PS5 Vs. Xbox Series X: Tech Alone Won't Crown A Winner

Sony Corp SNE and Microsoft Corporation MSFT are gearing up for the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Both companies have detailed the tech that powers each respective console.

On paper, the Xbox Series X beats the PS5 in nearly everything but speed. It's a good way to try to gain an edge in the next-gen battle, but there's a reason both companies began their marketing presentations with specification details.

The technology in these devices won't necessarily be the ultimate determining factor in sales. 

PlayStation, Xbox Pricing

No prices have been officially announced yet, but it hasn't stopped speculation.

The PlayStation 4 launch price in the U.S. was set at about $400, while the Xbox One was nearly $500. With advancing tech and the hope for an influx of new features, price predictions span anywhere from $450 to $700, with some wildly suggesting anywhere between $800 and $1,000 for the consoles. 

With new hardware bridging the gap between console and PC, many people expect a significant price bump.

The Neo Geo and the 3DO, both released in the early 1990s, nearly reached a $700 retail price. Because of this, both devices fell into a smaller niche in gaming.

At the same time, Nintendo NTDOY offered the popular Super Nintendo at $200. 

With the Xbox Series X displaying more power while the PS5 boasts faster speeds, each console could attract consumers hunting for different qualities.

This has also helped push assumptions that the PS5 will launch at a cheaper price compared to the Series X.

Microsoft promises a premium console, and with Project Lockhart addressing the release of a cheaper version sometime in the future, this could give the company the breathing room to bump the price of their primary console upon launch.

And while the specifications are important for each console, much of the gamer attention will center on the features each console will offer — and the games themselves. 

PlayStation, Xbox Features

Not much is known about the features each console will offer. The expectations are there, and whether Sony and Microsoft can meet them will make or break a first-day purchase for many people. 

Backward compatibility is one of the primary features most long-time gamers are anticipating.

In a deep dive on the PS5, system architect Mark Cerny touched on the PS5's ability to play past titles. He confirmed that the PS5 will be able to play an "overwhelming majority of the 4,000-plus PS4 games" released.

Nothing has been revealed about past consoles like the PS3, PS2 and PlayStation One.

While Sony has remained more secretive about this issue, it's one that Microsoft has already addressed, with an exec stating in a blog post that the next Xbox will be backwards compatible. 

"Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before," Phil Spencer, executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, said in a blog post

"Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times, and improved resolution and visual fidelity–all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you."

This is a huge push in the next-gen battle, and could easily tip the scale for consumers if Sony leaves this unanswered.

Cloud, Streaming Developments In Gaming

Cloud gaming is another feature that has been openly focused on by several companies. Alphabet Inc'sGOOG Google Stadia, is a pure cloud experience offering streaming services for numerous titles that are both current and past-gen. 

Sony has offered the same service through PlayStation Now, and Microsoft is building Project xCloud as a direct competitor.

Accessibility is a primary focus when it comes to streaming games, and the cloud opens the door for another avenue of backward compatibility.

Streaming has become an important component for consoles, both in gaming and general entertainment.

Both consoles offer access to subscription services like Netflix NFLX and Hulu, and common sense dictates that these services are likely to continue. 

The PS4 allows players to stream content directly to Amazon's AMZN Twitch, while the Xbox One connects streamers to Microsoft's Mixer platform.

As live streaming and content creation becomes more prevalent in gaming, both consoles will have to compete with the flexibility of PC streaming.


Exclusivity has always been a primary battle between Sony and Microsoft. Games like "Call of Duty" have initiated exclusivity deals with companies, and video game franchises have become attached to specific hardware.

The PS4 grabbed an impressive line of exclusive titles like "God of War" and "The Last of Us," and Sony will undoubtedly capitalize on these franchises moving into the next generation. 

For Sony, "Godfall" is the first exclusive title announced. However, for Microsoft, the Series X won't launch with any. 

As Xbox Games Studios boss Matt Booty said to MCV: "as our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices." 

These games include heavy Microsoft hitters like "Halo Infinite," which is also releasing on Xbox One and PC. 

"We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we're committed to them with content," Booty said. 

Other areas like crossplay will inject more demand as multiplayer titles like "Fortnite" and "Call of Duty" continue to evolve and release content in the future. 

For now, consumers are left with speculation as the 2020 holiday season approaches.

Posted In: eSportsgamingGoogle StadiaMCVPlayStationPlayStation NowProject xCloudstreamingTwitchvideo gamesxboxNewsOpinionTop StoriesTech

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