Microsoft vs. Sony: The Cat and Mouse Chase of 2020


Future via Getty Images

(Photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images)

Calen Lawson and Andrew Haluszczak

Round 4 of the ongoing console wars have continued. As the holiday season arrives, Microsoft and Sony are scheduled to launch the next-generation versions of their PlayStation and Xbox. The release of these consoles is leaving consumers asking one question, which one should I buy? Well, the answer has many layers involved. Buyers normally look for the differences in games, price, hardware, graphics, and backward compatibility.


Both companies established their pre-order systems. PS5 pre-orders went live on September 17th, with a confirmed release date of November 12th, 2020. Some territories, including the UK, won’t be able to purchase the PS5 until November 16th. Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pre-orders went live on September 22nd, with a confirmed release date of November 10th, 2020. 


As for price, the Xbox Series X will cost $499. The more affordable option, the Xbox Series S, will cost $299 respectively. Sony’s standard PS5 will cost $499 whereas the PS5 digital edition will cost $399. The standard PS5 supports disc-based media and contains a disc drive making it more expensive than its fully digital predecessor. 


Normally, Sony isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty developing exclusive games and the PS5 is no different. A new Spider-Man game developed by Insomniac Games starring comic book protagonist Miles Morales will be available for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on November 12th. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the gameplay demo trailer is linked below. 


With the PlayStation Plus Collection, anyone with a subscription will be accessing some of the most popular PS4 titles including God of War (2018), Bloodborne, The Last of Us Remastered, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End


Microsoft will be continuing Xbox Game Pass, a subscription that benefits Xbox Live and offers free high-quality console and PC games free to download. In response to Sonys exclusive deals, Microsoft made a pricey $7.5 billion purchase of Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax media. This purchase puts Bethesda as one of the video game industries’ biggest publishers and owners under the Xbox brand. Bethesda develops and publishes games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom. 


The game on every Xbox fan’s mind though is Halo Infinite, the ongoing journey of the Halo franchise protagonist Master Chief. Halo Infinite was first announced at E3 2018. Unfortunately, the game has been receiving backlash because it’s delayed until early 2021 due to the COVID-19 virus. Not to mention, the gameplay trailer received a lot of criticism because the engine running the game looks pale in comparison to its teaser trailer. 

Controllers this year are interesting. The PS5’s controller drops its previous name DualShock for the new and improved DualSense. The recently designed controller will be using haptic feedback, meaning the controller will output vibrations or movements to replicate a real-life touch for feedback and immersion. It will feature adaptive triggers that simulate your actions more accurately. It will still have a headphone jack, but a built-in microphone will make it possible for players to talk with their friends effortlessly. 

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The Xbox Series X will have an upgraded version of the current generation Xbox wireless controller. It will feature a dedicated share button for screenshots and video clips. An improved D-pad will be implemented, similar to what you would find on the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller. Microsoft is promising that the Xbox Series X will work with all Xbox controllers across most of its games. Overall, both controllers look proportional and comfortable to use. 


When it comes to specs and the hardware itself, the Xbox Series X is the more powerful console on paper. However, the difference is unlikely to have a large impact on your gaming experience. We’re also waiting for launch in November because both consoles are still under development. 


Altogether, both consoles have slight improvements over the other, but it’s all about your preference. If you prefer graphical quality and a better price we’d recommend purchasing the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. If you want a high-quality controller and an extensive library of exclusive games, you’re better off buying the standard PS5 or PS5 digital edition. It’s safe to say the conflict between fans is something 2020 needed. The spark has finally been lit for the first time in almost seven years which will produce even more conversation amongst players.