Considering the disastrous launch of the Xbox One back in 2013, we think Microsoft has really has knocked it out of the park with the Xbox Series X, and in our humble opinion, it's got a few tricks up its sleeve which puts it a few steps ahead of the PlayStation 5.
We've put our thinking caps on and here are 10 things that we think gives the Xbox Series X a slight edge on the PS5 at the moment. It's worth saying that both are great consoles with lots going for them, but we really do love the little extra things which Series X brings to the table.
Check out our lovely list and share your thoughts below...
One thing we are really enjoying with the Xbox Series X is how well Smart Delivery works on the Xbox Series X. This feature ensures that you always play the best version of the games you own for your console, across generations. So for instance if you picked up a copy of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, you don't need to worry about getting the best version for your system. If you are on Xbox Series X, you will get the version optimised for that platform without any additional GB of unnecessary data clogging up your SSD. If you want to play on an Xbox One, no problem. You will be served with the best version.
On the PlayStation 5, at least at launch, the waters are muddied a bit. At present for example if you pop in a disc for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War into the PS5, it actually struggles to differentiate between next-gen and last-gen software. In some cases the console even defaults to the PS4 version, and there’s an overall lack of feedback to show you which version of a game you’re playing. This is an issue which is likely to be resolved in time, but it's easy to take for granted how helpful the Xbox Series X is being with Smart Delivery.
Another much touted feature of the Xbox Series X of course is Quick Resume, and it's truly a thing of beauty when you use it. Utilising the console's innovative Xbox Velocity Architecture, Quick Resume allows you to continue a game from a suspended state pretty much instantly.
Within mere seconds you can jump back into your game as if you'd never stopped playing. No loading screens to wade through anymore. You can jump between around 6 games in this suspended state and it's even retained when you power off your system.
The PlayStation 5 has no such feature, but instead offers something called 'Activity Cards' which breaks a game into chunks allowing you to shortcut to the area which you want to get to.
Xbox Series X Has A Bigger SSD
While the Xbox Series X packs a mighty 1TB SSD to store all your games, the PS5's SSD offers an unorthodox 825GB of storage space.
In reality on the Xbox Series X, you actually only get to use 802 GB of this space as 198 GB is reserved for system files and the Xbox operating system. Taking into account the PS5's operating system and the usable space on the SSD ends up being a paltry 667 GB.
While much has been said about the PS5's SSD being slightly faster for loading games, we haven't felt encumbered by the lightning fast load times of the Xbox Series X so far. In fact the Xbox Series X seems to be much faster at loading games from previous generations when compared to the PS5, which is strange.
Series X Has An SSD Expansion You Can Buy Now
Even with a larger SSD to store your games, with ever-growing file sizes for modern games you are going to run out of space soon. From day one Xbox Series X owners have been able to pick up the Seagate 1TB SSD expansion card which plugs in easily into the console's backside and gives you more room to play with at no loss of load speed when compared to external USB 3.1 drives. Sure the SSD expansion card comes at an eye-watering price, but at least you have that option.
On paper the solution for the PS5 actually sounds better - the initial suggestion was that you would be able to use a standard off-the-shelf M.2 SSD in your PS5. It would mean yanking off the cover, which is a pain of course, but a worthy sacrifice for a cost saving. However the reality seems to be that this is not as straightforward as originally suggested.
At present the PS5's SSD cannot be expanded, with PlayStation hardware architect Mark Cerny telling people to cool off trying to buy one for the foreseeable future. The feature is currently disabled and should be activated at some point in 2021 when Sony has decided which third party SSDs will actually work with the PS5. So for now you are limited to external devices only.
The Xbox Series X Is Much More Compact
Let's be honest, neither the Xbox Series X or the PS5 are going to win any beauty contests. But the Xbox Series X is certainly the smaller of the two next-generation consoles.
