Unlike Microsoft, Sony has updated its controller, scrapping the previously-named DualShock for the DualSense. The new controller includes more force in the trigger buttons, adding a more realistic feel. While playing Fortnite, players can expect different levels of resistance in the triggers when using different weapons. 

The PS5 has SSD storage instead of HDD in the previous generation, including 16GB of GDDR6 for RAM. Translation? Faster loading times and better field of view in games. The console also features a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.5GHz and a custom GPU based on AMD’s RDNA 2. All of that promises better images, sounds and loading times than the PS4.

There are two versions of the PS5. One has a blu-ray disk reader for the hardcore disk game collectors and one without for those who wish to save up in physical space. Both will have the same internals and the same power, contrary to Microsoft’s current generation consoles. 

The PS5’s disk version costs $629 and the digital edition is $499, but both are only available for online orders in Canada. 

Small in size, but not in power

On the other side of the ring, we have the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. Right off the bat, the Xbox Series X is more powerful than the PS5. This console has an eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.6 GHz and an AMD’s RDNA 2 based GPU with an output power of 12.15 teraflops, two more than the PS5.  

Teraflop is a unit of measure for the amount of processing and graphical power a video console has. So the Xbox Series X has two more Teraflops than the PS5 but the box itself is smaller.

Similar to the PS5, the Xbox Series X will output 4K definition at 120 frames per second and will include a Blu-ray disk reader. Microsoft has made minor tweaks to the controller and the Xbox Series X is smaller in size than the PS5. 

For Microsoft, size does not matter but the Xbox Series S is a budget version of the Series X in terms of size, power and price. 

The Series S is almost half the size of its big brother, only outputting 1440p at 120 frames per second with no disc-reader. While the Series X has a price tag of $599, the Series S is $379. 

Same as Sony, Microsoft is selling the Xbox online due to the pandemic. A quick search on YouTube will show how people swarm stores during launch day.

The choice of a generation

The Xbox Series X has slightly more horsepower than the PS5 but both are similar in terms of everything else. The most logical decision is to go for the Xbox Series X for more power and price, but hold your horses. 

Sony has the advantage of having better title exclusive games only found on their consoles. Both consoles will have backward compatibility, but the OG gamers could reminisce in replaying childhood favourites such as the Crash Bandicoot series, exclusive to PlayStation. 

The Series S is at a disadvantage because of the unparalleled components of both PS5 versions. Hence, we are presented with two choices: the PS5 will let your reexplore your past exclusive games and experience the future of gaming, but the Xbox Series X will offer you that same future at a better graphic.