The final frontier.
These are the chronicles of the next generation of console wars.
The continuing mission?
To accurately compare two pieces of unreleased hardware against each other.
To seek out console fanboys and show them they have no clue what they’re talking about.
To boldy blog what no man has blogged before.
Long ago, in an age long forgotten (the early 90s), the war for console superiority began. Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo fanboys would meet in the deserted basements of their families home and hotly debate which console was superior until the mother of the household, Karen, shouted from the stairs to “stop fighting and go play outside”.
Disclaimer: Karen was a bitch.
Flashforward now almost three decades and those exact same kids are now in their 30s working at places like IGN and Gamesradar, still arguing about which console is best. It’s actually kinda funny when you think about it. These people (myself included) have literally dedicated their entire lives toward the goal of proving that they are right. And believe me, there isn’t a hotter debate in the entire world than two die-hard console fanboys arguing about why one console is superior over another.
So now that the PS5 has officially been announced, where does that leave us? What’s the status of the current console war?
Well let’s break it down.
Let’s start with the visual comparison. On one side, you’ve got the big black box of doom. It’s a relatively safe design, looks very much like a small PC, and has a weird glowing green light shining from the top. Is there really anything wrong with the aesthetic of the Xbox Series X? No not really. It’s just kinda “eh”. The PS5 on the other than looks like a futuristic 2077…router. It looks like a router. I like the color scheme; as many have pointed out, it has a very stormtrooper vibe. But the rest of the design just isn’t anything to swoon over. I joked on Twitter about how I was disappointed that “floating sphere console” wasn’t the winner, but seriously, there’s a lot of fanmade designs that looked 100 times better than the final product. But hey, it’s over. The design is what it is, and I think Xbox kinda won this round by taking the safe route.
Xbox 1, PS 0
Now onto the controller. Personally, I think the whole “controller debate” boils down to which thumbstick design you prefer: offset (Xbox) or inline (PS). There’s other things to consider of course if you’re super nerdy; the dome design of the buttons on Xbox vs the flat buttons on PS, the trigger pressures, the middle buttons, etc. But at the end of the day, nothing is going to piss you off more than using a thumbstick layout that you are comfortable with. Personally, I think the Xbox Pro 2 controller is the best controller ever made, but I’m sure there are many PS boys that hate that controller and prefer a Scuf PS4 controller. So yea, this is a tie for me. Give em both a point.
Xbox 2, PS 1
Now we get into the meat of these two machines: the specs. The nerd shit. The stuff that you need a nerd translator to help explain. The CPU is relatively the same, as is the memory. But what people are focusing in on right now is the GPU (graphics card) and the SSDs (solid state drives aka the device’s internal storage).
Let’s start with a brief rant about how fucking meaningless teraflops are as a measuring stick of graphic card quality. When people talk about car engines, they talk about cylinders, horsepower, torque, and a whole bunch of other shit that I don’t care about because I’m not a car nerd, I’m a gaming nerd. Well, teraflops are the “horsepower” of graphics cards: it’s a flex that you literally will not give a fuck about when you’re actually playing the game. It’s like if owners of a Dodge Challenger and a Ford Mustang got into a heated debate about which car was better because one has .5 horsepower more than the other. What’s going to end up happening? Both guys are going to get into their cars and race on the freeway like a bunch of assholes. And at the end of the day, the better driver is most likely going to win regardless of the difference in horsepower.
That’s how you need to think about this “teraflops” nonsense. It’s a great marketing tactic by Xbox, but I’m expecting both graphics cards to perform similarly. In fact, I don’t even think the cards themselves are going to matter. As Tim Soret (Game Director for The Last Night) said this morning, it’s less about computing power now and more about individual studios.
So for graphics cards (like many of the other specs) it’s a tie.
Xbox 3, PS 2
What I’m really paying attention to is all the news reports about how the SSD for the PS5 is revolutionary for the future of gaming. Everyone and their mom have been talking about how next-gen games are going to have no loading screens, boot up immediately, etc. More importantly, it’s supposed to help the game flow. We’ve all experienced the classic “helicopter ride in” or “slide between two walls” cutscenes. That’s how current-gen games hide the loading times of new areas. Well now, the SSD of the PS5 is so fast that the 20-30 seconds it took to load those textures and areas can now be done in less than one. That’s fucking huge. As games continue to become bigger with more texture files required to keep graphics up to date, being able to load GBs of data in less than a second will change gaming forever. Imagine high-speed chases or exploring open worlds with this new technology? All the pauses that game developers have added for almost a decade are going to be gone. And it already looks like some developers are ready to show this feature off..
From a spec standpoint, the PS5 is going to be able to do all of this twice as fast as the Xbox Series X (look at the IO Throughput speeds in the previous table). That is a very clear win for the PS5.
Xbox 3, PS 3
And that’s where we stand today. You didn’t think this was gonna end in a tie, did you? Well, it won’t. I haven’t even dove into what I think is the most important aspect of console wars: the games. So stay tuned here at PartyChat and on Twitter for my blog comparing the announced next-gen games for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 coming soon. There will be a VERY clear winner of that one.