Digital Foundry Explores Why Some Games 'Run Better' On PS5 Than Xbox Series X

Ever since Xbox Series X and PS5 launched, we've noticed cases where PS5 games run that little bit better - even if on paper Microsoft's machine is the more powerful console. We've typically put that down to sheer development resources — the PS5 has a bigger install base and is often the target console after all — however, Digital Foundry has done some digging on this very topic - discovering some interesting results along the way.

The teams starts out by saying that "the Xbox Series X is a considerably more powerful piece of hardware than PlayStation 5", but oftentimes, multiplatform releases run the same or a little bit faster on PS5. So, DF has asked some devs about this, and the answers are a bit more complicated than you might think.

First off, "more than one key triple-A developer" told the outlet that the "PlayStation GPU compiler is significantly more efficient than the Microsoft alternative". Basically, the backend software used by devs to make the hardware sing is supposedly more efficient on the PS5 than it is on Xbox.

Then, there seems to be one other key reason - and that's the graphics processor itself. DF says that while the Xbox has significantly more 'compute units' than PS5 (52 vs. 36), the entire GPU runs faster on the PlayStation side, meaning that "certain game engine designs" will fare better on the PlayStation system.

Anyway, the team does go on to say that Microsoft's approach puts Xbox Series X more in-line with PC (making cross-development easier), and that in some instances, the Series X does still come out on top depending on the game and its developer. We've certainly felt like this generation has been quite closely matched up (something else the DF team notes), so none of this has really had a major impact on us as Series X users. Still, it's interesting to know that there are more differences between the two consoles than what's immediately apparent!

"So, based on our conversations, the combination of a more efficient GPU compiler, lower-level APIs and higher clock speeds allows PlayStation 5 to match or even exceed the outputs of Xbox Series X in some scenarios. That said, of course there is value in the approach Microsoft has taken: by standardising on DirectX 12 and the DXR ray tracing API, there is a commonality with PC development that obviously helps game makers. And of course, Xbox does still have more compute throughput - so game engines that tap into that will see advantages."

What do you make of this new information from developers? Tell us your experiences with the two machines down below.