PS5 and Xbox Series X will go neck to neck this year. What we expect
At CES 2020, we learned only a little bit more about Sony’s next flagship gaming console. Here’s how that competes against the next Xbox.
The new PlayStation 5 was not present at Sony’s CES 2020 press conference, but we did learn a handful of things about it. For starters, Sony verified the new system ‘would have an optical drive adept of playing 4K Blu-rays with support for HDR (about time, says me, a cranky PS4 Pro owner). And while Sony didn’t get into the details as far as in-depth specs are concerned, we at least know a few basic benchmarks that give us a gist of what the new system will propose when it debuts just in time for the holidays at the end of 2020.
And yes, we got our first look at the logo. Surprisingly, it features a “P,” a “S,” and a “5.”
At any cost, this is one of the more passionately anticipated products of the year, and the forthcoming encounter with Microsoft and the Xbox Series X should make for a captivating rematch. So, let’s take a look at how the two stand up — what we have learned, what we still don’t know and what we’re still waiting for.
Discs are going to stay
Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 will have optical drives capable of playing physical copies of 4K Blu-rays and games. Digital sales continue to rise (and on Sony’s end, digital downloads of PS4 games surpassed physical sales in 2019) so we may be approaching a point where discs are outmoded, but we aren’t there yet.
Talking about the physical design, the Xbox Series X features a vertical build that’s indicative of PC towers, possibly intentionally so. We still don’t know exactly what the PS5 will appear like, but we know that it’ll be accompanied by new controllers with haptic vibration effects swapping the traditional roars you’re probably used to. Regarding the new Xbox, it’ll feature a new controller, too. But apart from a somewhat smaller design and the addition of a share button, it doesn’t look too much different than before.
Both will support ray tracing
Microsoft has already specified the Xbox Series X will support “ray tracing,” a graphical interpretation technique that shows the real behavior of light when producing 3D images. It should make for better-looking visuals and an obvious jump in realism, but it needs a lot of computing power. Now, Sony also says that the PlayStation 5 will support ray tracing.
That suggests that maybe neither console will have a strong graphical lead over the other. That’s typically the case, but maybe the most important takeaway is that we should expect a significant leap in visual quality on the new consoles, in any case once developers begin taking full advantage of what they’re capable.
As for system storage, both the PS 5 and the Xbox Series X will exploit a solid-state drive, which should make for performance that’s more efficient and faster than previous-gen, hard disk-based consoles. No leak yet from either maker as to just how much storage space the consoles will pack off with, but both the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro started at 1TB.
An SSD under the workings also means faster load times, and the capability to render more expansive prospects in open-world games.
GPU? CPU? Stay tuned, says Sony
Both systems will depend on chipmaker AMD for their GPUs. We hardly know about what to expect from the Xbox Series X based off comments from Microsoft at E3 previous year and in a special interview last month before the big system reveal at the Game Awards 2019:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU
- GPU: AMD Navi-based GPU (~12 TFLOPs)
- Max Output Resolution: 8K
- Max Refresh Rate: 120Hz
- RAM: GDDR6 SDRAM (capacity not verified)
- Storage: NVMe SSD (capacity not established)
Precisely, the thing sounds like a gaming titan, with statements of 8K capabilities and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. We don’t have details like that from Sony concerning the PS5 yet, but it’ll be captivating to see how the two eventually stack up in 2020.
We don’t have precise release dates for both console yet, but both Sony and Microsoft have loosely pinned their respective releases for the 2020 holiday shopping season. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
Meanwhile, expect to hear much more about both consoles later this summer at E3 2020, and be sure to follow along with us.