The next generation of gaming is here and we must all make our choice.
This week is a momentous week for gamers everywhere. We are officially entering the next generation of video gaming with the launch of the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5.
This is a strange console launch, as most of the large next-generation games have been delayed until next year and there is a short supply of consoles.
Barring any stock issues, which are sure to be plentiful, what console should you pick up this holiday season? Well, they both have their pros and cons so let’s go over them.
Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X is the flagship console of Microsoft for this generation. It has a confusing naming convention; Microsoft just does not seem to know how to count.
It seems to be the perfect machine for any Xbox fan as it can play games from each Xbox console. That means you can put Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Original Xbox games into this console and play them without any problems. Not every game works on the new console but a many do. You can find a full list of what games will work online.
If you own an Xbox One, then your controllers can also make the leap to Xbox Series X. Every controller works with the new console so you can save money, but if you want more than one of the new Series X controllers, you will have to fork over a pretty penny.
The console itself is pretty impressive. It isn’t very pretty, it kind of looks like a mini-fridge, but it has some nice technology on the inside. You can go look at the complete specs if you are into that sort of thing but for those who aren’t, there are a couple of important bits you may want to know.
The Xbox Series X will be able to play your games in full-on native 4K, if you have a 4K TV that is. The console can also run some games at 120 frames per second, which means the gameplay will look smoother and run faster. They will also load a lot faster with the Xbox’s SSD.
However, to get the full benefits of the 4k and 120 FPS, you will probably need to get a new TV. Even with an older TV, your games will look nicer and smoother but if you want the full experience you will need to upgrade.
The real seller of the Xbox Series X, however, are the services and the price. If you qualify, you can get yourself an Xbox Series X plus Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $35/month for 24 months. This will get you the console plus access to the online service and 100+ games right away. Otherwise, you can buy the console outright for $500 and pay $15/month for Game Pass Ultimate.
Game Pass Ultimate gets every Xbox first-party game day one, this includes the latest in franchises like Fallout and Halo. The Game Pass now also includes EA Play, Electronic Arts monthly subscription service that lets you play many Electronic Arts games, including The Sims 4 and Star Wars Battlefront 2.
Xbox also offers something called smart delivery. If you buy the Xbox One version of certain games, you will get the Xbox Series X version included at no extra cost. You can find the complete list of Smart Delivery titles on the Xbox website.
The Xbox Series X boasts incredible power and a pretty great service in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If you are an Xbox fan or do not have a lot of money to spend on a new console, then the Xbox Series X will probably be a good pick.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S is the second console that Microsoft released this week. It is less powerful and cheaper than the Xbox Series X and is made for those who want the next-gen experience without the cost.
The console is fairly similar in specs to the Series X. However, instead of 4K, it can play games in 1440p but hits 1080p most of the time. The console is smaller than the Series X and boasts a white body instead of black.
The console does not have a disc drive and really does not have much space. But it is $299 instead of $500 and with the Xbox All Access program it comes to $25/month for 24 months including the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
It will be able to play every game the Series X can play, just with less power. This model is for those who are tight on cash, don’t really care for 4K and still want to play the next generation of games.
The PlayStation 5 is the new console from Sony, they actually know how to count. It comes in two models, disc or digital, with a $100 difference between the two.
The PlayStation 5 is a pretty impressive machine as well. It looks a lot like a futuristic router and is very big, you may need to change your entertainment system around a little due to the size of this thing.
The tech inside is pretty impressive and they completely re-did the design of the PlayStation controllers. Gone are the days of DualShock, as the new controller, called the Dualsense, looks more like an Xbox controller.
The controller features haptic feedback which means that there will be subtle vibrations when playing the games and adaptive triggers that will be harder to press depending upon what you are doing in the game. Time will tell if developers utilize this feature or if it goes by the wayside like the DualShock 4’s speakers.
The console itself allows for up to 120 fps in 4K if you have the right TV. Much like the Xbox Series X, you won’t experience the full extent of what this console has to offer if you don’t also upgrade your TV.
The SSD on the device is impressive as it significantly decreases the load times of games. You’ll be able to jump into your game faster than you could on the PS4.
The PS5, however, does not offer something like Xbox Game Pass or a payment plan like Xbox All Access. So, you will have to be ready to fork over the $500 if you want to utilize discs or $400 if you are okay with digital.
The PS5 does offer something known as the PlayStation Plus Collection. This is a bundle of PS4 games that you can play on your PS5 at launch if you subscribe to PlayStation Plus. This collection includes 20 games so far including games like The Last of Us Remastered and God of War.
The big draw of the PS5 is not the faster loading times or the 4K resolution but the games that will be coming to the system. Most of the games have been delayed until next year like Horizon: Forbidden West and Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart but at launch, you will be able to get your hands-on Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
If you are a PlayStation fan or interested in the exclusive games that are coming to the PS5 then this will be a good console to pick up. Most of the games have been delayed until next year so there isn’t much in terms of exclusives yet.
The Xbox Series X, Series S and PlayStation 5 are pretty impressive machines. The Xbox has the services and cheap price while the PlayStation 5 has the great exclusive games. To ensure you don’t miss out on any games you should try to pick up both, and with the $35/month price tag of the Xbox it makes it super easy.
However, not everyone has the money to buy a next-gen console, so it comes down to what you want out of your console. Do you want the great services, or do you want the single-player exclusives? Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Just remember that if you want to get the full next-gen experience you will also want to upgrade your TV. Might want to go looking on Black Friday.
Don’t feel the need to rush out and get one now though, good luck finding one. Most next-gen games aren’t even coming out for a year or two, so you’ll be just fine with an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 for a little while. You won’t miss out on any of the new games yet.