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Which console is right for you?

The year 2020 is coming to a close. Sony and Microsoft both have new consoles to fit under Christmas trees and T.V.s this holiday season. Pre-orders for both of the consoles are happening, and both are heavy contenders. The PlayStation 5 is coming in with a promise of great first party games, and new tech to push them forward. X-Box Series X is relying on the Game Pass service, and pushing hardware to new limits for a console. Is it even the right time for a new console for you?

The PlayStation 5 is the successor to the PlayStation 4, or PS4 for short. With a very rich library, and solid first party support, the PS4 made a great solid choice for gaming. PS4 was the first console to use HDR. It is the console to bring VR, or Virtual Reality Headsets to home consoles. The DualShock 4 controller was Sony's first true redesign of the shape of the controller they coined all the way back on the PS1. Sony was the first console manufacturer to release a half step console called the PS4 Pro. It had the ability to push games to 4k resolution, and beefier components to make newer games run smoother. The ability to switch between performance and visuals made some games run smoother, and at a better frame rate. The PS4 sold over 110 million consoles to date. It only comes second in home console sales to the PS2s staggering 155 million sold.

The PlayStation 5 comes with the ability to play the PS4 catalog of games. It will also bring support for the PSVR headset and plans are stated to bring a new PS5 VR headset sometime in the future. They Redesigned the controller once more, and are calling it the DualSense controller. Haptic feedback, and the ability to add tension to the buttons and triggers is meant to give this more emersion into the game. The pull of the trigger on the controller will have weight when you pull back a bow in a game. This will give you more of a richer gaming experience. The Tempest Engine Sony has designed for a complete audio experience you will get no place else. They have crafted this console as a high art to play your next generation of gaming. The 825 gig Hard Drive is a solid state. Graphically the PS5 pushes a 10.28 T-FLOPs. With the ability to load games at lightning speeds with an I/O throughput of 5.5 GB/s, you won't be waiting long to jump into the action. The 4k resolution and 120 frames per second tech is here. Sony has shown a very amazing launch line-up so far with Spider-Man Miles Morales, Bugsnax, Demon Souls, Sackboy, Astro's Playroom, Godfall, and other third party titles like Call of Duty: Cold War, Assassins Creed Valhalla, and Cyberpunk 2077. Sony introduces the PlayStation plus collection this fall. This will introduce a good selection of PS4 titles to the PS5 plus library. The PlayStation 5 releases this on November 12th. Two versions are to be released. The Digital Version is set to release at a $399 price point. The PS5 Disc-based console price is set to $499. Both consoles are equal in power, and gaming functionality will be the same. The only difference between the two is the addition of the Disc Drive on the $499 version. Playstation 5 pre-orders as the time of this writing are sold out, and potentially till 2021. Major chains like Wal-Mart and Amazon have both notified current pre-order customers they may have to wait till 2021 to get their fulfillment.

Microsoft is kicking this Series console line-up after the X-Box One console. X-Box really found it's strength in the 360 console generation. That all changed when the One console launched after the 2013 E3 announcements. X-Box's message at E3 was a bit clouded and didn't really paint the picture that gamers really wanted. The initial launch of the X-Box One was rocky with it being the more expensive console, due to the Kinect 2.0 pack in. It was always compared to the competition and fell short being a harder console to develop for vs. the PS4. Microsoft learned it made mistakes this generation and launched a half step console as well, the X-Box One X. They discontinued manufacturing the original X-Box One and went with the Xbox One S. It was a smaller form, and did away with the massive power brick. The One X, and One S have a UHD drive for 4k Blu-Rays, and let them both display in 4k HDR. The One X was capable of running games in 4k. It has options to run at either high resolution or higher frame rate via system settings. X-Box's message changed from the beginning of the console launch. Microsoft placed Phil Spencer as the head of the X-Box division. Xbox has been acquiring studios for development of games, and introduced Game Pass. Both of these will play a strong part in X-Box future.

The X-Box Series S/X consoles are trying to be a console of the future and the past. They will include the ability to play X-Box original, 360, and One console games. The X-Box 360, and original X-Box games list isn't the complete library from those consoles. The New series X/S controller doesn't stray far from the last gen form, and adds the center share button with a slightly small form factor. Features like quick resume for up to 4 games, and 2.4GB/s throughput make this an instant jump in to any game. Microsoft has developed two truly different consoles this coming gen. The Series S is a console capable of rendering games at 1440p with 120fps at mind. It comes equipped with a 512 GB SSD. Ray-tracing included, it pushes 4T-Flops of performance. This is a Digital console and no disc drive is included. The Series X renders games at native 4k, and possibly up to 8k. 120fps is here as well. It comes equipped with a 1TB SSD, Ray-Tracing, and 12.15 TFLOPs. The Series S is priced at $299 and Series X at $499. Microsoft's latest acquisition of ZeniMax Studios really made a big leap for their first party titles. ZeniMax holds such big game titles as the Elder Scrolls Series, Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake, Evil Within, Dishonored, and Prey. With Halo getting delayed, everyone seemed to lose sight of it with this latest promise for big games. Both X-Box series consoles are currently sold out of pre-orders, but they have stated they are working hard to produce more units before the holiday rush.

Which console is right for you? That question really remains with the consumer to answer. If you are already in one of these ecosystems than the choice should be clear. Both of these consoles are a great choice, and no doubt will give you a great gaming experience. I find it is more of choice between the console options than anything else. Do you still buy discs and trade games in? Do you loan or rent games? Are you completely digital to the point where a disc drive is useless? These are all questions to decide which one is right for you. Which ever console you choose I don't think there is a wrong answer. All of them have very strong suits. In all my years of playing video games it has never felt this close since the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive fought for space under your T.V........ I chose both!

Mark Shreve II

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