New consoles mean a renewed rivalry: Or do they?

     You’ve probably been asked your gaming console preference before. Are you a PlayStation or an Xbox fan? Or maybe you prefer the Nintendo Switch. For me, Xbox is my preference, as I have owned both the 360 and the current Xbox One, and I prefer the larger and heavier controllers as well as the immense library that I can access via the Xbox Game Pass subscription. 

     However, I can also see the allure that PlayStation has, as most of my family prefers that console to the Xbox. And, as a new owner of a Switch, I present the antithesis to the traditional console crony. I don’t fully support any singular console but rather appreciate what each has to offer to me. 

    Next month, both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing their next-gen consoles to the open market in the Xbox Series X and the PS5, respectively. 

     The new releases have allowed for this division to come to the forefront of the gaming world as supporters of both consoles face off head-to-head in heated debates across the internet. However, there has also been rumblings of a new faction which, like me, don’t fully support one console or another but, rather, are proponents of enjoying the superior technology that both companies have to offer. And superior technology it is indeed.

    One of the key selling points that can sway a casual gamer including myself one way or the other doesn’t actually come via the hardware but, rather, the software: the games. 

     One of the biggest headlines that rocked the gaming world in recent weeks was the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, by Microsoft. Bethesda, known for their work on the “Fallout” series as well as the famous “Elder Scrolls” series, was purchased by Microsoft for $7.5 billion, according to Microsoft’s own press release.     

     While this purchase certainly provided a huge boost in game production ability for Microsoft, Sony still has many games that will be released as PlayStation exclusives. The playing field is more even now, though, in an area in which Sony has dominated for the better part of two decades. And with backwards compatibility becoming more common, future games are going to be what really sell.

     For casual gamers like myself, hardware specs really don’t mean much. I expect that the new consoles will look better and be faster than the current consoles are, and both Sony and Microsoft have promised on that end. 

    However, looking at what current specs we can know right now side by side, the Series X seems to have the edge. While nearly identical in every other aspect, Xbox has the edge in bot CPU and GPU, although the gap for GPUs is much larger than for the CPUs. 

    While we have mainly focused on the Xbox Series X and the regular PS5, both companies will also be offering alternatives in the Xbox Series S and the digital-only PS5. These consoles will be significantly cheaper than their regular counterparts, although that drop in price will also lead to a drop in specs. 

    Both mainstream consoles will sell for around $500, while the Series S will sell for $300 and the digital-only PS5 for $400. Even though they will be less powerful, they should still be vastly more powerful than what the current generations can offer. The Xbox will release Nov. 10, and the PS5 two days later on Nov. 12. 

    Both consoles will be powerful, and they both will be priced about the same. So, who will come out ahead in this latest addition to the console wars? Maybe neither has to. Maybe its time for people to put away their pedestals of console supremacy and just enjoy what they both have to offer. 

    No more console wars but, rather, a place where we can reach across the borders and shake the hands of the people on the other side. It shouldn’t matter which is better, but it should matter that people are happy when they play. Xbox, PlayStation, Switch: gaming for everybody.