If you're looking to purchase the best next-gen console, then you'll be weighing up whether to get an Xbox Series X or a PlayStation 5. Both consoles have been on the market for over a year, so by now we have a good idea of what they can each do, and one thing is clear: there is no bad option in this contest. Both the Xbox and the PlayStation are powerful, expertly constructed, and have a range of excellent titles. And both Microsoft and Sony are industry giants, who can continue to comfortably attract the best talent to develop for their hardware, meaning there's no need to worry about the future of either platform.
Essentially, you can't go wrong and there's a lot of brand loyalty at work when people decide which console to go for. On top of that, we're currently experiencing ongoing
supply chain issues, so you may not be able to get your hands on a console as easily as would usually be the case. Because of this, there are certainly consumers who will simply buy whatever becomes available, and in that case you're making a safe purchase either way.
However, if brand loyalty is not something that concerns you, and you have the option of picking either machine, then there are several reason why, on balance, the Xbox Series X just about edges out the PlayStation 5, and might be a better purchase.
The Xbox wins this contest, with a more comprehensive level of backwards compatibility. The PS5 is compatible with all PS4 titles. Not bad, and for a lot of users that will satisfy their demands, in which case, go ahead and opt for the PS5. Take a look at the Xbox though, and you'll find compatibility with all
Xbox One games, and also with all games that the Xbox One itself is backwards-compatible with.
Additionally, the Xbox Series X is compatible with all previously released hardware accessories, such as controllers and headsets. This can save you some money if you already own Xbox accessories, and makes the Series X a more likely choice for current Xbox owners. For new users, this might not be a big deal, but it gives the Xbox a slight edge.
There is not a huge amount of difference in the performance of the two consoles, and casual gamers are unlikely to notice any discrepancy. Both machines are very powerful games consoles. That said though, if you sit down and do a detailed comparison, you'll find that the Xbox just about comes out on top of a close comparison. In technical terms, we can measure computing power in terms of flops, or, at this level of development, trillions of flops, or TFLOPS. Grind the numbers and what you'll find is that the Xbox performs 12 TFLOPS to the PlayStation's 10.3 TFLOPS, or a 15% difference.
Will this make a difference to your gaming experience? In reality, most of the time, probably not. But it
could. And if you're a dedicated gamer who wants to get the best potential performance for your dollars, then it's something that might reasonably influence your decision-making process.
Another technical metric in which the Xbox comes out on top is in the amount of available hard drive space. Excluding capacity used by the operating system, the Sony machine has 664 GB of usable storage space. By comparison, the Xbox comes out with 1 TB of usable storage space. This becomes a more significant difference when you consider another storage difference between the two systems: with the PlayStation you must store all PS5 games internally, but on the Xbox, you have the option to store Xbox Series X games on an external storage device, giving you more space and flexibility.
Size and Appearance
Partly this is a matter of what you personally prefer.
Console styles are always evolving, and it may be that you're a fan of the PS5's design. However, in terms of size the Xbox will take up a little less space. Considering how it looks, the Xbox is, well, a box. It's angular and functional, and compared to the PS5 it's a little more discreet and evenly proportioned, and would be easier to fit in aesthetically in different kinds of room.
More practically, the Xbox's design looks as though it will channel airflow better, leading to cooler temperatures and less noise. This may not be the most critical consideration, but taken with everything else it works in favor of the Xbox.
Overall, this is an extremely close battle between two experienced and expert competitors. Certainly, when it comes to the games themselves, there's no significant difference between the two systems, beyond what you're more into. And that (besides the tricky issue of availability) may in the end be what the decision comes down to: personal preference.