Brethren, we are gathered here today to judge the age-old rivalry: Xbox vs PlayStation. (Get off the toilet and throw on your cloak!)
The console wars between Xbox and PlayStation have gone on since the start of this century, and it has engaged us as much as #FreeBritney.
Do I enjoy the battle? Definitely. It’s the best thing after cheese.
Maybe you’re a rookie, wondering what console is a better investment. Or perhaps, you’re a console-head, like me, who would never pass on a gaming comparison. In this article, we’re going to dissect and compare the two biggest gaming console manufacturers.
Before I get into it, here is a disclaimer: I’m team PlayStation. This doesn’t mean I’ll glorify the PS for no reason. It does mean I want to answer your questions before you deduce favoritism.
However, I will shelve favorites and be as unbiased as possible. I’ve created a side-by-side comparison of the two consoles. Let’s start with Xbox:
Brief History of Xbox
Microsoft initially announced Xbox as DirectX box on May 12, 2002.
It was, however, in 2001 that Xbox made its first entrance. It is one of the many video consoles made and marketed by Microsoft. The original Xbox and its original controller, Duke, were on the chonky side. It wasn’t long before Microsoft replaced Duke with a slimmer Controller S.
In its first week, Microsoft sold 550,000 units. By December of the same year, a million more were sold.
When Halo 2 entered the mix, it was only up from there. Everyone and their Grandmas wanted a piece of Halo. Literally.
Xbox gained much more fans with the release of the Xbox 360. For the first time, Xbox became a serious competitor to PlayStation. The 360 looked pretty different from the original Xbox. Its base model was white, and it forwent the giant ‘X’ branding in favor of a modest ‘Xbox’ along the disc tray.
Down the line, a quarter of the consoles experienced hardware malfunction. Remember the “Red Ring of Death”? Yeah. It got its name from the three red lights that flash on the console, to indicate a problem. The problem was so common that we found a nickname for it.
Microsoft quickly announced an extended warranty to handle the issue. The internet followed suit, and gamers on YouTube poured in DIY fixes to almost any distressed Xbox console.
Xbox 360 S
After the Xbox 360 came the Xbox 360 S, and it was sleek. The console came with a new black and shiny exterior, perfect for gathering dust and fingerprints.
Microsoft seemed to devise it to make Xbox stans forget the Xbox 360’s many woes.
Some perks of the console were its built-in WiFi, extra USB ports, and SATA instead of its proprietary hard drives.
Xbox 360 E
Fourth in Xbox’s line was the 360 E. It was released in June 2013, just months before it released the next-gen Xbox One. The 360 E didn’t really do much in features, however, it made it up by being faster and cooler than earlier 360 consoles.
Trailing the 360 E, is the Xbox One. Microsoft has big dreams for the Xbox One. When it came out, it included a bunch of video streaming services.
What really wowed us was the ability to route the cable box through the console and watch live TV, even during games. Earlier models of the Xbox One also came coupled with a new version of the Kinect camera.
Here’s the not-so-fun part. The functionality was so good. The Xbox One didn’t deliver on Microsoft’s many entertainment promises. Microsoft would dash our hopes and move to change the Xbox One to a gaming-first console.
Trolls had an absolute field day with the new development.
Xbox One S
Up next is the Xbox One S. This console looks pretty mid at first glance, and it pretty much is (Just kidding).
It features some significant updates compared to the original model. We’ve got HDR support for games, HDR streaming services, 4K Blu-ray player, and support for 4K Blu-Ray streaming services.
The Xbox One S is a much smaller console compared to the Xbox One. Microsoft says it is 40 percent smaller, a break from its bulkier siblings.
Xbox One X
The Xbox One X aka “Project Scorpio” was released in November 2017. Microsoft intended for the console to bring HDR gaming to the Xbox One generation. It did far better than the Xbox One and the Xbox One S in terms of graphics, and it maintained the newly introduced compactness. Let’s call a spade, a spade.
Microsoft flopped on its promise to make the One X capable of VR.
PlayStation fans don’t care too much though. Microsoft made up for it in performance.
Xbox Series S and X
Microsoft’s latest consoles are the jointly released Series S and X. The consoles are very different. The Series X looks next-gen, while the Series X looks like Microsoft tweaked the Xbox One S and slapped on a GenZ Instagram handle.
The Series S manages a compact frame and offers 1440p resolutions. The console plays only digital games, no thanks to the absence of a disc drive. Microsoft cushioned the console’s issues by capping the price at nearly half of the Series X.
