The next generation of consoles is here, bringing us a total of four new systems from Sony and Microsoft. Each company released a standard new machine with all the bells and whistles you could hope for in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X while simultaneously launching less expensive consoles in the PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S. Many consumers are likely on the fence about which one to buy, and in this guide, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the differences between the PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series S.
While there’s a noticeable difference between each console in terms of specs and performance, each are the least expensive options from Sony and Microsoft — meaning potential buyers will likely want to grab them first, assuming they can find them across retailers. When spending lots of money on a new device — whether it’s a console or other piece of technology — it’s important to know which one suits your needs the best.
Here’s our breakdown of the PS5 Digital Edition vs. the Xbox Series S.
|PS5 Digital Edition||Xbox Series S|
|Dimensions||39cm x 9.2cm x 26cm||27.5cm x 6.5cm x 15.1cm|
|Weight||10.54 pounds||4.25 pounds|
|Color||Black and white||White|
|CPU||8-core, 3.5GHz Custom Zen 2||8-core, 3.6GHz, AMD Zen 2|
|GPU||36 CUs, 10.3 TFLOPS, 2.23GHz||20 CUs, 4 TFLOPS, 1.565GHz|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||10GB GDDR6|
|Storage||825GB Custom SSD||512GB NVME SSD|
|Optical drive||4K UHD Blu-ray drive||No, digital only|
|4K||Yes||1440p, scalable 4K|
|Ports||Includes USB and NVME slot||USB|
|Online subscription||PS Plus||Xbox Live Gold|
|Availability||November 12, 2020, in the U.S. (November 19 in other territories)||November 10, 2020|
|Digital Trends review||4.5/5||3/5|
It’s worth comparing the two machines, as both are digital only and offer an affordable way to jump into the next generation of gaming. We’ll get into a price comparison later on, but each of these systems serve as the lower-end model and don’t include all the features of the more expensive editions.
Spec-wise, it’s quite clear the
On the other hand, the Xbox Series S is a weaker machine, though it does also feature an eight-core CPU as part of the AMD line. As for its GPU, here’s where you’ll notice a major difference. It features 20 CUs running at 4 TFLOPS at 1.565GHz. Despite the lower specs, the Xbox Series S still supports
Aside from internal specs, it’s worth mentioning the major size difference between the two consoles. The Xbox Series S is one of the smallest, most lightweight systems we’ve seen in a while, coming in at 4.25 pounds — over half the size of the
Above, we threw out a lot of numbers that might not make sense to everyone. Here, we’ll go into what the numbers specifically mean and why they’re important. Ultimately, the
As shown in the chart above, the
What all of this amounts to is that the Xbox Series S is intended to output at 1440p at up to 120 frames per second (fps). On the flip side,
One thing that is a major factor when deciding between the two is memory — and sadly, neither system excels in this regard. Both feature a solid state drive (SSD), which is a major step toward faster load times and read speeds, but the sizes of the hard drives have already become a problem. The
SSDs are more efficient and allow for decompression of file sizes, though we haven’t noticed smaller installation sizes across games thus far. We expected to see file sizes go down with the launch of the new systems, but they still seem to mirror what we became used to with the previous generation — where some games were nearly 200GB in size. So, ultimately, these two hard drives won’t get you far, as you’ll need to delete and manage your games to make sure you’ve got room. Thankfully, games install onto each machine faster than ever, thanks to the power of the SSD, but it’s still an annoyance that needs a solution going forward.
And speaking of the power of the SSD, we should mention just how fast this hard drive performs. In 2019, a clip was shown of Marvel’s Spider-Man loading on a PS4 Pro versus the
Sony's official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) May 21, 2019
Even though the Xbox Series S has a lower read speed of 2.4GB per second when compared to the
Finally, we should mention expandable storage because that will likely play a part as time goes on. The Xbox Series S offers a much more elegant solution, allowing users to purchase 1TB storage cards to install games onto — running at the same speed as the system’s internal SSD. The problem is that these storage cards are almost as expensive as the system itself and will set you back $219.99.
As for the
Price will ultimately be one of the major deciding factors when choosing between the two devices. Thus far, we’ve made mention that the
To make it even more enticing, Microsoft has implemented the All Access program, which allows consumers to immediately grab a new Xbox system at launch while paying a monthly fee, just like you would with a new smartphone. For $24.99 per month (until the system is paid off), customers gain access to the Xbox Series S and two years of Game Pass Ultimate. This is huge and proves that Microsoft is absolutely committed to working with its audience to ensure everyone has a way to play. When it comes to price, the Xbox Series S is hard to pass up, even if it is inferior to the
The other factor when deciding which system to buy will come down to the games available across each console. Even though both offer mostly the same lineup of third-party releases like Cyberpunk 2077, Resident Evil Village, Fortnite, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, exclusive games often sway the opinions of potential buyers.
