Xbox Series X vs PS5: What’s the best?

The console war has been waged for over two decades, and still there is a great divide between fan-bases, today we're going to try and answer the big question; what's better - PS5 or Xbox Series X?


by Ryan Houghton |

Years ago, the video game industry was in the midst of a console war. The battles took place mostly between Microsoft, with its industry-changing Xbox 360 and somewhat flawed Xbox One, and Sony, with its unreasonably expensive PS3 and mega-seller PS4.

While these two console giants kept taking swings at one another, Nintendo largely sitting things out, chipping away at its own quirky corner with an innovative range of home and handheld consoles, like the Wii, 3DS and Switch.

Technically, the console war is still ongoing, with Sony and Microsoft trying to out manoeuvre each other at every point, buying up studios and trying to build services that will draw adoring crowds away from its rival.

But for anyone who was around during the halcyon days of the console war proper, today's industry is much less backbiting, baiting, childish and aggressive. And for that, we can only be grateful.

Having said that, it doesn't stop us from asking this question about the latest generation of consoles: Which is best, the Xbox Series X or the PS5?

We'll first try to answer this by looking at each console's raw processing power. Which console is better at running their respective games?

But of course, a console is only as good as its games, so then we'll take a look at each console's new releases, as well as what their gaming subscription services offer fans for their hard-earned cash.

If by chance you're much more a Nintendo fan than you are of Sony or Xbox, we've got a ton of great articles on where to find some top-tier Switch deals, as well as our favourite Switch games this year.

Or, if you're like us and are looking to run an earth-shattering PC rig, consider looking at our picks for the best graphics cards available right now.

Now you're playing with power

Without further ado, let's begin.

Specifications
Dimensions: 390mm x 104mm x 260mm
Weight: 4.5kg
CPU: x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 8 Cores / 16 Threads
GPU: Oberon GPU (equivalent to AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT)
GPU Architecture: AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine
Storage: 825GB SSD
Video Output: 4K 120Hz, VRR
Input / Output: USB Type-A Port, USB Type-A port (super speed USB), USB Type-C port (Superspeed USB)

With hardware to rival even a high-end PC, the PS5 is capable of running up to 8K footage and is a marvel of modern gaming. Its massive, and admittedly controversial design houses an incredibly powerful AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT GPU, which is more than capable of running any AAA game currently released at 4K and 60fps.

The PS5 is undisputedly mighty and will remain mighty for years to come.

Looking for some incredible deals on the PS5? Check out our PS5 Deals article that's updated regularly.

Specifications
Dimensions: 301 mm × 151 mm × 151 mm
Weight: 4.45kg
CPU: Custom AMD Zen 2 8 Cores
GPU: (Equivalent to AMD Radeon RX 5700)
GPU Architecture: AMD Custom RDNA 2
Storage: 1TB SSD
Video Output: 4K 120Hz, VRR
Input / Output: USB 3.1 x 3

Microsoft's monolithic Xbox Series X does not fail to compete with Sony's powerhouse console. Despite having very similar hardware, the Series X wins by a hair, running at 12 TFLOPS compared to the PS5's 10.3. Having said that, they're both brilliant consoles capable of running the next generation of games with ease.

Are you looking to make that leap to the next-gen but you're struggling for cash? Here are our top deals for the Xbox Series X you can't afford to miss.

Power isn't everything: the exclusives

What good is high performance if there are no good games to utilise it? And while both launches didn't have a huge amount of great titles, we still think there were some incredible titles to grace both consoles.

Sony's ultimate console-seller, Bluepoint games' massive, stunning, and perilous AAA title; Demon's Souls is a remaster of the original released in 2009, and it's definitely worth picking up as soon as you can.

The Souls games have always been seriously challenging, and Demon's Souls is no exception to this rule. Brave the kingdom of Boletaria against all manners of monsters; dragon-gods, giant flying manta rays, and enormous steel-clad knights. Demon's Souls captures the essential spirit of the Souls games and gives it a shiny new coat that can only be experienced with a next-gen machine.

Related: Best PS5 Games

Returnal is one of those rare console exclusives that is so replayable, yet so crushingly difficult, that you'll either throw your controller at the wall, or you'll put in tens of hours just to see it through.

Following the path of the treasured dungeon crawlers, Returnal uses random environmental generation to alter stages infinitely, so your experience is rarely the same. And much like traditional dungeon crawlers, you'll be facing wave-upon-wave of bullet hells that'll leave your head spinning.

Horror, existential sci-fi, and the laborious formula of the dungeon crawler all meet to create a perfect storm of shooters you will not forget.

Related: Best 4K TVs for PS5 Gaming

Master Chief triumphantly returns to the next generation, and now he has a grappling hook. While the story, in our opinion, took a bit of a nose dive after Halo 3, with the 'Villain of the Week' feeling being ever-apparent in Infinite, we still think the latest Halo game is a breath of fresh air for the franchise.

The highlight of Infinite is not the open world or the visuals, but the overall feel of the combat; which feels familiar, yet invigorated with the introduction of some clever little mechanics. The grappling hook is also a welcome addition to the ensemble of tools at Master Chief's disposal and allows for some very exciting moments in both single-player, and multiplayer combat.

