PS5 vs Xbox: The Fires of War Reignite!

PS5 vs Xbox

The time is once again where two gaming powerhouses are set for an epic battle. The next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony are coming. By all accounts, both of them will be on store shelves by the end of 2020. Very little has been confirmed, but as of January 2019, we have plenty of rumors that help us see where these two consoles are going. Sony absolutely crushed it this generation, so will Microsoft manage to bounce back? Let the battle begin!

The State of The Gaming Union

While Microsoft officially confirmed they’re working on a new console at E3 2018, Sony has been more subtle with their confirmations. Even so, we know that both companies have something up their sleeves. A massive reveal of information about the PS5 appeared on Reddit in November of 2018, courtesy of /u/RuthenicCookie. They were accurately able to predict Sony’s decision to skip E3 2019 over 24 hours prior to the official announcement.

This was joined by several comments that described PS5 dev kits in the hands of developers, impressive specs, a $500 price point, and confirmation of a PSVR 2. None of the information was official, but the accurate E3 prediction made this one rumor that seemed possible. Meanwhile, rumors about the next Xbox have been heating up since Phil Spencer confirmed the company was working on their next generation hardware at E3 2018. The current rumors point to a Project Scarlett, which describes a family of devices.

It’s rumored that there will be two consoles, currently named Project Anaconda and Lockhart respectively. Both of these fall under the Scarlett umbrella. Anaconda is going to be a beast of a console like the Xbox One X, with a higher price point. Meanwhile, Lockhart will offer a standard console that costs less and has less power. Think of it like a successor to the Xbox One S and the X. Given the current rumors, we have two consoles coming from Microsoft to replace both their current offerings, while Sony is going to focus on one main console and VR.

The next question on everyone’s minds are the specs. Let’s see how the two consoles will stack up.

Power Matters

People are pushing for higher resolutions, faster frame rates, and better graphics than anything we’ve seen. Those kinds of demands require a lot of power to make a reality. On the PS5 side of things, there’s still a lot of speculation for the PS5 specs, but our Reddit friend did mention something in their leak. They confirmed a Ryzen 8 core. This is referring to the processor, which will be manufactured by AMD. These processors sell for close to $300 on their own for high-end PCs, with 3.6 GHz speeds and 4.0 GHz turbo.

Now, in the past, consoles are manufactured with a chipset that combines your processor and GPU into a single APU. An exclusive from TweakTown revealed that an anonymous source suggested the PS5 could in fact have its own dedicated GPU.

This would be a game changer. Having a separate GPU could really boost the capabilities of the system. It would present developers with the power to hit 4K and 60 frames-per-second or higher. Combine a powerful processor with a separate GPU and high performance RAM, and you have a recipe for an absolute beast of a console. Rumors are that Xbox will take the same approach, so it’s possible we’ll see a major leap in graphics thanks to a more separate design in the hardware.

Ultimately, both consoles will need to present 4K and 60FPS as the standard if they want to truly make strides forward from this generation. Even the Xbox One X struggles to hit these numbers in current titles. Until we know more about the exact specs, we simply need to hope that Sony indeed chooses a dedicated GPU and pumps up the processor and memory. This will give them the edge in the hardware department, but Microsoft may be playing a more competitive game this next generation.

Speaking of games…

Games Matter More

As we have seen this generation and in all the ones before, the console with the better games has always won. Microsoft did indeed release the most powerful console ever with the Xbox One X, but without exclusives to back it up, it never put a dent in the PS4 sales numbers.

Sony really went to bat this generation and brought out some of the best titles ever to grace the world of gaming. Whether it was Horizon: Zero Dawn’s reimagining of what open world games could do, or God of War’s stunning and engrossing world, there’s too many to list here. Meanwhile, Microsoft floundered for years as they released subpar exclusives and cancelled some of their most promising projects. For a while it seemed like Phil Spencer was going insane. Then came E3 2018.

For the first time ever, Sony had a pretty rough press conference. Not only were there technical difficulties, but it lacked surprises or new release dates. As a big fan of PlayStation, it hurt. What hurt worse was the announcement that they wouldn’t be attending E3 2019.

Meanwhile, I have to give credit where it’s due: Microsoft killed it at E3 2018. They announced a bunch of new titles, and more importantly, announced the acquisition of not one, not two, but five new studios!

These are heavy hitters too, including Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, Undead Labs, and later in the year, Obsidian Entertainment. These are the studios responsible for things like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, State of Decay, and even Fallout: New Vegas. It’s clear Microsoft is building up talent to bring some exclusives to the table. Honestly, it’s about time, but could they go up against Sony’s powerhouse developers? It’s hard to say, mostly because there’s very little in gaming that beats a Suckerpunch, Naughty Dog, or Guerilla Games’ title.

Even so, this next generation is shaping up to be an interesting one from a games perspective. Sony pretty much mopped the floor with Microsoft these past several years. A little competition would be good for the industry.

I for one say “bring it on Microsoft, we’re waiting.”

Taking Two Different Paths: Cloud Streaming and VR

Both Sony and Microsoft are going down different paths when it comes to their efforts beyond gaming. While Sony has been finding success with the PlayStation VR headset, Microsoft has decided not to pursue VR support on Xbox. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Nichols even went so far as to say that they would not pursue virtual or mixed (AR) reality on Xbox.

That’s not what was promised when Xbox One X was first announced, but it sounds like they are focusing on the PC market. That leaves console VR to Sony. It’s a shame because everyone should have access to a VR option, but Microsoft has decided to instead chase cloud streaming.

While Sony has something similar in place with PlayStation Now, it’s never been a major part of their strategy. You don’t hear them talking about it at press conferences, for example. Meanwhile, Microsoft unveiled Project xCloud in October of 2018. This project, which begins public trials in 2019, seeks to bring Microsoft’s games to any device, regardless of how powerful it is.

The trick is to stream the game to your phone, tablet, or laptop instead of forcing the hardware to run everything. Think of it like Netflix for gaming. It’s always been an interesting concept, but actually making it work in a world where internet isn’t guaranteed is a tall order. It’s not as simple as streaming video, after all. You need to have a consistent experience and a steady frame rate if you want the experience to be anything like a traditional game. Microsoft is claiming that their Azure servers can handle it, but only time will tell.

The future of VR on PlayStation is looking bright as well. The aforementioned Redditor who leaked news about the PS5 also mentioned a few nuggets of information about a PSVR 2. Not only did they confirm that PSVR 2 is happening, but they said it wouldn’t need a separate breaker box, and that it would come with new Move controllers.

There was even mention of Sony testing glove controllers, something they filed a patent for way back in 2014. Between VR and cloud gaming, it’s hard to say which one will win out. While I love the idea of games being playable anywhere on any device, I’m old fashioned in the sense that I like the hardware in front of me.

I’m also a big fan of PSVR, so I’m happy to see rumors pointing towards that making a return. In either case, it will be interesting to see how these vastly different approaches affect sales in the next generation.

A Huge New Console War is on The Horizon!

The announcements we’ve all been waiting for are coming. The PS5 and the next Xbox will soon be revealed. Who do you think will take home the crown in the coming battle? Let us know in the comments!

Article by – Bradley Ramsey
Posted: 1/7/19

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