The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have emerged as the two defining consoles of a generation. Since being released within a week of each other in November 2013, they have gone on to dominate the gaming market, selling in excess of 150 million units between them.

While the PS4 accounts for more than two thirds of that total, competition between the two has undoubtedly strengthened the burgeoning gaming industry, now thought to be worth more than $150 million.

There were six consoles produced by Sony and Microsoft this generation, and we won’t have to wait long before both companies release major upgrades. In this article, we put the upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X up against each other, in an attempt to determine which we prefer based on what we know so far.

Release date

Both consoles have been confirmed to launch during ‘Holiday 2020’ by their respective companies, but we don’t have anything more specific beyond that.

We’d expect the PS5 and Xbox Series X to be launched very close to each other again, but it remains to be seen whether Sony will take the plunge first like it did with the PS4.

Different versions of both consoles are expected, but their release will likely be staggered throughout their life cycles, usually to ensure there’s no more than three years between new devices.

Design

The design of the Xbox Series X has been confirmed by Microsoft, with a tall, narrow chassis reminiscent of modern PC towers.

This is a real departure from previous Xbox consoles, which have all loosely retained the same design. However, is should still be able to slot nicely into your existing home entertainment setup, with Microsoft having confirmed that the console can be placed horizontally or vertically.

Design-wise, Sony is yet to announce anything concrete beyond the name and branding of its console, so we really have no idea on what the final version of the PS5 will look like.
Unfortunately, Sony’s press conference at CES 2020 did little to shed light on what the final design would look like, simply revealing the final logo design.

Various rumours have been flying around, the most notable of which being the design below. It would be a surprise to see Sony abandon the design which made the PS4 such a success, but it certainly does look futuristic.

However, there have been some pretty convincing leaks regarding the design of the PS5 controller, widely expected to be called the DualShock 5. New features could include a larger touchpad, dedicated back paddles and a built-in microphone.

Performance

Both consoles will undoubtedly include fairly substantial performance boosts over their predecessors. The PS5 and Xbox Series X will both be sporting AMD’s Ryzen CPU, and a GPU from the same manufacturer to match.
It’s also clear that both Sony and Microsoft are eager to ditch the spinning hard drives on current-gen consoles, in favour of the more efficient SSDs. Many gamers already use an external SSD when their console runs out of storage, so this would be the logical next step.

However, Dexerto.com is reporting that the Series X could be up to 30% faster than the PS5, due in part to its 20 extra compute units. It remains to be seen how much of a real-world difference that will make.

Games

Godfall has been confirmed as the first console game exclusive to the PlayStation 5. The fantasy RPG’s release is set to coincide with the PS5 coming out, so look out for the game towards the end of 2020.

We don’t have any further news on games coming to either console, so we’ll have to wait and see what Sony and Microsoft have in store in the run up to their respective release dates.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 could be one of the first major cross-platform releases to release on next-gen consoles, with its rumoured late 2020 release date coinciding with when the new consoles come out.

As with current-gen consoles, we’d expect a number of games to be exclusive to each console. The PS5 could build on the success of the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Spider-Man to provide sequels, while we expect the Xbox Series X to continue the successful Forza and Halo series, while offering new experiences with the likes of Everwild.

Verdict

We have relatively few details to go on so far, but we’d give the edge to the Xbox Series X at this stage.

Of course, producing a worthy successor to the wildly successful PlayStation 4 is no mean feat, and it’s likely that the PS5 will be very easy to recommend to gaming fanatics.

But the Xbox’s rumoured performance enhancements, as well as a more familiar design, means it just about comes out on top at this very early stage.

Of course, this is all subject to change. Ultimately both consoles will be powerhouses running the latest and greatest in gaming technology, and it will probably make sense to stick with your current console provider.

If you’d like to read more, check out everything we know about the PS5 and Xbox Series X so far.