If you're looking to pick up an Xbox, we'd absolutely recommend picking up the latest addition to the Halo family.

Related: Best Open World Games

Possibly the best racing game of all time has dropped on the Xbox Series X, and that's really saying something. Forza Horizon 5 is an absolute visual spectacle, with the stunning tropical vistas of Mexico that are all yours to explore. Race with the finest supercars to ever exist through the desert, jungle and ancient ruins without hesitation, and become the finest racing champion to ever live.

Related: Best Racing Games

Verdict

While these are only a few examples of what each console has to offer, my preference in gaming leans a lot more towards single-player experiences that are challenging and driven by narrative, therefore I definitely think that the PS5, as of now has the better exclusive releases.

Related: Best RPG Games

But what about overall game libraries?

Xbox Gamepass VS PlayStation Plus: What's better?

Possibly the most important and exciting feature of the next generation, gaming subscription services are a way of accessing a treasure trove of your favourite old games, going all the way back to the original Xbox and PS2.

PS Plus

PlayStation has been giving us great freebees for years now, we've still got a few titles from their monthly giveaways saved on the PS4, but what incredible titles have been brought to the next generation?

PS Plus is split into three primary tiers; PS Plus Essential, PS Plus Extra, and finally PS Plus Premium, each offering some unique bonuses.

Plus Plus Essential:

This is your bare-bones tier; you get access to PS multiplayer (which is going to be essential for those of you playing Fortnite or Call of Duty: Vanguard), and you get access to a handful of free monthly games, which is a pretty good offer!

PS Plus Extra:

PS Plus Extra gives you multiplayer access, as well as access to a ton of incredible PlayStation titles, new and old.

PS Plus Premium:

Finally, for a premium price, you get access to everything listed above, and complete access to a ton of incredible titles stretching back to the PS1! This is more than a little exciting for gamers who have been anticipating some major backwards compatibility features for some time now.

Right out of the gate, PlayStation gives players access to one of the best games of all time. From Software's 2015 title Bloodborne is, by all means, a perfect game, where the gnawing, crushing challenge of Dark Souls meets the twisted, cosmic eldritch horror of HP Lovecraft. Taking place in Yharnam, undoubtedly influenced by 19th-century London, which has been enveloped by a curse that turns its citizens into hideous beasts. As a hunter you're tasked with the seemingly impossible; to end Yharnam's nightmare.

To say you'll find yourself enraptured by Bloodborne's world is a complete understatement. Bloodborne will swallow any social life you had a whole, and spit you out utterly confused, yet ravenous to experience it again. If you haven't played it yet, there's no time like the present.

This may well be my heavily established bias towards single-player games, but God of War has got to be acknowledged as one of PlayStation's absolute best narrative-driven titles. A story about grief, identity, and parenthood unlike any truly realised in gaming, Santa Monica ditched the rapidity of the previous instalment's beat 'em up button-mashing combat in favour of a much better-realised story, with weightier action, and a Kratos that is far more vulnerable than ever before. In our opinion, PS Plus is worth picking up for God of War alone, you won't be disappointed.

Xbox Game Pass

The complete saga of Master Chief is here, and in 4K 60fps, this is the definitive way to experience these games. Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes six games from the main series, so if you were a little too young to experience some of the earlier titles, now's your chance! The collection contains Halo Combat Evolved, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo ODST, and Halo 4.

The Halo series defined the FPS genre in the early 2000s, for many people they were the first true multiplayer experience with the revolutionary introduction of Xbox Live. Microsoft has done a fantastic job in remastering the original Halo games, bringing a fresh, revitalised experience to new audiences. The first game remains an incredibly intense, well-designed shooter brimming with creativity, and is well worth a go. Each sequel builds upon Halo's core FPS combat, bringing more vehicles, more guns, and larger battles into the mix.

Possibly one of the finest platformers to grace the Xbox, Ori and The Blind Forest steals the show on the Xbox Game Pass, and is absolutely worth your consideration. Indie developer, Moon Studios, has created a truly magnificent world for players to explore, accompanied by the breath-taking orchestral score, stunning visuals, and silky-smooth controls rooted in a heartfelt narrative, Ori and the Blind Forest should most definitely be on your radar.

Verdict:

Both consoles provide some real power to their consoles, with the next-gen hardware being almost as powerful as some modern PCs. But what truly matters is their libraries, and both do not fail to disappoint. PlayStation has made it abundantly clear over the past few years that its interest lies in single-player games, and with waves and waves of incredible exclusives hitting PlayStation over the past couple of years, we're inclined to agree. Xbox, however, while having a decent amount of single-player games, especially with their newfound relationship with Bethesda on the up-and-up, their priorities definitely lie with multiplayer experiences.

For my money, it is the opinion of this writer that PlayStation is as of now the winners of the console wars due to their incredible single-player games available via PS Plus, as well as the exciting new releases coming next year. This, however, may very well change due to Xbox's recent acquisition of some very promising studios, only time may tell who will be the overall winner of this endless war.

Of course, here at What's The Best we're not all in complete agreement with each other all the time. In fact, our in-house deputy-editor, Will Lobley, recently sold his PS5 in exchange for an Xbox Series S, click here to see why.

Ryan is a tech writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in PCs and gaming. He is a keen PC gamer and an avid reader.

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