PlayStation vs Xbox: Never a better time to be a console user

Should the PlayStation vs Xbox war end? (Image via Sportskeeda)
Should the PlayStation vs Xbox war end? (Image via Sportskeeda)

The PlayStation vs Xbox war started in 2001 when the original Xbox came out. Back then, Sony had a head start with PlayStation 2 already capturing most of the market share. The console became the most sold home console in history with 155 million sales.

PlayStation is known for its single-player, narrative-driven experiences, with studios like Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica leading the charge. Meanwhile, over time, Xbox has adopted a games as a service or GAAS model, where they focus on marketing the Game Pass service.

On paper, in the current line-up of consoles, the Xbox Series X nudges past the PS5 when it comes to raw horsepower. The former features 12.3 Tflops compared to 10.3 of the PS5.

If hardware alone could dictate a console's graphical prowess and fluidity, the PS3 would have annihilated the Xbox, but the opposite happened. The Xbox 360 was a lot simpler to develop and hence, had better performance.

The developers did learn to develop the PS3 cell processor during the end of its life cycle. Blockbusters like Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, beating whatever the industry had come up with up until that point.

PS4 changed the game for Sony

The OG fat PS4 (Image via Sony)
The OG fat PS4 (Image via Sony)

Despite being significantly more powerful than the Xbox One, the PS4 was held back, with at least 3rd party titles like Batman Arkham Knight. Game development focuses on ensuring the lowest common denominator, the weakest console in a particular generation, is emphasized.

Xbox One had a couple of really beautiful-looking launch period titles with Ryse Son of Rome and later Quantum Break. These were the best-looking first-party Xbox exclusives back then.

Sony responded with what was probably the most extraordinary period in PlayStation history by launching new IPs, reviving old classics, and making available open-world games like Horizon Zero Dawn.

PlayStation launched Uncharted 4 in 2014, followed by Bloodborne in 2015. These became the benchmark for graphical fidelity in their respective genres.

Microsoft answered by releasing a timed exclusive in the form of Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears 4. But recently, Microsoft's lack of AAA is hurting them big-time.

Is trouble brewing inside the Xbox camp? (Image via Sportskeeda)
Is trouble brewing inside the Xbox camp? (Image via Sportskeeda)

Introduction of mid-cycle refresh trend

Roughly three-and-a-half years after the launch of the OG consoles, Sony and Microsoft launched the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Both promised a 4K gaming experience with better frame rates.

Xbox One X did end up outputting in 4K often, but the PS4 Pro used a checkerboarding technique to output in 4K. Checkerboarding isn't as sharp as native 4K.

So, Xbox One X did end up outshining the PS4 Pro in most 3rd party titles like the Witcher 3 with a noticeably sharper picture.

Things were finally starting to look good for Microsoft from a hardware point of view, but they were still playing catch-up, trying to match the quality offered by the PlayStation first-party games.

PS4's last few exclusives like The Last of Part 2 feel like next-gen games, which is hard to believe as they run on budget hardware from 2013, almost a decade ago.

Xbox Series X, the world's fastest console?

ARMA Reforged running on Xbox Series X.😱🥵

In 2020, Microsoft was the underdog when it launched the Xbox Series X, then claimed to be the world's fastest console featuring 12.3 tflops of graphical power with more CUs than the PS5.

On paper, many thought that the Xbox Series X would annihilate the PS5 but thanks to Mark Cerny's no bottleneck architecture, the PS5, despite being less powerful, delivers better frame rates and textures hitherto.

Halo Infinite was touted to be the next big thing for Xbox, but it was met with harsh criticism surrounding its subpar visuals and character design.

Meanwhile, PS5 owners are getting treated to new exclusives more often. Games like Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart have pushed the visual envelope beyond what was considered tangible just a few years ago.

Pixar movie-like visuals, instantaneous loading, and DualSense's industry-first features have contributed to games feeling more immersive on the PS5.


Playstation vs Xbox: Competition is good for consumers

Continuous heat from the PlayStation camp has forced Microsoft to deal a hand that will benefit gamers in the long run. The latter has tapped into its cash reserves to shell out for big-name publishers like Bethesda and, recently, Activision for $69 billion.

Not only should this give developers more freedom and budget, but it can also change how the industry functions.

Today is a historic moment. We are excited to announce that the world-renowned franchises and talented people at @ATVI_AB will be joining Team Xbox!   Full announcement details here:

All of Microsoft's first-party titles launch on Day 1 on the Game Pass, making it an insane value proposition. Imagine Call of Duty, not following a yearly release but more graphically polished thanks to the backing from Xbox and launching Day 1 on Xbox Game Pass. It will force the competition to simply get better.

Xbox is sitting on a few surprises. We shall see what it has been cooking in Xbox's June showcase. Gameplay for Fable, Starfield, Avowed, and a new IP are expected to see the light of day in June.

Meanwhile, PlayStation is here to stay. Not only does it offer a better library of games, but it also runs 3rd party titles better with, of course, a few exceptions.

Nevertheless, there hasn't been a nicer time to be a gamer. The competition is heating up, and we are waiting for God of Ragnarok.

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Edited by Ravi Iyer
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