The dimensions of the Series X are 30.1cm (11.8 inches) tall, 15.1cm (5.9 inches) deep and 15.1cm (5.9 inches) wide. In comparison the PS5's dimensions are 39cm (15.4 inches) tall, 26cm (10.2 inches) deep and 10.4cm (4.09 inches) wide.
When looking at both standing upright as the manufacturers intended, it is clear how the PS5 towers over the Xbox Series X... and not in a good way.
Both consoles can be placed on their side, but good luck fitting a PS5 into your IKEA Kallax. The Xbox Series X's stubbier design will allow it to fit into more existing entertainment cabinets on its side with ease and still have room to spare for air circulation.
Xbox Game Pass
Perhaps the biggest ace in the hole for Xbox owners is Xbox Game Pass, which offers incredible value for subscribers. Now that the offering has been expanded into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate rolling in lots of EA games into the bargain, you will never be stuck for anything to play. With over 100 quality games on offer there truly is something for everyone.
Microsoft also recently bought Bethesda too, so you can be sure that the range of games will be vastly expanded as time goes on. Here are the exciting franchise which we might see from the various studios in time: Bethesda Game Studios (Fallout, Elder Scrolls), id Software (Doom), ZeniMax Online Studios (Elder Scrolls Online), Arkane (Dishonored, Prey), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within), Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios.
PlayStation Plus was once seen as great value when compared to Xbox's Games With Gold programme, but it is lagging behind now. The PS5 comes with the 'PlayStation Plus Collection' which is a welcome addition, but it is slim pickings compared to Xbox Game Pass for sure.
Xbox Backwards Compatibility
What Microsoft has achieved with Xbox backwards compatibility is just incredible when you think about it. You can play thousands of original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games with absolutely no fuss on the Xbox Series X.
On the PS5, you can play the back catalogue PS4 games but the results may vary until they are all tested. According to Sony, more obscure PS4 games "may exhibit errors or unexpected behaviour" when you attempt to play them on the PS5. If you want to play PS1, PS2 or PS3 games you better hope that the game was remastered for PS4 or you are simply out of luck.
If you have a display that can take advantage of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), it can eliminate screen tearing and frame rate judder on Xbox Series X, whereas at present the PS5 does not offer this.
It is a feature that allows supported televisions to dynamically adjust their refresh rate based on the output they’re receiving. In layman’s terms, what this means is that even when a game drops frames – as is common depending on what’s happening on the screen – the judder that’s typically associated with this happening will be smoothed out. This is particularly important for games running at 120 frames-per-second, but can also improve titles at lower framerates, too.
We expect it is only a matter of time until Sony patch this into the PS5's firmware, but still on launch it doesn't offer VRR support which is a shame.
Xbox Series X Has Got More Teraflops
On paper the Xbox Series X has another big advantage over the PS5, which we can expect to see come to the forefront in the future when developers get to grips with the architectures of both consoles more fully.
The Xbox Series X GPU is based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture and is capable of a whopping 12 teraflops. Sony’s PlayStation 5 is also based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture but only sports 10.28 teraflops.
That's a 15% reduction in TFLOPS folks!
We're really excited to see what Xbox Games Studios' future games do with all of that extra GPU power to play with.
You Can Use Old Controllers With Series X Games
Imagine the scenario - little Jimmy upgrades from his PS4 to a PS5 and invites all his friends over to play some FIFA 21 with him. Unfortunately he only has the one DualSense controller which came with his PS5. When he tries offering his friends his collection of DualShock 4s, these do not work. So that's £150+ more money to spend on new controllers just to play PS5 games. DualShock 4 does work with PS5 of course, but only on the backwards compatible PS4 games!
There are no such issues for little Timmy who upgraded from an Xbox One to the Xbox Series X. You can mix and match these controllers with no issue whatsoever.
So these are our 10 reasons why the Xbox Series X is beating the PS5 at the moment. Do you agree with our list or not? Sound off in the comments below.