PS5 and Xbox have strikingly different visions and both bring great benefits to video games - editorial

PS5 and Xbox have strikingly different visions and both bring great benefits to video games - editorial
That's it, the new consoles are here! Look, over there on my desk, discreetly peering at me from behind the monitor as I write this article: a truly authentic Xbox Series S. Isn't that adorable?

That's the point. Whisper it because it seems like there has already been too much good news and we're not used to it, it makes us suspicious. I think he's doing great. This is the best generation change in a long time. Not necessarily the most exciting but the most optimistic. The one that instills the most optimism. Definitely better than last time. The slogan of the launch of PlayStation 4 was “for the players”, an effective replica of the bad initial strategy of the Xbox One but that far from that direct confrontation never really seemed completely true. The PS4, with its conventional architecture and classic features, its powerful GPU and significantly less CPU, its emphasis on the same but more, was a tactical retreat on safe ground. It was simple, reasonable, effective but did it really make things better for us? Did it move our gaming-related lives forward? Barely.

This time it's different.

This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings Do PS5 and Xbox Series X launch lineups matter? The news guys discuss it.

Watch on YouTube. Well it's not all different. Again, there isn't that much difference between the power of PlayStation and Xbox or in design-level goals (beyond the Xbox Series S anomaly). The engineers have worked from the same basics and seem to agree on the same priorities: that the CPU boost is necessary after a generation of graphically gleaming but computationally weak consoles that have held back the developers' ability to innovate; and that super-fast SSDs and dramatically reduced load times are also essential to improve the experience for gamers. It may take years to see the fruits of the first of these priorities but the second is the most tangible improvement when using these consoles now. And it might be less glamorous but that doesn't mean it doesn't make a big impact. It means hours of your lives made up, the distance between you and your reduced game, and those materially improved games (take Forza Horizon 4 as a personal example of a revolution). behind these machines, after all, there are radically different strategies on the part of their manufacturers. But here the similarities end and this is where things get even more interesting and encouraging. In 2013 the difference had little to do with video games and everything to do with marketing. Microsoft got it all wrong, some things presented too early or in the wrong way, others of no interest to anyone not on Microsoft's board of directors while Sony did simply the opposite of everything Microsoft was doing (which often meant doing little or nothing) and received ecstatic applause. It wasn't a question of ideas, it wasn't a question of games, it was just a bad war at the PR level.

This time it's a question of philosophy. Sony claims to believe in console generations as tectonic movements that usher in a new era of gaming. Now, all of this is consistent with the work of electronics companies, packing gadgets and selling them, not to mention the old-school reputation of PlayStation boss Jim Ryan. Sure, it was slightly easier to question this position than you could have hoped for but you have to give credit to the credit because when you take and connect your PS5 you create that enthusiasm, that excitement linked to starting something new. This is because Sony has followed action with words by investing in a glittering facade, an innovative controller with a gorgeous game included that celebrates it, a breathtaking PS5 version of a cross-gen blockbuster, and in the form of Demon's Souls, a single, true and great PS5 exclusive.

Ray tracing in Spider-Man: Miles Morales: literally blazing. On the other side of the fence, as in the past, it's a different story. It's a terrible shame and an unprecedented disappointment that the new Xboxes come to market without a great exclusive game, even if the postponement of Halo Infinite was undoubtedly the right thing to do for the game, the series and the staff of 343. Industries. But Halo Infinite has never been owned only by the Xbox Series consoles or the larger family of Xbox consoles. It is also a PC game and title that you will be able to stream on Android smartphones. It is, first and foremost, a Game Pass game and the Game Pass, not Halo Infinite is the Xbox killer app.

Even the Game Pass does not represent Microsoft's whole vision. When you turn on the Xbox Series X or S, it's the immediacy of the experience that strikes you. There are no data to transfer, there are no backups to copy to a USB stick. Everything has already been backed up without you having to think about it. All your Xbox games are just a download away, progress syncs in a matter of seconds, and compatibility with the new machine is quality assured and, in many cases, carefully optimized. You can set preferences for how they run at the system level. Have you purchased Destiny 2 on PS4? It doesn't matter is available on the Game Pass (with all its expansions) and there is cross-save so your characters are available. Everything just works. This is for the players.

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On Game Pass you'll find Final Fantasy 7 proudly taking a seat alongside a sparkling new version of Gears5; old basket games like Black alongside neat and delicious indies like Don't Starve and Night in the Woods. It may not convey much of the sense of being the future of gaming but it's nice and a relief to meet a new console that isn't so desperate to turn its back on the past. Even more positive is the fact that Microsoft's continuous work in this area that has been going on since 2015 has pushed Sony to follow the same path with the result that backwards compatibility is excellent even on PS5, even if less trained and tested. The same can be said for the eager support for cross-play and cross-save in recent years. The competition is obviously both ways and I am sure that the developers in the many studios acquired by Microsoft will be well inspired by the remarkable next-gen visions represented by Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon's Souls.

The Sony's eyes go beyond the horizon, think about what comes next, about the future. This is vital to the creative and technological health of the medium but gaming has been a relentless race for too long right now. The broad and platform-agnostic approach, also evidenced by the existence of the low-cost Xbox Series S alternative, is here to make sure no one is left behind. This is equally important for the future of gaming culture.

These are different yet both right philosophies. Even better they are actually complementary. Under the influence of each other, both platforms should become stronger and more solid. To say that in this fight we are all winners is a cliché but this time I think it could seriously be true.

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