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Xbox vs. PlayStation – this war between two renowned gaming consoles has been ongoing through every new iteration, with people still feuding over which platform is better. This divide continues over not only the notable characteristics of each of the two consoles but also among the die-hard fans that stand behind each console’s exclusive games and features.
Historically, this divide between the two gaming communities has been present from the start. After seven long years, Microsoft and Sony have finally launched their newest models, and the question of which one to go for is still up for debate.
Which is better – Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S or Sony’s PlayStation 5? If you’re torn between the features of each and the opinions of your one-sided console friends, here are some things to keep in mind before committing.
The start of the gaming console wars
In 1995, Sony broke out onto the gaming scene with a worldwide release of the first PlayStation, followed by the PlayStation 2 in 2000, which quickly became the bestselling gaming console ever.
Seven years after the first PlayStation was released, Microsoft took the gaming community by storm with a brand-new console that gamers around the world would soon obsess over. The launch of Xbox in 2001 started the initial rivalry between Sony and Microsoft, and the competition between the gaming systems continues to drive the console wars year after year.
Even though during the first few years Xbox consoles didn’t sell as successfully as their competitors, Xbox still made a huge impact on the gaming industry. This new console attracted a variety of gamers who were searching for new software that would change the way of gaming entertainment.
After nearly two decades and three generations of rivalry between Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, the differences between the two consoles are continuously flagged by feuding gamers. Upon the release of the first ever Xbox vs. PlayStation 2, the overall launch proved to be troubling for Microsoft. But despite Xbox initially not selling as well as their competitors over at PlayStation, it continued to grow in popularity and develop their own fan base and community.
Xbox Live was introduced in 2002 and was arguably one of the most important add-ons that would alter the way gamers could network. Xbox gamers could play not only among friends but also against competitors from around the world.
This online multiplayer networking experience was entirely new to the industry, so Xbox Live meant the numbers for Microsoft would grow exponentially. Additionally, the development of “Halo,” an Xbox exclusive game that was the start of first-person shooters, bumped up the popularity of Xbox and helped solidify their brand moving forward.
Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities, explained to USA Today that: “Microsoft had the vision of multiplayer gaming and fortunately pushed into shooters with ‘Halo’ as the poster child for multiplayer. They leveraged their cloud supremacy and made multiplayer work, and that begot ‘Call of Duty,’ which in turn begat ‘Fortnite.’ That’s a pretty huge contribution."
Soon the allegedly superior features and specifications of each gaming system wouldn’t be the only thing users considered when deciding where they landed on the Xbox vs. PlayStation argument. Platform exclusivity would steer the way future generations would go about gaming.
Sony’s PlayStation vs. Microsoft’s Xbox
When it comes down to the overall specs and performance of each of the most current systems, there are a handful of things to take into account. Things like backward compatibility (older games still working with the new systems), central and graphic processing units (CPU/GPU), the amount of storage, resolution, frame rates and price have steered the way consumers choose between each system.
When comparing the specs and technical outline of each console side-by-side, the verdict of which one is better is still a debatable topic. Both of the latest editions cost around US$500, offer up to 8k resolutions and 120fps and have 4K UHD Blu-ray with the highest frame rates.
At first comparison, the details of each of the console’s specs are pretty similar. But visually speaking, the PlayStation 5 seemed to go for a more innovative approach when it came to designing the actual console and controllers themselves. With a wide dimensional white and black aesthetic, the PS5 went for a unique departure from previous PlayStation consoles; having an even bigger and brighter machine (vertically or horizontally) in front of you while playing.
Microsoft decided to keep their distinctive bold look and stuck to their roots, modifying the new Xbox Series X into a cubic shape to appeal to the modern eye. Even though the technical aspects of software and design are all big factors that play a part into which is the “better” console, what it really comes down to is the games.
Xbox exclusives vs. PlayStation exclusives
Even if a console has the latest and greatest software, what it really comes down to is the appeal of its games. This key factor has undoubtedly been one of the main reasons for the console wars and how each console’s community has developed. Both consoles have different approaches to their game libraries, so naturally, people will take sides.
The fact that one console supports a specific game and the other doesn’t is one major component in the rivalry between Microsoft and Sony. When Xbox was first released, one of the major exclusives that helped efficiently grow the community was the futuristic first-person shooter game “Halo.” It’s now one of the console’s most successful games and has amplified the genre of online multiplayer shooting games.
With Microsoft’s “Halo” holding up with its sixth installment, “Halo Infinite,” releasing in the fall of 2021, other new games available for the Xbox Series X are limited to “Forza Motorsport 8,” “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” “State of Decay 3” and more soon to come. It’s safe to say that even though Microsoft holds its own in terms of specs, Sony’s game offerings are a little more diversified, to say the least.
Sony has always been known for the fan-favorites and remasters of classic key exclusives like “Grand Theft Auto,” “God of War,” “Ratchet and Clank,” “Spyro” and others. Throughout its new console releases, Sony exclusives have included remastered classics as well as a new list of games to add to your libraries.
Newer games like “Horizon,” an open world third-person role-playing game (RPG), immerse you in stunning lifelike ecosystems and environments. Other games like “Spiderman: Miles Morales” and “Marvel’s Avengers," appeal to the community of die-hard Marvel fans wanting to play the roles of their favorite superheroes.
The availability of exclusive games among the two consoles may immediately answer the question (for some) of which console is “better.” With the latest technology and software fueling each of them, what it really comes down to is personal preference.
If you prefer the genre of games that Xbox provides rather than PlayStation, then by all means, go for the newest Xbox Series X. But if your heart is leaning more toward the available Sony exclusives, then the PS5 is an obvious choice.
Considering the console your friends use can be a big factor as well, if you are hoping to play with your friends over the network. Wherever you land on the Xbox vs. PlayStation divide, just remember – as long as you’re having fun, that’s all that really matters.
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