The Series X’s unique design is a gamer’s wet dream. Trolls have often compared its boxy frame to a common fridge. Do Xbox’s diehard fans care? Hardly. Xbox’s marketing chief Aaron Greenberg even manufactured fridges to match.
Polygon says “The Xbox Series X runs like an Xbox One swallowed a Lambo”
The console is so far the fastest and most powerful Xbox release.
Brief History of PlayStation
Sony first introduced the PlayStation in December 1994. By 2015, Sony had successfully sold 370 million consoles worldwide. Since its inception, Sony has given us five major PlayStation consoles:
The first PS dropped in December 1994, in Japan. It quickly broke the record for the first game console to ship more than 100 million units. The console featured a dual-speed CD-ROM drive, 1MB of video RAM, and a one-core CPU with 2MB of RAM. In today’s ramifications, that is suckier than Justin Bieber’s new single.
The original PlayStation played a crucial role in ushering 3D graphics in place of the usual 2D. It, unfortunately, didn’t feature an internal hard drive. You needed memory cards to save games, and those were a horrifying 128KB.
The first DualShock controller landed in 1997, meaning the console came with a controller that lacked thumb sticks and force-feedback tech.
As dead as it was, the original PlayStation featured Resident Evil, Tekken, Dead or Alive, Tomb Raider, and many more nostalgic games.
Sony released the PSOne in July 2000. It was way more compact than the original PS and it had a newer, rounder chassis.
The console proved to be compatible with all PlayStation software. It lacked one thing; a reset button.
Nobody cared though. During its first year, it outsold all other consoles on the market at the time. Sony supported the PSOne and its chonky predecessor until the PS3 came in 2006.
Sony launched the PS2 in Japan in March 2004. The console surpassed its competition with its huge library size alone. It offers over 2000 games. Impressively, the PS2 sold over 155 million units in just 12 years. I didn’t get one at the time (Thank you, Mom and Dad)
The Emotion engine CPU stood at 294.9MHz, and it features 32MB of system RAM and 4MB of video RAM. The PS2 was the first console to support DVDs and USB ports. The DVD feature enabled it to play DVD games, allowing gamers to acquire a vast collection of games.
In September of the same year, Sony introduced the PS Slimline. It was smaller, quieter, and fitted with a built-in Ethernet port.
The PS3 was released in November 2006. It spelled big competition for the Xbox 360. It launched at $600 and was the most pricey Sony console. I’ll argue that it was reasonably priced due to the Blu-Ray drive, and many Blu-Ray drives will dig holes into your pocket at launch.
Some of the PS3’s next-gen features were WiFi connectivity, a 20 GB internal hard drive, HDMI, and 1080p output. The PS3 gave us the Playstation Network, allowing us to use streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube.
Additionally, PS3 offered us a PlayStation Plus subscription service. The service allowed gamers access to offers and early discounts.
Remember Red Dead Redemption? The Last Of Us? The wireless DualShock 3 made the PS3 era iconic.
The PS4 came to North America in November 2013, and it sold a million units on its first day (insert drumroll).
It was the first time Sony released a console based on the x86-84 architecture. AMD even stayed that it was the most powerful Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) it has ever produced.
The PS4 prioritizes its interaction with other devices and services, like its ability to play off the console with other supported devices. It gave us the ability to stream gameplay online, with friends, or even remotely (Share Play)
With this console, Sony acknowledged customer preferences by not imposing strict digital rights management schemes as Microsoft did with the Xbox One.
I speak for PlayStation fans when I say we loved it. All of it.
In October 2019, the PS4 ranked second as the best-selling home game console of all time, following the PS2.
The PS5 is the literal definition of the good stuff. Released in November 2020, this console isn’t just big. It’s BIG BIG.
It is 15.4 inches tall, 10.24 inches deep, and 4.09 inches wide. It’s big enough for everyone to notice (winks horribly). The console’s size ensures coolness and quietness, so it isn’t just a contraption.
It comes with a stand that allows you to place it vertically or horizontally, although most of us wish it wasn’t there.
On the bright side, the PS5 offers us jet-speed load time, exclusive games, and a cool controller. The DualSense controller features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Guess what? There haven’t been any reports of hardware problems since launch.
Here’s my hot take:
I’ve only owned the two latest PlayStation consoles because my parents would rather eat burning coal than let me “…while away my youth”. They couldn’t stop me though. I had friends who’d have me over, and later in my life, I had money.
PlayStation offers way more in terms of functionality and durability. We haven’t had to code-name any problems from Sony consoles, yet (I’m watching you, Sony). This isn’t me saying that Xbox is batshit. It’s not. I would just take a PS any day, and deep down, you would too.