As is now tradition, Microsoft and Sony have married the release dates of their latest gaming consoles, giving consumers the ultimate dilemma. Though some prefer to wait it out and see which console performs best in benchmark tests and attracts the right titles, this year is a little bit different: there’s a long, uncomfortable winter to come as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, and the idea of a new console and next-generation game has never been more appealing. It is true that the pace of change has slowed when compared with the innovations of the 80s and 90s, but this year’s consoles are still impressive engineering feats, with both console manufacturers going above and beyond to offer an alternative to PC gaming. With better resolutions, higher frame rates, drastically cut loading times, and leaps forward in home entertainment offerings, both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are attractive buys. As is always the case, it’ll take a year or so before the developers behind blockbuster games realize the full potential of each device, but for now, it’s a neck-and-neck race to the top spot.
The biggest differences between this year’s consoles lie in design. The Xbox both harks to gaming consoles of the past and forwards towards the future of computing, with a black obelisk beaming content into users’ homes. The more affordable Xbox Series S is designed to appease the price-conscious market, with no disc drive and slightly stunted performance, but it still packs its punch and offers great value for money. The PlayStation 5 - conveniently starting at the same price point as the Xbox Series X - is more of a design statement, with a black and white spaceship-esque design that has been heavily mocked online by tech critics. Unlike the Xbox Series X, the PlayStation controller offers haptic feedback and triggers which vary in resistance to immerse users into their gameplay, though the internals are almost identical to the Xbox. Sony’s cheaper PlayStation - the PS5 Digital Edition - is more expensive than the affordable Xbox, and also comes without a disc drive, meaning all games and experiences must be downloaded from the PlayStation Store.
THE XBOX SERIES X
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