A reader offers a counter to the recent Reader's Feature bemoaning the PS5 and explains why he thinks it's better than the Xbox Series X.
The first paragraph in @SnapBlastPlay's recent Reader's Feature article should have been enough to discount publication in its entirety, perhaps that was the point.
Let's start with a reality check, with someone who actually owns both consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) and can give a solid reason as to why perhaps people are turning their backs on Xbox. That would be yours truly.
Contrary to the suggestion that scalpers have managed to suffocate supply of PlayStation 5s to the benefit of Xbox I can firmly state that over the year since launch I have secured not just one but SIX PlayStation 5 consoles (for myself, both my kids and three others for friends/family). It has not taken a specialist set of skills and I haven't had to resort to scalpers to get them.
Contrast that with the one Xbox Series X that I managed to procure just before Christmas – I had to make a deal with someone on Discord (which made the console £50 more expensive) and make a 100 mile round trip to collect it. Scalping exists for everything desirable these days but if you are patient you can get one without too much hassle, but to say it's exclusively a problem for PlayStation is plainly false.
@SnapBlastPlay makes the point that PlayStation are charging £70 per game for new releases. This is not a PlayStation specific issue as publishers across the board are going in this direction (Bungie, Activision, and EA come to mind and all publish £70 games on Xbox).
That said, the Game Pass vs. PSN argument is totally valid given the amount of AAA titles available on Game Pass on day one of release (Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 come to mind). I'd say there is also a fair amount of shovelware in there, to beef up the number of titles, but overall it's simply a better proposition.
For those of us with a decent gaming PC this is further diluted by the fact you don't need an Xbox Series X to play the top titles as they release on PC the same day as Xbox (again Halo and Forza come directly to mind). That said, I finished Halo Infinite on Xbox Series X in two evenings… so if I didn't have Game Pass I'd have chucked £60 away for 10 hours of story (not a fan of the multiplayer).
PlayStation has to up their game on this front.
GameCentral rightly call the reader out on his assertion that he doesn't give the PlayStation exclusives their due in terms of longevity, and Gears of War is third person so I'm not sure what the point of mentioning third person games is.
Past and future-proof
Whilst it's somewhat true that old games 'just work' in an Xbox Series X it's not universally true. Sony's approach to this is markedly different to Microsoft, but I'd argue that I would gladly sacrifice backwards compatibility, especially as more next gen titles are released over time. The vogue for backwards compatibility is a bit confusing to me as someone who collects consoles as it dilutes the need to keep older consoles – especially as the PlayStation 5 works completely fine with all PlayStation 4 games, negating the need to keep my PS4 Pro.
I'd say exactly the same for my Xbox One X given that the Xbox Series X is almost a clone of my Xbox One X. Whilst I am sure that, on paper, one could claim that Xbox has the power superiority there are a few things that screaming about power leaves behind. Firstly, one of the best gaming experiences I have had in the last gen came on a console with about as much GPU/CPU power as my iPhone (Zelda: Breath Of The Wild on Nintendo Switch) so you can crow about polygons and shader memory all you want – but if your games are trash then your console will fail.
Both Xbox and PlayStation have exclusives I am looking forward to playing but if I'm honest the only games that are a guaranteed day one purchase for me this year are Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Horizon Forbidden West, and Breath of the Wild 2.
I really hate the fact that PlayStation locks the majority of PlayStation 5 games to only work with DualSense controllers, which seems like a backwards and anti-customer move. I've got one extra pad for my PlayStation 5 but loads of PlayStation 4 controllers spare – let me use them. I know that this is mostly a developer decision (if they use DualSense in their code it locks out PlayStation 4 controls) but there should be at least an override in the system to disable the lock. [It's more likely to be a Sony edict – GC]
Things that PlayStation 5 simply does better than Xbox Series X
@SnapBlastPlay says that PlayStation have anti-consumer practises but conveniently forgets when Xbox wanted to force Kinect on everyone, lock down physical discs, and spent a heap of time invested in TV rather than producing excellent first party gaming content. They have made up for this slightly, but it still feels like a games console trying not to be one.
I can't for the life of me understand the split of Xbox Series X and Series S. I mean, if I had kids that were unlikely to get above 1080p then I can see why that exists as an option but Microsoft really put more of these into production than Xbox Series X, thinking that demand would be higher, which has simply not been the case.
A cynic might say they didn't make as many Xbox Series Xs to push people to the Xbox Series S. But the point of a flagship console is to get the best version of it, not follow Apple's model of having three versions of a phone with different specs. Most gamers will want the best version of a console and not the watered down version (unless it's like the PS Vita where the Wi-Fi only version outsold the 3G enabled one).
The Xbox dashboard is awful and hasn't changed since the Xbox One. I suspect that this is because they feel that this is the optimum version of their dashboard or that they aren't focused on that part yet, but it is in dire need of simplification. PlayStation 5's is in no way simple but it's miles better to navigate.
PlayStation 5 records your gameplay all the time, which makes the need for capture cards negligible for streaming. The integration of Twitch and YouTube are seamless and you don't need a specialist set of hardware to get started. If there is one reason I prefer my PlayStation 5 over my Xbox Series X, it's because I can store the last hour of gameplay and share it with my friends on WhatsApp later.
DualSense, whilst seeming like a fad, is actually responsive and makes for a better feedback system for first person shooters and driving games (personally I'll be curious to see how it's used in Gran Turismo 7). The pad itself is really well made.
Anecdotally, I've had more people asking me how to get a PlayStation 5 than have asked me how to get an Xbox. I'm pretty sure that during Christmas that supply was resolved somewhat but the issues with getting the consoles out there during a silicon shortage (which is now so bad that the printer companies are removing the chips from ink carts) is not a single console issue and affects more than just Sony or Microsoft.
Game Pass is a great way of getting games into people's hands and Sony really dropped the ball on this. However, both consoles now allow remote play (I've had similar issues with both consoles with regards to latency) and are similar in terms of games and graphics.
PlayStation, for now, has the better exclusive line-up but hopefully that will change. But if you've got a decent gaming PC and a PlayStation 5 you don't really need an Xbox and the Xbox Series X is just not different enough from its predecessors to make it worthwhile.
By reader BB
The reader's feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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