Continuing the momentum of the previous generation, the
Sadly, Microsoft’s marquee Halo Infinite was delayed past its initial date, which was supposed to come out alongside the Xbox Series X|S. We still have a new Forza Motorsport to look forward to, along with a new Fable, Avowed, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. It takes time to acquire studios and develop games, something Microsoft has doubled down on in recent years.
When it comes to exclusives across each platform, PlayStation games tend to lean toward single-player, narrative focused adventures, while Xbox games have been known more for their online functionality. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and who knows what Microsoft has up its sleeve in the coming years. It is certainly looking to pivot this idea with titles like Fable and Avowed.
Below are all the games confirmed to launch for the
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||Dragon Age 4||Hogwarts Legacy||NBA 2K21||Returnal|
|Astro’s Playroom||Dustborn||Hood: Outlaws and Legends||NBA Live 21||Riders Republic|
|Atomic Heart||Dying Light 2||Horizon: Forbidden West||No Man’s Sky||Sackboy: A Big Adventure|
|Battlefield 6||The Elder Scrolls Online||Hyper Scape||Observer: System Redux||Scarlet Nexus|
|Borderlands 3||Far Cry 6||Immortals: Fenyx Rising||Oddworld: Soulstorm||Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One|
|Bugsnax||FIFA 21||JETT: The Far Shore||Outriders||Solar Ash|
|Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War||Final Fantasy VII Remake||Just Dance 2021||Overcooked: All You Can Eat||Stray|
|Chivalry 2||Final Fantasy XVI||Kena: Bridge of Spirits||Outriders||Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League|
|Chorus||Fortnite||Little Devil Inside||Paradise Lost||TemTem|
|Control||Ghostwire: Tokyo||Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga||The Pathless||Tribes of Midgard|
|Cris Tales||Godfall||The Lord of the Rings: Gollum||Planet Coaster: Console Edition||Unknown 9: Awakening|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Goodbye Volcano High||Madden 21||Pragmata||Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2|
|Death Loop||Gotham Knights||Maneater||Project Athia||Vampire the Masquerade – Swansong|
|Demon’s Souls Remake||Gothic||Maquette||Quantum Error||Warframe|
|Destiny 2||Gran Turismo 7||Marvel’s Avengers||Rainbow Six: Quarantine||Watch Dogs: Legion|
|Destruction: All-Stars||Grand Theft Auto V||Marvel’s Spider-Man||Rainbow Six Siege||The Witcher III: Wild Hunt|
|Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition||Haven||Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales||Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart||Worms Rumble|
|Dirt 5||Heavenly Bodies||Metal: Hellsinger||Recompile||WRC 9|
|DOOM Eternal||Hitman III||Mortal Kombat 11||Resident Evil: Village||Yakuza: Like a Dragon|
And here are the games confirmed for
|12 Minutes||Dirt 5||The Gunk||Metal: Hellsinger||Shredders|
|Aragami 2||Doom Eternal||Halo Infinite||MicroMan||The Sims 5|
|ARK: Survival Evolved||Dragon Age 4||Hogwarts Legacy||Moonray||Song of Iron|
|As Dusk Falls||Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age||Gothic Remake||NBA 2K21||Soulborn|
|The Artful Escape||Dying Light 2||Grand Theft Auto 5||No Man’s Sky||S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2|
|The Ascent||Earthlock 2||Graven||Nth^0 Infinity Reborn||State of Decay 3|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||Echo Generation||Grounded||Observer (System Redux)||Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League|
|Avowed||Enlisted||The Gunk||Ori and the Will of the Wisps||Tetris Effect: Connected|
|Balan Wonderworld||The Elder Scrolls Online||Halo Infinite||The Outer Worlds||Tell Me Why|
|Battlefield 6||Evergate||Haven||Outriders||The Touryst|
|The Big Con||Everwild||Hitman 3||Overcooked: All You Can Eat||Tunic|
|Blood Bowl 3||Exo One||Hello Neighbor 2||Paradise Lost||Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2|
|Borderlands 3||Exomecha||Hood: Outlaws and Legends||Party Crasher Simulator||Unexplored 2 – The Wayfarer’s Legacy|
|Bright Memory 1.0||Fable||Hyper Scape||Phantasy Star Online 2||Unknown 9: Awakening|
|Bright Memory: Infinite||The Falconeer||Immortals: Fenyx Rising||Planet Coaster||Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War||Far Cry 6||In Sound Mind||Pragmata||Vampire the Masquerade – Swansong|
|Call of the Sea||FIFA 21||In Sound Mind||Psychonauts 2||Warframe|
|Chivalry 2||Fortnite||Lake||Psyhotel||Warhammer 40,000: Darktide|
|Chorus||Forza Horizon 4||Last Stop||Rainbow Six Quarantine||Watch Dogs Legion|
|Control||Forza Motorsport||Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga||Rainbow Six: Siege||Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood|
|Cris Tales||Gears 5||Little Nightmares 2||Resident Evil: Village||White Shadows|
|Crossfire X||Gears Tactics||The Lord of the Rings: Gollum||Sable||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Gotham Knights||Mad Streets||Scarlet Nexus||WRC 9|
|Cygni: All Guns Blazing||Gothic Remake||Madden NFL 21||Scorn||Yakuza: Like A Dragon|
|Demon Turf||Grand Theft Auto 5||Maneater||Sea of Thieves||Yes, Your Grace|
|Destiny 2||Graven||Marvel’s Avengers||The Second Extinction|
|Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition||Grounded||The Medium||Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2|
Thankfully, whether you go with the
The list of non-backward compatible PS4 games on
- Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
- TT Isle of Man — Ride on the Edge 2
- Just Deal with It!
