Should you be looking to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X? It's a tough one. Both Sony and Microsoft's next-generation consoles promise blazing-fast performance, stunning 8K visuals and a slew of must-have launch titles.
The good news is, there's plenty of time to make up your mind as both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X won't hit the shops until Christmas 2020. As the next console war starts to heat up, which machine will be the best option for you?
We already know a surprising amount of detail about both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, including what's under the hood, how the controllers will change and which games you'll want to get your mitts on first.
Read on as the PS5 and the Xbox Series X go head-to-head in this extensive comparison...
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: price
As yet, there are no confirmed prices for either the PS5 or the Xbox Series X, only speculation.
In January 2020, an anonymous leaker claimed the PS5 would cost £449 in the UK and $499 in the US. The leaker also stated that Sony would unveil the console on 5th February 2020. For context, the first PlayStation and PS2 launched at £299/$299, the PS3 was priced at £425/$499 and the PS4 debuted at £350/$399.
Given that the Xbox Series X shouldn't be a million miles away in terms of spec, we'd expect it to be competitively priced around the £499/$499 mark.
Too pricey? Microsoft is also rumoured to be launching an all-digital version of the Series X codenamed Lockhart. Games industry analysts predict that we could see a disc-less Series X console launch at £399/$399. Whether this will be the cheapest console remains to be seen.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: design
Christmas 2020 could see the launch of two strikingly different-looking consoles – albeit both in black.
The design of the Xbox Series X was confirmed by Microsoft back in 2019. It looks not too dissimilar to a matt black tower PC – a clear departure from the current Xbox One – that can be stood vertically or laid horizontally.
Twitter user @Doug_DragoX uploaded what he claimed to be 'leaked' photos in January 2020, giving us a closer look at the Series X. The back of the alleged prototype features an optical audio port, two USB A ports, ethernet, power and a single HDMI port.
Sony unveiled the PS5 logo at CES 2020, but has yet to unveil the console itself. You probably won't have to wait long: former God of War developer David Scott Jaffe tweeted that the official PS5 reveal is expected in February in what he calls 'the worst kept secret in gaming.'
Last year Dutch website Let's Go Digital created a mock-up based on PS5 developer kits that appeared in a Sony patent application. More recently, Falcon Design 3D created some stunning renders based on a leaked image said to be of the PS5.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: specs
Sony and Microsoft have yet to reveal full details, but both companies have released some pretty juicy specs. So far, it's a case of 'great minds think alike'.
The PS5 and the Xbox Series X will have the same 'brain': chips based on the AMD Zen 2 capable of powering 8K visuals. As for which console is the more powerful, Xbox says that the Series X will be 'four times more powerful than the Xbox One', and have twice the graphics processing power of the Xbox One X – Microsoft's most powerful console to date.
Both machines will feature ray-tracing, the tech found in expensive gaming PCs. It calculates the exact path of each ray of light as it passes through transparent objects or bounces of reflective surfaces to give super-realistic lighting.
And both machines will use solid-state hard drives and GDDR6 RAM memory. This killer combo will drastically reduce, or even eliminate, loading times. According to Sony, loading up a game on the PS5 will be 'ten times faster' than on the PS4. Your games will start instantly and you won't have to endure lengthy pauses between scenes or when dipping in and out of maps.
So, whether you choose the PS5 or Xbox Series X, you should see a huge leap forward in performance and graphics. Keep a close eye on our PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X news pages for the latest leaks, updates and rumours.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: storage
There's no word on how much storage you'll get with the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but there are plenty of rumours floating around.
Prolific PlayStation leaker @PSErebus tweeted in late November that the PS5 would come with 2TB of SSD (solid-state) storage. If true, that would be a huge upgrade on current PS4 models, which feature 1TB of HDD (hard drive) storage.
The same leaker also claims that the 2TB PS5 will be priced at £499/$499. If accurate, Sony would certainly be taking the fight to Microsoft. A comparable 2TB gaming PC would cost twice that amount, making the PS5 a bargain.
There's also talk of the PS5 offering modular storage; a memory slot that would take expandable SSD storage cartridges. The PlayStation is no stranger to slot-in, slot-out external hardware and it would free up valuable extra space for games libraries (in addition to physical PS5 games which will come on 100GB discs).
Unfortunately, that rumour seems to have been debunked. It turns out it stemmed from a leaked patent sketch that related to a completely different Sony product.
With rumours of a £399/$399 'all-digital' Xbox Series X, an entry-level, disc-less PS5 that could be upgraded as and when gamers need extra storage, could help tempt gamers on a budget.
But how does the PS5 stack up against the Xbox Series X? There's no word on how much storage you'll get with Microsoft's console but we'd expect the base model to come with 2TB, to take into account the extra space needed for 8K games.
If the rumour about a 2TB PS5 proves true, and it's priced at £499/$499, the PS5 could turn out to be the best pound-for-pound performer. We'll keep you updated as and when news leaks.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: backwards compatibility
Both Sony and Microsoft have said they will support backwards compatibility, meaning the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be able to play older games from previous console generations.
The Series X will deliver "four generations of content, better than you've ever seen them before". In other words, Xbox Series X will accommodate Xbox One, Xbox 360 and even original Xbox titles.
In fact, Microsoft has already added backwards compatibility to over 600 Xbox and Xbox 360 games for its current consoles, which are expected to become available to Series X owners at launch. Many of titles have had their graphics polished up, too.
Microsoft has also confirmed that older controllers and accessories will be compatible with the Xbox Series X (and, in most cases, vice-versa).
