Xbox vs PS5: Which console has the upper hand currently?

The next-gen consoles are almost upon us.
The next-gen consoles are almost upon us.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S are going head-to-head this Holiday season, and things are ramping up quite a bit. After a long game of chicken between the two tech giants, prices for the Xbox Series X/S and PS5/PS5 Digital Edition were finally revealed.

The next-gen consoles are proving to be every bit as powerful as a high-end PC and fans couldn't be more excited. While the console war has indeed cooled down from the age of constant fights on the internet, there obviously exists a competition.

Both Sony and Microsoft are pushing for innovation in an attempt to gain the upper hand. With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft already looks more competitive than the current-gen.

The PS4, with all honesty, dominated the current-gen, and Microsoft had a lot of a catching up to do, and it seems like they have. Here we take a look at both the PS5 and Xbox Series X and their variants to decide which console has the upper hand at the moment.

The categories for the comparison are as follows:

  • Exclusives
  • Hardware
  • Lower priced variants
  • Backwards Compatibility

Xbox Series X/S vs PS5: Which console is winning currently?

1) First-Party Exclusives

(image credits: wccftech)
(image credits: wccftech)

When it comes to deciding between which console to buy, a lot of players tend to look at the first-party exclusives available. Essentially, games that are available solely on one particular console and nowhere else.

More often than not, they become a huge factor in deciding which console overtakes the other in terms of sales. The PS5 already has an impressive line-up of first-party exclusives such as God of War: Ragnarok (2021) Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020), Horizon Forbidden West (2021), and Demon's Souls.

Xbox Series X and Microsoft's approach to exclusives is quite different from that of Sony's in that it is not looking to launch and console exclusives at the moment. The reason being that the company aims for fans to have an easier time making the jump from their current Xbox One to the Xbox Series X.

Therefore, the majority of games coming out for Series X will also be available for the Xbox One. This was highly appreciated by fans, but it remains to be seen how it affects the sales.

The lack of exclusives does not mean that the console lacks quality first-party titles, the ones that have been confirmed are: Halo Infinite (2021), Fable, State of Decay 3, and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.

Score: PS5- 1, Xbox- 0

2) Hardware

(image credits: Reddit)
(image credits: Reddit)

The PS5 and Xbox Series X both boast of some pretty reliable power under the hood, really taking the fight to the "PC Master Race" in this console generation. The Xbox One X had the slight edge over the PS4 Pro last-gen, and let us see if the PS5 and Xbox Series X also follow the same story.

PS5 Hardware Specs:

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28 teraflops with 36 compute units at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
  • RAM: 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
  • Internal Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
  • Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive

Xbox Series X Hardware Specs:

  • CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
  • Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
  • Internal Storage: 1TB Custom NVME SSD
  • Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card
  • External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive

While the PS5 and Xbox Series X target 4K gaming at 60-120 FPS, the Xbox Series X GPU has a slight edge over the PS5 in terms of hardware. Xbox has always branded itself as the most powerful console in the world. It does ring true in this console generation too.

However, TFLOPS alone doesn't guarantee better performance; as a lot of it is down to optimization in games, few can deny the Xbox's obvious hardware advantage.

Score: PS5- 1, Xbox- 1

3) Lower-Priced Variants

(image credits: TechRadar)
(image credits: TechRadar)

Both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X will have lower-priced variants, namely: PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S. However, there is a large gap in performance between the two consoles as well as a price gap.

The PS5 Digital Edition is priced $399 while the Xbox Series S is priced at $299, which is an overly aggressive price point. However, Microsoft's approach to the console variant is in stark contrast with that of Sony's.

The Xbox Series S comes with a massive trade-off, as it takes away the 4K gaming and puts the 1440 cap at 60 FPS. While it still offers a next-gen experience, the hardware is less powerful.

The PS5 Digital Edition, on the other hand, as confirmed by Sony, is "basically the same console". The only trade-off seems to be the lack of an optical drive, which is not a massive deal to a lot of players at the moment.

The lack of an optical drive brings down the price of the PS5 Digital Edtion from the PS5's $499 to $399. The $100 difference between the PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S is one fans seem comfortable with.

As the PS5 Digital Edition offers the same next-gen experience, along with identical hardware of its more powerful variant.

Score: PS5- 2, Xbox-1

4) Backwards Compatibility

(image credits: presstart)
(image credits: presstart)

Backwards Compatibility has long been Microsoft's home ground with them offering huge levels of backwards compatibility even on the Xbox One. The same holds true for the Xbox Series X with the console being able to play games not just for Xbox One, but also Xbox 360 and the original Xbox.

On the other hand, Sony has come out finally and shed more light on the backwards compatibility of the PS5. According to Sony, the PS5 will be compatible with 99 percent of PS4 games.

However, it won't be able to support games from the PS3, PS2, or the original PlayStation. While the PS4 library is quite possibly the best in all of gaming, Xbox does have the edge when it comes to Backwards Compatibility.

Final Score: PS5- 2, Xbox- 2

It does seem like Microsoft is way more competitive this time around, and if taken the Xbox All Access service into consideration, it might even pull away. However, the PS5 is currently riding a wave of momentum after a massively successful run of the PS4 and its variants.

It will be a tough fight for sure, with neither having the advantage on paper. However, the competition will become much clearer a couple of years into the console cycle as more and more games start to become available for the consoles.