Like always, the next generation of gaming is all about processing power and eye-popping visuals. While the internal specs driving the two consoles are fairly similar, the Microsoft device does have a slight edge in some ways. Claiming to be four times more powerful than the Xbox One, the new console will feature a custom Zen 2 eight-core processor running at 3.8GHz per core. While the PS5 will also ship with an eight-core Zen 2 processor, it will run at a slightly slower 3.5GHz per core.
RAM inside both machines is 16GB GDDR6, both support solid state drives (SSDs), and both will run RDNA 2 graphics. However, the Xbox also seems to have the edge in terms of shear graphics power, offering 12 TFLOPS across 52CUs in comparison to the PS5 at 10.28 TFLOPS across 36 CUs. Like any geek knows, however, power specs are not the same thing as real world performance, with detailed benchmarks the only real way to compare the gaming experience. Both consoles are aiming for smooth performance at 60fps and 4K resolution upon launch, with 120fps available for some games and 8K resolution likely for both consoles in the future.
Due to similarity in power and performance, Microsoft and Sony have made big moves to differentiate the two machines, both in terms of design and also with game subscriptions and exclusives. The two units could hardly be further apart when it comes to looks, with the new Xbox looking black and monolithic and the PlayStation sporting a sleek and curvaceous white design. Brand loyalty is also likely to play a big role in how people decide, with Microsoft offering complete backwards compatibility and Sony committing to supporting roughly 100 of their most popular games.
Cloud gaming is another major differentiator between the two consoles. Microsoft continues to invest heavily in Game Pass Ultimate as a subscription service with mobile coverage, while Sony is supporting their much less powerful PS Now cloud service. As part of its renewed focus on the cloud, Microsoft is also launching the digital-only Xbox Series S as an affordable alternative. A digital edition of the PS5 is also being planned, as some gamers look forward to throwing away their disks entirely in favour of efficient downloads and more compact hardware devices.
In terms of the games themselves, both consoles will launch with major exclusives to help seal the deal. Key exclusives for the Microsoft Xbox Series X include Halo Infinite, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, Forza Motorsport 8, and State of Decay 3. Key exclusives for the Sony PlayStation 5 include Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon II: Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7. In Australia, pricing for the new Xbox Series X will start from $749, with the Xbox Series S selling for $499. The PS5 will also be sold for $749, and the PS5 Digital Edition for $599.