PS5 Vs Xbox: If You're Arguing Over Teraflops, You're Doing Gaming Wrong
The full specs for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are now out in the wild for all of us to see, and both are incredibly dry lists of technical jargon that probably means very little to most of us. I adore video games and I can't wait to get my hands on the next-gen hardware - but good grief, I am sick of pretending I give even the tiniest crap about the specs.
I mean, did you see the Sony reveal livestream hosted by Mark Cerny last night? That sure as heck wasn't for a mainstream audience, who are trying to get excited about the PS5. As I understand it, that 50-minute lecture was intended for cancelled GDC (the Game Developers Conference) earlier this month, which makes sense. It was intended to get developers excited for the console, not the average consumer. And naturally, said average consumer was left very cold by the whole thing.
The way Microsoft shared the Xbox Series X specs was a little better. They revealed everything on the website, but also attempted to explain how this will affect next-generation games and why we, as potential customers, should be excited. Because I'm sorry, if you keep banging on about your 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz without explaining why that matters, a lot of us are gonna fall asleep. Or slap you in the face.
This spec-first approach has largely driven the next-gen news over the last year, and I don't really understand how it's supposed to get people that excited. Remember the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer? We got a look at the console's central handheld/home console gimmick, and a brief montage showing some of the games available for the machine.
Yes, starting with the specs for the Switch would have been a bit of a weird move because, well, it's not exactly the beefiest console on the market. But its success speaks for itself a little over three years on... doesn't it? Dazzling the world with killer specs has never really been a guaranteed route to success for any hardware.
Even the PS4 and Xbox One reveals wrapped up all that boring spec talk with what the machines looked like, the key features, and the games we could expect to play on them. The baffling refusal to talk about software and lead with specs that we've seen for the next gen is just... boring. Man, it's so damn boring.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's stupid or weird or nerdy to be interested in the technical specifications of each console and how they work. I think that's brilliant in fact, and I applaud your passion and insight - even if I don't quite understand it myself. What I can't stand, what really, properly bores me to tears, is the constant arguing over which console is superior - especially when neither one is even out yet.
More Like This
Now that we can see the PS5 and Xbox Series X specs on paper, the arguing has begun. Yes, in terms of raw power, the Xbox Series X has the edge on the PS5. So what? Really, why does that matter? Why do we care? Are the Xbox specs really going to somehow ruin our enjoyment of the PS5? Of course not! So why are so many so-called "gamers" banging on about these specs as if there are "winners" and "losers"?
I've seen an awful lot of people bashing the PS5's 10.28 Teraflops of GPU power, which is just shy of the Xbox Series X's recently confirmed 12 Teraflops. It's this spec that seems to have come up the most among fanboys, presumably because it's one of the only areas where there's a clear difference between the consoles - and even then, there's not that much in it.
The best thing about this is that I can guarantee - absolutely guarantee - that most of the people you see getting involved in the great PS5/Xbox Series X Teraflop debate of 2020 have no idea why it matters, or what difference it'll make for the consoles in the long run. Those who genuinely understand and care about specs and their potential tend to be far more level-headed, because they see the advantages and disadvantages, instead of just looking at a sheet of numbers and claiming victory because one is larger than the other.
But this is the "console war" in microcosm, isn't it? people getting defensive over the most asinine nonsense. And make no mistake: this is the most asinine nonsense I've seen gamers argue over in a long time. It's 2020 and the world is more divided than ever. We should all find something to be passionate about, but do we really need to maintain this tribalistic outlook when it comes to consoles? It's embarrassing - not to mention self-defeating.
The specs are what they are: just numbers right now. The Xbox Series X is packing more raw power, and that could lead to superior-looking games. The PS5's SSD is twice as fast, and could potentially be easier to develop for. The fact is, we don't know which specs will make for a "better" console until we see what studios are able to do with them. Hell, the PS3 had more going on under the hood than the Xbox 360, but both consoles sold about the same number of units, and both had a spread of spectacular exclusives - so both consoles 'won', I guess?
Even then, who cares if one does end up being "superior"? Do you really think God of War 2 isn't going to be an utterly gorgeous game just because the Xbox Series X has more Teraflops? Is Halo Infinite or Fable 4 going to be any less incredible for fans just because the PS5 has a more nimble SSD? No. Obviously not.
Here's the bottom line: both consoles represent major generational leaps from their predecessors - perhaps the biggest yet. On both consoles, we should be expecting some truly breathtaking new worlds to explore, and familiar franchises that look better than we ever thought possible.
We're headed into a new generation, and that is exciting - but there are also arguably fewer differences than ever before from a hardware perspective. Surely now, then, is the time for us to stop arguing over consoles once and for all, and to just enjoy all the great games that come our way? Let's end the console wars once and for all - it just makes us look petty.
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft/Sony