PS5 vs Xbox Series X: Why I'm not buying the PlayStation 5

All of the reasons why the Xbox is the winner over the PlayStation 5 in at least one household.

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Image: Sony

The PlayStation 5 is out amidst much hype and may seem like the perfect addition to the holiday season gift buying rush. It looks like a decent product, but I'm going to be sticking with our Xbox Series X and PC gaming, which my three kids and I both heavily utilize. Let me explain why.

I want to state that I personally don't think there's anything wrong with the PS5, and the goal of this article is not to trash it as a gimmick or ripoff. I'm sure it's a fine gaming console, offering what looks like a diverse array of quality games. However, we have a saying in the IT realm: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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Specs for the PS5

  • CPU: Eight Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
  • GPU: AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU power: 10.28 TFLOPs
  • RAM: 16 GB GDDR6 RAM
  • Performance target: Target TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120fps
  • Storage: 825 GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5 GB/s uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/s compressed). Usable storage is 667.2 GB
  • Expandable storage: NVMe SSD slot
  • Backward compatibility: Most PS4 games and some PS3 and PS2 titles playable via PlayStation Now
  • Display Out: HDMI 2.1
  • Disc Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray

Comparing the PS5 to the Xbox Series X 

The two consoles are pretty similar, so there's no compelling new hardware to run at dazzling speeds compared to the Xbox Series X. In fact, the Xbox One X has more hard drive space than the PS5 (1 TB versus 825 GB), a (slightly) faster CPU, and has a more powerful Graphics Processing Unit, so we're better off staying put, performance-wise.

Additionally, we don't need the extra features, like a Blu-ray disc drive, as we've already got that covered.

PS5 availability is also a challenge--even if I chose to obtain one, I'd have a bit of an upward climb right now since bots, scammers, and scalpers are also competing with actual consumers to land one. I realize, at some point, availability will be more widespread, but as we buy devices online exclusively, I foresee shipping delays for some time to come.

In addition, the PS5 is too large for my entertainment center cabinet, measuring 15.4 x 4.1 x 10.2 inches. It's not that my cabinet couldn't accommodate it if it had the space, but it is already loaded with other devices such as our Xbox and related games, DVDs, and accessories.

Speaking of games, my kids are by and large sports addicts, so they play football, baseball, basketball, and hockey to the exclusion of all else (except for Fortnite). There's no point to rebuy these games again for the PS5, as they'll quite likely look and operate the exact same way. A football game is a football game, and the New England Patriots aren't likely to look or play any differently for us on the PS5 versus the Xbox.

There's also the fact Xbox has a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which permits access to dozens of games for Xbox, PC, and Android (of which I'm a huge fan), whereas Sony does not have a similarly compelling option. I could even switch playing a game on the Xbox to PC or vice versa, picking up where I left off. The Xbox also has a mobile gaming service option. which we have not tried, but is good to know can be available when our lengthy car trips to see relatives resume.

I am a devotee of Red Dead Redemption 2 (story mode and online) and the Just Cause games, which I play on PC, and these are compelling enough to warrant replay or discovering new features added online such as in Red Dead Redemption 2.

My PC's specs make it more than powerful enough to play the games I prefer; it's a Dell Precision T5600 with a quad-core Intel Xeon E5-2609 2.4 Ghz CPU, 64 GB of RAM, Windows 10 64-bit, and an 8 GB NVidia GeForce RTX 2070 video card which easily supports my dual 22" monitors.

There is also the matter of the controls used by the Xbox and on the PC. Once you've become familiar with controls, your muscle memory allows you to excel in the games.To be fair, the PS5 controller appears vastly similar in design to the Xbox controller, but once again, if there's no improvement, there's no reason to switch. 

I myself switched playing Red Dead Redemption 2 from the Xbox to PC because I vastly prefer PC gaming due to 40+ years of working with keyboards. I can honestly say that I'm twice as effective using a keyboard to control the game, and certain functions (like mounting a horse or jumping off a roof) are so automatic to me I couldn't even tell you which keys are involved. It may be tough to teach an old dog new tricks, but if the ones he does are working for him, then all is well.

Whatever your choice of a gaming system may be, I wish you luck in finding what you're looking for and hope that you enjoy the holiday season.

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