After seven years, millions of consoles sold, and a generation of users playing, Sony and Microsoft are finally releasing the next version of their Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (and Series S) now on sale, we have a rundown of all the consoles if you weren’t sure that to buy.
Xbox Series S: The cost is the king
While the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have 4K capability, the diminutive Xbox Series S is designed to bring next-gen gaming to your current, a non-4K setup which could be thought of an entry level step into next-gen.
The Xbox Series X is great if you only have a 1080p TV, but can also display games at a slightly higher 1440p resolution should you be using something like a game-friendly computer monitor. If you’re playing on a 4K TV, the Series S will “upscale” the games, letting games play in what amounts to a simulation of real 4K resolution (some games, like Ori and the Will of the Wisp, will be displayed in native 4K)—but don’t expect it to look particularly extravagant.
Even if the Xbox Series S can’t do true 4K gaming, it does stream movies in native 4K, but the lack of a disc drive means you won’t be playing any Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies as you could with the Xbox Series X, you will also not be able to purchase physical games.
That also means you may be stung by its smaller 512GB internal storage, though that’s expandable with a 1TB storage option (like a camera memory card, but for your Xbox).
The Xbox Series X: Graphically great
Where the Xbox Series S brings next-gen gaming to lower-resolution screens, the Xbox Series X is built for gamers who want to see every pixel pop on their 4K display and purchase games with little hassle, be they physical or digital versions.
The Xbox Series X plays games at their native 4K resolution, can run certain titles at 120 frames per second, and includes an Ultra HD Blu-Ray drive, which the cheaper Series S lacks. Its 1TB of storage, which is also expandable will make it easier with storing games.
Both of these consoles come with payment nods towards the game changing Game Pass system, which has hundreds of games downloadable at a low monthly price.
Another selling point could be that both S/X are backwards compatible with almost every native Xbox One game, a large chunk of 360 games (568) and a few original games. The Xbox One games that won’t work are the ones that require Kinect, because it’s no longer supported.
PlayStation 5: The best exclusive games
Available in two versions, a digital-only version and a model with a built-in Ultra HD Blu-Ray drive, Sony’s PlayStation 5 carries on from last gen with a focus on exclusivity—a strategy that helped Sony sell twice as many consoles as rival Microsoft.
Titles like Spider-Man: Miles Morales are already available, and upcoming exclusives like the remastered Demon Souls and Rachet and Clank: Rift Apart, both set to hit the PS5 within the next year.
All PS5 games are presented in 4K resolution, and load quickly thanks to the internal 1TB SSD (expandable with a Sony-approved SSD expansion card).
There’s also the new DualSense controller, which features a familiar layout for PlayStation owners while adding new features like pressure-sensitive triggers able to recreate the feeling of different actions like shooting.
While there aren’t many games available at launch, the PlayStation 5 is backwards-compatible with the PS4 library. There’s also Sony’s PlayStation Now game streaming service, letting you play hundreds of PS2, PS3, and PS4 games on your PlayStation 5 or PC.
Get the Xbox Series S if: You don’t care about being on the cutting edge of gaming, and just want a console that’ll get you access to hundreds of games and 4K movies without breaking the bank; it’s also a great lower-cost option for parents shopping for their young kids.
Get the Xbox Series X if: You want a powerful console that can fully take advantage of your 4K TV and home theatre setup, and an Ultra HD Blu-Ray player for your growing library of physical media. Paired with a service like Game Pass Ultimate, the Xbox Series X is the console for older gamers with fond memories of their first Xbox.
Get the PlayStation 5 if: You’re already invested in Sony’s library of exclusive games on the PlayStation 4, and want to play games with a more advanced controller that immerses you in the action, or if the wide range of exclusives catches your eye.