The stage is set for the next-gen console battle, as Sony and Microsoft face off in November with the release of the PlayStation 5, and the Xbox Series X and S.
If you want to join right from launch, now is the time to pick a side, as pre-orders are going live in anticipation of increased demand.
The Green Corner: Xbox, Game Pass and Halo Infinite
On November 10, 2020, two new Xbox consoles are launched worldwide: the X-series and the S-series. The X-series ($ 499.99) is an ultra-HD powerhouse, targeting native 4K resolution. The S series ($ 299.99) is aiming for a lower resolution of 1440p (half of 4K) and also forgoes a disc drive.
Both devices will target a baseline of 60 frames per second. Microsoft claims that both will hit 120 fps on titles like Halo Infinite and Gears 5. Without seeing the hardware in action, however, we’ll just have to take Microsoft’s word (especially when it comes to the S-series).
Buying a console at launch can often seem like a gross deal. Few titles are available, and those that tend to be iterative sports titles or underwhelming tech demos. Microsoft plans to resolve this issue with Game Pass, providing a library of over 100 titles that people can play right out of the box. Most of these titles are already available on the latest generation systems.
Game Pass doesn’t skimp on quality either. Proprietary titles, like Forza Horizon 4, Minecraft, and Sea of Thieves (along with all Halo games), will be available at launch. There is also a rotating selection of decent third-party titles. As of this writing, Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter: World, and Wasteland 3 are all available.
Microsoft also announced its partnership with Electronic Arts to bring EA Play to Game Pass for the holidays. That means you’ll get all of Microsoft’s exclusives, EA’s proprietary titles, and a rotating line of third-party games with your subscription.
The biggest disappointment for many who waited for the release of next-gen Xbox consoles was the news that Halo Infinite was being delayed until 2021. It was Microsoft’s killer title to install consoles in living rooms for the holidays. in 2020. The new consoles will launch now without any big-budget exclusives and rely heavily on Game Pass and future promises, instead.
Fortunately, this future looks bright. Below are some of the exclusive Xbox exclusives from Microsoft:
A new game of Fable.
The next generation Forza Motorsport title.
A new game from Rare called Everwild.
Obsidian Entertainment’s first foray into the open-world fantasy RPG genre, Avowed.
There are more “Timed Exclusives” and “Xbox Console Debut” coming next year. These include a follow-up to the legendary mid-2000s PC shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the Scorn horror show inspired by Geiger and Hellblade II – the next chapter in Ninja Theory’s Senua saga.
How much does it cost?
The Xbox Series X will set you back $ 499.99, while the S Series will cost $ 299.99. Game Pass Ultimate, which includes Xbox Live Gold (required for online play) and PC Game Pass access costs $ 14.99 per month, but you get your first month for $ 1.
If you’d rather just pay for a standard Game Pass console, the price is $ 9.99 per month. However, you’ll also need Xbox Live Gold to play online, which costs an additional $ 9.99 per month ($ 24.99 per quarter). Game Pass Ultimate is by far the best value for money, with over 100 games (even more on PC) and online play.
Microsoft also offers the Xbox Series X and Series S as part of their All Access plan. For $ 34.99 (Series X) or $ 24.99 (Series S) per month, you can get an Xbox console with Game Pass Ultimate. After two years, the console is yours and you can extend the Game Pass if you wish. This option is slightly cheaper than purchasing each console and a Game Pass Ultimate membership.
In addition to the hardware, a game can cost you up to $ 70 for this generation. Some publishers have already committed to raising the price by $ 10 from the last generation’s $ 60.
For the best possible savings, we recommend that you avoid the fully digital S series. Then you can still buy physical versions anywhere, including the second-hand market.
What about backward compatibility?
Microsoft has confirmed that the X and S series will be fully backward compatible with the original Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox. The X series will play titles that have been enhanced for 4K, while the S series will receive its own upgraded versions.
For maximum backward compatibility, be sure to take an X series with a disc drive so you can play any of your old discs. Digital titles will also work whether you already have them in your library or buy them in the store.
The Blue Corner: PlayStation, PS Plus Collection and Spider-Man
Sony will also launch two consoles in November: the PlayStation 5 ($ 499.99) and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition ($ 399.99). Both will launch on the same day, but the release is phased in two waves. The consoles will launch on November 12 in the United States, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, and on November 19 in Europe and the rest of the world.
Apart from the price, the only difference between the two devices is the presence of a physical disk drive. If you want the best deals possible, or if you also want to use your PS5 as a Blu-ray player, the more expensive console is probably the best option.
Sony’s first “exclusive” first game on PS5 will be Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a follow-up to the critically acclaimed Spider-Man in 2018. While exclusive to Sony consoles, the game will also be launch simultaneously on PS4.
You can expect a game that has a shorter range, with Sony also promising a more compact experience, reminiscent of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The game’s launch window is “Vacation 2020,” which means it may not be quite ready for the November 12 launch.
The PlayStation 5 includes a pack-in game called Astro’s Playroom. Following the PSVR Astro Bot Rescue mission, the game guides new players through the PlayStation 5’s two-way controller. This should provide a fun distraction for new owners.
Sony’s response to Game Pass is Playstation plus collection. It is required to play online and provides members with additional benefits, such as free monthly games and discounts. On PS5, members will also be able to download 18 of what Sony calls “generation defining” PS4 games.
This list includes proprietary titles, such as God of War, Uncharted 4, and Days Gone. There are also a handful of third-party titles, such as Battlefield 1, Fallout 4, Persona 5, and Final Fantasy XV. That’s a far cry from the over 100 games available on Game Pass, especially since titles like Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn are strangely absent.
As for proprietary exclusives, Sony’s upcoming lineup includes Horizon Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and the highly anticipated Demon’s Souls remake. Final Fantasy XVI will be a PlayStation-console exclusive, and a 2018 God of War follow-up has also been teased for 2021.
How much will it cost me?
The PlayStation 5 will cost $ 499.99 or $ 399.99 for the all-digital edition. PlayStation Plus is required for online play and will now provide access to a game collection for $ 9.99 per month or $ 59.99 per year. Sony has yet to announce a monthly payment plan that competes with Xbox All Access.
Like Xbox titles, some PlayStation 5 games will also cost $ 70 this generation. However, you can still save money by shopping or buying used copies if you buy the console with a physical disk drive.
What about backward compatibility?
Sony has announced that the PlayStation 5 will be 99% compatible with PlayStation 4 titles. The company also confirmed that the “Top 100” PS4 games have been tested and are working on the new console. However, the company has refrained from claiming global compatibility.
Unfortunately, neither of the two PS5 consoles will be compatible with titles created for Sony pre-PS4 consoles, at least not at launch.
Having trouble choosing?
If you’re struggling to choose which console you want, you can always wait. Alternatively, if you have cash, you can buy both. For most people, the decision will be guided by the exclusives available on both platforms. Unfortunately, at launch, these games are very thin in the field.
It’s no secret that Sony exclusives have always been excellent throughout the life of the PS4, with Microsoft somewhat lacking in this department. However, all of that could change this generation, with big-name studios like Obsidian Entertainment and Double Fine joining Microsoft as proprietary developers.
If neither of the two consoles catches your interest, it’s probably best to wait. If you don’t have an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, those consoles will be heading for a significant price drop.
Of course, you can also buy neither nor create your own gaming PC, instead.