PlayStation 5 vs. Xbox Series X: Which should you buy?.
The stage is set for the next-gen console battle as Sony and Microsoft square off this November with the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S.
If you want to jump on board at launch, it’s time to pick a side, as pre-orders go live in anticipation of a surge in demand.
The Green Corner: Xbox, Game Pass and Halo Infinite
On November 10, 2020, two new Xbox consoles will launch worldwide: Series X and Series S. Series X ($499.99) is an ultra HD powerhouse, aiming for a native 4K resolution. The Series S ($299.99) targets a lower resolution, 1440p (half that of 4K) and also forgoes a disc drive.
Both devices will aim for a baseline of 60 frames per second. Microsoft claims that both will hit 120 frames per second in titles like Halo Infinite and Gears 5. Without seeing the hardware in action though, we’ll have to take Microsoft at its word (especially when it comes to the Series S).
Buying a console at launch can often feel like a raw deal. There are few titles available and the ones that are tend to be iterative sports titles or underwhelming tech demos. Microsoft plans to address this issue with , providing a library of over 100 titles that people can play right out of the box. Most of these are titles that are already available on last generation systems.
Game Pass doesn’t skimp on quality either. First-party titles such as Forza Horizon 4, Minecraft, and Sea of Thieves (plus all the Halo games) will be available at launch. There’s also a rotating selection of decent third-party titles. As of this writing, Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter: World, and Wasteland 3 are all available.
Microsoft also announced that it will partner with Electronic Arts to bring EA Play to Game Pass over the holidays. This means you’ll get all of Microsoft’s exclusives, EA’s first-party titles, and a rotating lineup of third-party games with your subscription.
The biggest disappointment for many looking forward to the release of next-gen Xbox consoles was the news that Halo Infinite would be delayed until 2021. This was Microsoft’s killer title to bring consoles to living rooms over the holidays of 2020. new consoles will now launch without big-budget exclusives and lean heavily on Game Pass and future promises.
Fortunately, that future looks bright. Below are some of Microsoft’s own Xbox exclusives:
A new game of fables.
The next generation Forza Motorsport title.
A new game from Rare called Everwild.
Obsidian Entertainment’s first foray into the open world fantasy RPG genre, Avowed.
There are other “timed exclusives” and “Xbox console debuts” next year. These include a follow-up to the legendary PC shooter from the mid-2000s, STALKER, the Geiger Scorn-inspired horror show, and Hellblade II, the next chapter in Ninja Theory’s Senua Saga.
The Xbox Series X will set you back $499.99, while the Series S will cost $299.99. Game Pass Ultimate, which includes Xbox Live Gold (required to play online) and access to Game Pass for PC is $14.99 per month, but you get your first month for $1.
If you’d rather pay for a regular Game Pass console, it’s $9.99 per month. However, you’ll also need Xbox Live Gold to play online, which costs another $9.99 per month ($24.99 per quarter). Game Pass Ultimate is by far the best value, with over 100 games (even more on PC) and online play.
Microsoft also offers Xbox Series X and Series S under its All Access plan. For $34.99 (Series X) or $24.99 (Series S) a month, you can get an Xbox console with Game Pass Ultimate. After two years, the console is yours and you can extend Game Pass if you want. This option is slightly cheaper than buying each console and a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate.
On top of the hardware, a game can cost you as much as $70 for this generation. Some publishers have already committed to the $10 price increase over last generation’s $60.
For the best possible savings, we recommend avoiding the all-digital S Series. So you’ll always be able to buy physical releases anywhere, including the thrift market.
What about backwards compatibility?
Microsoft confirmed that both Series X and Series S will be fully backwards compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox. The Series X will play titles that have been upscaled for 4K, while the Series S will have its own upscaled versions.
For maximum backwards compatibility, be sure to choose an X Series with a disc drive so you can play any of your older discs. Digital titles will work too, whether you have them in your library or buy them in the store.
The Blue Corner: PlayStation, PS Plus Collection and Spider-Man
Sony will also launch two consoles in November: the PlayStation 5 ($499.99) and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($399.99). Both will launch on the same day, but the release is staggered in two waves. The consoles will launch on November 12 in the US, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, and on November 19 in Europe and the rest of the world.
Outside of price, the only difference between the two devices is the presence of a physical drive. If you want the best deals possible or want to use your PS5 as a Blu-ray player as well, the more expensive console is probably the better option.
Sony’s first “exclusive” for PS5 will be Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a sequel to 2018’s critically acclaimed Spider-Man. While exclusive to Sony consoles, the game is too.
You can expect a game with a smaller scope, with Sony also promising a more compact experience, reminiscent of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The game’s release window is “holiday 2020,” which means it may not be ready for the November 12 release.
The PlayStation 5 includes a bundled game called Astro’s Playroom. Following up on the PSVR Astro Bot rescue mission, the game guides new players around the PlayStation 5’s two-way controller. It should provide a fun distraction for new owners.
Sony’s answer to Game Pass is the collection. It is required to play online and provides members with additional benefits such as free monthly games and discounts. On the PS5, members will also be able to download 18 of what Sony calls “generation-defining” PS4 games.
This list includes own titles, such as God of War, Uncharted 4 and Days Gone. There are also a handful of third-party titles, like Battlefield 1, Fallout 4, Persona 5, and Final Fantasy XV. It’s a far cry from the 100+ games available on Game Pass, especially since titles like Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn are strangely missing.
When it comes to first-party exclusives, Sony’s future lineup includes Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and the highly anticipated Demon’s Souls remake. Final Fantasy XVI will be exclusive to the PlayStation console, and a sequel to 2018’s God of War has also been announced for 2021.
How much will it cost me?
The PlayStation 5 will cost $499.99 or $399.99 for the all-digital edition. PlayStation Plus is required for online play and will now provide access to a collection of games for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Sony has yet to announce any monthly payment plans that compete with Xbox All Access.
Like Xbox titles, some PlayStation 5 games will also cost $70 this generation. However, you can always save money buying or purchasing secondhand copies if you buy the console with a physical disc drive.
What about backwards compatibility?
Sony announced that the PlayStation 5 will be 99 percent compatible with PlayStation 4 titles. The company also confirmed that the PS4 “Top 100 Games” had been tested and worked on the new console. However, the company stopped short of stating general compatibility.
Unfortunately, none of the PS5 consoles will be compatible with titles made for Sony consoles prior to PS4, at least not at launch.
Struggling to choose?
If you find it difficult to choose the console you want, you can always wait. Alternatively, if you have cash, you can buy both. For most people, the decision will be guided by the exclusives available on both platforms. Unfortunately, at launch, those games are in very short supply on the ground.
It’s no secret that Sony exclusives have been consistently excellent throughout the PS4’s lifespan, with Microsoft somewhat lacking in this department. That could all change this generation though, with big-name studios like Obsidian Entertainment and Double Fine joining Microsoft as their own developers.
If neither console sparks your interest, it’s probably best to wait. If you don’t have an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, those consoles will see a significant price drop.
Of course, you can’t buy nor .