Sony has been a little more tight-lipped but we do know that you'll be able to play PS4 games on the PS5, meaning those with a PS4 won't have to start their library from scratch.
One online report suggests that the PlayStation 5 will be able to act as an emulator for PS4, PS3, PS2, and even original PlayStation games but we’ll have to wait to see how much truth there is in that. Fingers crossed.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: controller
There's not a lot of detail on the new PS5 wireless DualShock controller but PlayStation has said that haptic feedback will replace the old 'rumble' technology. According to PlayStation boss Jim Ryan: 'crashing into a wall in a race car will feels much different than making a tackle on the football field".
More interestingly the PS5 controller will feature 'adaptive' L1 and R2 triggers. Developers will be able to program the resistance of these triggers, so you can 'feel' the sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or firing heavy artillery. It should add an extra layer of realism to your Call of Duty binges.
The Xbox Series X also has some new tricks up its sleeve. It comes with a new controller that features a hybrid D-pad, haptic feedback and lower latency. And following in the footsteps of Sony and Nintendo, Xbox has added a 'share' button for sending screenshots to friends.
Finally, there's a rumour that the PS5 controller will feature a tiny screen for smartphone notifications. We think that's unlikely given that it would drain the battery faster. There may well be a microphone for voice commands, according to a leaked patent sketch.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: video quality
Both consoles will produce 8K visuals and support 8K gaming at a frame rate of 120fps. But what about video quality and 4K Blu-ray playback?
The good news is that both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will boast optical disc drives. Sony has already confirmed that the PS5 will play 4K Blu-rays and, while Microsoft hasn't said the same of the Xbox Series X, we expect it to be a formality.
As for video quality, both machines are capable of screening 4K at 60fps and feature similar chipsets, so both camps should deliver impressive performance. However, we'll be testing the picture quality of both at the earliest opportunity.
It should be a revealing comparison – watch this space.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: sound quality
As it stands today Microsoft has a significant edge over Sony when it comes to gaming audio. The current Xbox One consoles features Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for gaming, while Sony's PS4 consoles are limited to standard surround sound.
Will the launch of the PS5 level the playing field? There's no official word on which audio formats will be supported by either the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but both are rumoured to support Dolby Atmos for gaming and movies.
Indeed, PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny has promised that the PS5 will become the 'gold standard' in gaming audio, and that a new 3D audio engine will deliver more immersive sound without extra hardware. Does that mean the PS5 will be compatible with Sony's 360 Reality Audio format? Quite possibly. We've already seen how keen Sony is to get 360 into a host of different products, including even the Sony Vision-S car at CES 2020.
Microsoft's Xbox One consoles already feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio for gaming, so it's likely the Xbox Series X will follow suit. Currently, Xbox console owners must download and pay an additional fee for the Dolby app if they want to experience Atmos in their home cinema systems and with headphones. With any luck, the Xbox Series X will support Dolby straight out of the box.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: games
With the PS5 and the Xbox Series X offering a slew of mouth-watering launch titles, choosing which console deserves a place under your TV could be tricky.
Microsoft has already announced its first blockbuster title: Halo: Infinite. We're yet to see Master Chief's latest exploits running on a Series X but, as with previous Xbox console launches, we'd expect the new Halo to showcase the Series X's lightning-fast performance.
Microsoft has shown off an exclusive title called Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, the sequel to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. If the photo-realistic graphics are anything to go by, it should be a visual treat. As we get closer to launch, expect more big-hitting titles to trickle out, including the likes of Forza and Minecraft.
Sony has been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to launch titles but a number of developers have announced games for the PS5. Action RPG Godfall, created by the studio behind Borderlands, looks like a promising hack 'n' slash mixed with a touch of Destiny.
Ubisoft's hotly-anticipated Watch Dogs: Legion was originally due to launch on the PS4 in Spring 2020 but is now being held back for the launch of the PS5. The same goes for Gods and Monsters. Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Quarantine has also been delayed and is expected to be confirmed for the PS5 soon.
Feudal Japanese adventure Ghost of Tsushima is also being tipped as a headline PS5 exclusive, while Bluepoint Studios – best known for remastering classics games such as Metal Gear Solid – is developing an untitled PS5 game.
A slew of two-console PS4 and PS5 games are in the pipeline, too. Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding, for example, has already launched on the PS4 but is expected to grace the PS5.
Talking of PS4, those hoping to see a futuristic Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077 will have to wait until September. "Night City is massive - full of stories, content and places to visit, but due to the sheer scale and complexity of it all, we need more time to finish playtesting, fixing and polishing," said developer CD Projekt Red. The hotly-anticipated role-player, first announced in 2012, has been designed with the PS4 and Xbox One in mind but is expected to make the leap to PS5 and Series X.
There should be plenty more blockbusting announcements in the coming months, including major PS5 titles such as Grand Theft Auto 6, a new Gran Turismo, Gods of War, Horizon Zero Dawn and Final Fantasy.
So, plenty of choice in both camps. Still torn? The new Call of Duty and FIFA titles are expected to hit both consoles.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: verdict
The console war between Sony and Microsoft is set to reach new heights in 2020 with the launch of new high-powered hardware. Both consoles will launch with a epic line-up of games and, if you're lucky enough to own an 8K TV, we're hoping they both serve up a truly epic 8K gaming experience.
Which machine is better? That really depends on whether you've built up a PlayStation or Xbox library, as well as the final feature counts. Until Sony and Microsoft reveal all, we'll stay firmly on the fence.
Either way, 2020 is set to be a blistering year for console gaming.