It's a Guy Thing

Magic Number 5

With November 2020 set for the start of the next console wars between heavy hitters Sony and Microsoft, it’s never been a better time to be a gamer. Sony absolutely dominated the previous generation, with superior first-party titles and just a ton of consoles sold. But can the Japanese juggernaut keep that momentum going into the next generation? Or do we have another PS3 disaster on our hands?

Sleek, Stylish, Slick

Off the bat, the new PlayStation looks fantastic with its aesthetically pleasing design and quite unique form, which sets it apart from the rather dull looking fridge like build of the new Xbox. Sony’s DualShock controllers have generally kept a similar design from generation to generation, but the PS5’s new DualSense controller is the first PlayStation controller that doesn’t look anything like the original. While the DualSense does have the basic layout PlayStation fans are familiar with, the whole shape of the DualSense is new, with pointer handles and broader lines, and the controller itself has a striking two-tone design. Traditional rumble has been replaced with haptic feedback, which should give you different levels of feedback depending on what’s happening in your game. The controller also has “adaptive triggers” that can simulate different resistances, which could be used to do things like add tension when you’re pulling back a bow. One of the biggest advancements the new PS5 will offer though is its blisteringly fast new SSD storage. It has 825GB of storage and 5.5GB/s of throughput, which could be fast enough to let game developers build levels without having to mask levels loading in the background. The Xbox Series X will also have a custom SSD, one with a full 1TB of NVMe storage but a lesser throughput of 2.4GB/s. That could wind up meaning the Xbox Series X has slower loading times than the PS5. The new SSD also allows for textures to load faster, so say goodbye to those annoying pop-ups in distance that plagued previous console generations. The PS5 supports up to 8K output and promises 4K graphics at up to a 120Hz refresh rate. The console is powered by a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU and a custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based GPU that will provide 10.28 teraflops of raw graphical power. The PS5 also uses variable frequencies on both the PS5’s CPU and GPU, which could theoretically push the graphics to run slightly faster than normal when the CPU isn’t running at peak. What this all means really is that games will look better, play better, and offer gamers a unique experience with upcoming titles.

Games from the Future?

Looking back at the past, console wars have always been won not by the tech specs but by the games you can play and that is one area Sony will be focusing on heavily. The biggest reason the PS4 dominated was because of the excellent first-party offerings such as God of War, Uncharted, and Last of Us. With the PS5 launch titles, Sony is already bringing out the big guns with the highly anticipated Dark Soul remaster being an absolute highlight. There will also be a new stand-alone follow-up to the incredibly successful Spider-Man game called Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales which looks absolutely stunning on the new hardware. Plus with some of the biggest Sony first-party titles announced for 2021, including a new God of War and Horizon Zero dawn sequel, the Playstation 5 looks set to deliver amazing games only available on the Sony console. Yet the biggest news was the announcement of backwards compatibility with PS4 titles, a massive announcement from Sony as the Xbox has been mastering the dark arts of backwards compatible games for years now. It was always an area Sony was heavily criticized for but it looks like the Japanese console giant finally listened to their fans. If it will go to the level that Xbox has, is yet to be seen as the Xbox offers older games but at higher frame rates and improved visual quality. The dream for any gamer would be to play Bloodborne in 4K at 60fps, but we will have to wait and see if Sony fully delivers on this. The PlayStation Plus Collection is also a new feature coming to PS Plus for the PS5. It will allow you to digitally download and play a number of popular PS4 titles from the moment of the PS5 launch. This means that you can play games like Persona 5 and God of War on the PS5 from the very first day of the console’s release. It’s very similar to the Xbox Game Pass when you think about it. Several titles have already been announced and more games will be added after the release of the PS5.

Let The Games Begin

Alongside the standard PS5, Sony is also releasing a PS5 Digital Edition, a disc-less version of the next-gen console. This solely digital console will boast the same specs as the standard PS5, just in a more streamlined package. The PS5 Digital Edition sees Sony moving with what’s increasingly becoming a physical-media-free hobby, banking on players to make use of digital downloads and streaming services rather than buying games or movies on disc-based hardware. It is also $100 cheaper than the standard version, so definitely an option for those looking to save a few bucks. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are coming in at the same price point, both offer incredibly powerful machines and the promise of brilliant and unique games exclusive to each console. This promises to be one of the most tightly contested console wars in ages, and as gamers, this is the best possible outcome.