- Shadow Complex Remastered
- Robinson: The Journey
- We Sing
- Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
- Joe’s Diner
Despite being able to play most of the PS4 games in your library, backward compatibility with the
For Xbox, backward compatibility works much better and covers many original Xbox games, Xbox 360, and Xbox One titles — spanning four generations of games total. Despite not having a robust lineup of exclusives just yet, you’ll have thousands upon thousands of possible games to play on your new system, whether you get an Xbox Series S or X. What’s interesting is that backward compatibility wasn’t always at the forefront for Microsoft.
As the company evolved last generation, it became more consumer-friendly and came up with clever solutions to backwards compatibility. Now, your new Xbox system is an all-encompassing machine that has the capability of playing a ton of games. Simply put in the disc and the system will either give you the digital edition of that game for free (so long as the disc remains in the system) or will allow you to play the game from the disc itself. It’s a simple, elegant solution that deserves praise.
One of the highlights of the
Also new is haptic feedback, which integrates an enhanced, more immersive form of vibrations. Much like the adaptive triggers, the degree of haptic feedback will change based on what you interact with. Walking on sand in-game will feel differently than walking on grass — and this is all thanks to the varying degree of vibrations within the controller.
The DualSense also features a longer battery life when compared to the PS4’s DualShock 4 and includes a Create button instead of the Share button. They function similarly, but the DualSense’s version has more bells and whistles, as you’d expect. It’s an overall improvement on its predecessor. You can purchase one for $69.99.
Xbox Series S controller
This means you’ll already be stocked up when you get your new system if you owned the previous iteration. Yet again, Microsoft is showing its consumer-friendly focus with this system, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. We do wish the controllers would outright ditch having to use AA batteries, but this can be mitigated by getting a charging cable and battery pack. The new Xbox controllers can be purchased for $59.99.
PlayStation Now and PS Plus
Here’s where things get even more interesting. With each system, you’ll have access to a couple of services that are intended to enhance the gaming experience. Continuing the trend of having to pay to play online, the
The PS Plus Collection is a new feature that launched with the
Aside from PS Plus, Sony also offers PlayStation Now, its subscription service that gives players access to hundreds of PlayStation games spanning from the PS2 and onward. Though, when compared to Xbox Game Pass (which we’ll get into below), the service seems to be lacking, particularly in that you cannot download PS3 games. Instead, you have to stream them, and, depending on your internet speeds, the game you want may be unplayable due to latency. Still, it’s a good service that is will likely continue to evolve with the
Xbox Game Pass and Games with Gold
One of (if not the) biggest strength of the
Microsoft still offers Xbox Live Gold, which works the same way as PS Plus. It, too, allows for online play and integrates Games with Gold, giving you “free” Xbox games each month at no additional cost. A yearly Gold subscription costs $59.99.
The icing on the cake is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This bundles Xbox Game Pass with Xbox Live Gold and gives you additional features like EA Play (Electronic Arts’ subscription service, featuring a robust lineup of games), Cloud Gaming, and other unique perks. The simplicity of bundling everything together is yet again a consumer-friendly, forward-thinking move on Microsoft’s part, making it easy for members to jump onboard the Xbox train. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $14.99 per month and is absolutely worth it, considering all the games you gain access to. You’ll very rarely need to buy another game again.
While the Xbox Series S and
Couple that with Xbox’s smart services like Xbox Game Pass (and even Xbox All Access), and you can get away with jumping into the next generation of gaming without spending a ton of money. This is especially true if you owned an Xbox One because most of your accessories are compatible with the Series X|S — again, saving you cash. And on top of that, you’ll have games like Halo Infinite, the new Forza, Fable, Avowed, and others to look forward to later on.
Those who want a more premium experience with better visuals, a truly next-gen-feeling controller, and access to a slew of games PlayStation is famous for, should go with the
Plus, if you’re a PlayStation fan, you likely love the company’s output of exclusive games like Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Gran Turismo, all of which have or will have sequels on
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