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Should I Buy A PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?

by Paul Douglas 11 months ago in console · updated 10 months ago
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Does next-gen hardware live up to the hype?

Should I Buy A PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S?
Photo by Kerde Severin on Unsplash

Which gaming system is best for you, and most worthy of your money is a hotly contested topic these days, once more brought to the fore by the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Many pundits and fanboys/fangirls are eager to tell you their favourite is best, with each console’s spec sheet quoted, compared, and contrasted to support their view.

It has to be said, however, apart from a minority of technical wizards, most of us, myself included, have only a sketchy idea of what the specs really mean. A teraflop is a measure of processing power and performance. Because the PlayStation 5 has a 10.28 teraflop GPU and Xbox Series X has a 12 teraflop GPU, then is an Xbox Series X better?

The gaming system with the biggest numbers, most memory, more teraflops, etc is best, isn’t it? It, however, can be difficult to quantify how this translates into gameplay, and if this will have a noticeable impact on your access to the latest games and your enjoyment of the games you want to play. Do better graphics equal better games? Not in this author’s experience.

Some of the most addictive games I have played have been simple 2D games rather than the ray-tracing next-gen extravaganzas. To this end, spec sheets can be mere marketing tools used to convince the consumer they must invest in one console or platform rather than another.

How much can you justify spending on a new platform?

One of the important decisions for most of us, especially today with Covid-19 and all of its financial implications, is how much we can afford to pay. The latest consoles can represent a serious cash investment, that is if you can even get your hands on one with the incredible stock fiasco we are seeing. If you already own a PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or gaming PC then you may not have to spend anything at all. The decision here is if you can justify the expense of upgrading to get the latest graphics, and if you wanted to, could you manage to get your hands on the hardware anyway?

What system your friends play on

If you like to play multiplayer games online with your friends then it may not matter which console has the best specs. Whichever platform your friends play on will be of more pressing concern. If all your friends play on PlayStation, then a new PS5 would be the only choice. Likewise, to continue all of those multiplayer Halo battles in true next-gen glory, when the time comes to order your new console, it would be the Xbox Series X/S in your shopping basket.

By Billy Freeman on Unsplash

What games do you play?

The decision on what platform is best should be games-led not system-led. I, personally, don’t buy a console for its specs, but rather its games. It stands to reason that if you play The Legend of Zelda or Mario Kart the machinations of the next-gen console war will have little impact on you. If you want to play Spider-Man: Miles Morales, it’s the PS5 for you. If Halo Infinite is your thing, like it is for me, whenever it finally appears the Xbox Series X/S is the only choice. The waters become somewhat muddier if you wish to play a cross-platform title like Dirt 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and when the bugs are fixed, Cyberpunk 2077. These and many others can be played on last-gen and next-gen machines on Xbox, PS, in addition to PC.

The games themselves, of course, will play out the same on any of the above-mentioned platforms. There are no hidden levels that only appear when the next-gen is the path of choice. The changes will be purely visual, with higher framerates, smoother gameplay, and more sumptuous surroundings. The fundamental gameplay will, for the most part, be identical. So the choice will come down to the improved visuals and if you think they’re worth the cost.

Final thoughts

There will always be dedicated and committed PlayStation and Xbox fans who swear by their eco-system and their games and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But as for rushing out to buy the latest consoles solely on the marketing budgets spent by the manufacturers, I would say, ‘Don’t believe the hype’. The choice of console should come down to the games you want to play. Both consoles perform beautifully, the visuals are outstanding but as of yet, there are very few exclusive titles for either system. Most new games are currently available on multiple platforms with only the visuals differing.

If you already own a gaming system and the majority of the games you want to play are already available to you, it may be sensible to wait until the dust settles on the current scramble for consoles and the stock levels stabilise. By this time more next-gen exclusive titles may be available to make the extra expense worthwhile. In the meantime, great gameplay is great gameplay no matter which platform you choose. If you have the disposable income, the inclination and the ability to get your hands on a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S then do so, safe in the knowledge that both are great consoles. If not then don’t lament too much. Your current gaming platform will still serve you well for the foreseeable

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About the author

Paul Douglas

I have always loved to write, especially poems and short stories. I also have an abiding love for technology and gaming. I love to share my outlook with others.

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