At this point, we have a solid idea of the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s specs, controllers and defining features. While it’s too early to say which system will ultimately offer a better experience overall, it’s probably time to start thinking about which console you’d like to buy. And I’m thinking about the PS5.
I stand by my assertion that a new console generation may not be necessary, and I’d like to wait and see how the streaming and PC gaming spaces evolve before I plunk down $500 or more for yet another big black box beneath my TV. But if I had to pick just one new console — no hedging, no conditionals, no prolonged internal debate — which one would it be? And I came down on the side of the PS5 instantly. The reason why is simple, and it boils down to game exclusivity.
This past console generation, Sony was consistently better about providing exclusive titles. This isn’t actually a knock against Microsoft; on the contrary, I respect that Microsoft opened up its exclusives to PC gamers. I wish that Sony would follow its lead. But the fact is, the PS4 is where you have to go if you want to play titles like God of War (2018), Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man — the list goes on. And I have every expectation that the PS5 will follow suit.
Why PS5 will beat Xbox Series X on exclusives
We could debate all day about the merits of having exclusive titles versus making everything multiplatform. But like Voltaire’s Candide, we have to make peace with living in the real world. And in the real world, Microsoft has made almost every Xbox-exclusive title available on PC as well. Sony has not done the same for PlayStation exclusives, and as far as I know, has no plans to.
In practical terms, this means that any Xbox Series X exclusive that I might want to play, I’ll be able to do so on PC. I understand that not everyone has a gaming PC, but I do, and the idea of buying a console to access the exact same library is, to me, ludicrous. An Xbox Series X might run games better than my admittedly old system, but I could simply take the $500 or so that a new console would cost and invest in new PC components.
I’m also not a huge fan of either Halo or Gears of War, so take that for what it’s worth. I do, however, love games from Obsidian and inXile, both owned by Microsoft. I will almost definitely purchase Microsoft exclusive games in the next few years; they’ll just be on PC.
Compare and contrast to the PS4, where exclusives generally stay put. Horizon Zero Dawn will come to PCs this summer, but aside from that, I can’t think of a single big PS4 exclusive that has gone multiplatform. Many exclusive PS3 and PS4 games are available to stream on PlayStation Now, of course, which you can use on a PC. But their availability comes and goes, so it’s not really the same as owning a game.
Speaking only for myself, I thought God of War (2018) was one of the very best games of the last decade, and I want to buy the system that can play its sequel. I want to play the next Spider-Man, the next Uncharted, the next Ratchet & Clank (please, please, please do not let this series die an ignominious death, Sony) and so forth. If I wait long enough, maybe they’ll be on PlayStation Now — and maybe they won’t. Or maybe they won’t be available when I have time to play. Buying a PS5, at present, seems like the only surefire way to play these exclusive titles. If that changes, so will my views on buying a PS5.
Do specs matter?
I considered discussing how the PS5’s specs stack up to the Xbox Series X’s, but I’ve already covered that in my PS5 vs. Xbox Series X face-off. The bottom line is that the Xbox Series X’s specs look more powerful, and that’s definitely a feather in Microsoft’s cap. But the fundamental question here isn’t, “Which console will run games at a better clip?” It’s, “Which console has the games that I want to play?” For me, at least, it’s the PS5.
(If you want to know how much processing power means to the average consumer, by the way, take a look at which console is currently sold out of what seems like every store in the entire world. It’s not the PS4 or the Xbox One.)
It’s worth noting that I can make this decision because of my gaming PC. Because of Microsoft’s commitment to cross-platform play, I won’t have to miss out on any games if I skip the Xbox Series X. This doesn’t apply to everyone.
So does this mean that I recommend everyone go out and pre-order a PS5 the second they become available? Not really. Heck, I’m not going to. But at the moment, Sony’s console seems like the better bet for gamers who want exclusive titles, particularly if they already have access to a gaming PC. If you want solid buying advice, mine is, as always, is to wait and see what reviewers say once the product launches.