PS5 Versus Xbox ‘Project Scarlett’—Which Will Suck Less

By CCN Markets: Console wars return for season five! Who will win the bloody free-for-all this year? The team that sucks less, of course. The main points for each team have been listed below, but they are operating with thin margins to bring their visions to fruition. A comparable gaming PC is projected to be much, much more expensive when compared to the expected launch prices of the PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox ‘Project Scarlett’.

PS5—The Unnamed Project

With an unconfirmed potential release date slated for “early 2020” and a generally expected launch price around $500, the PS5 is set to clip competitors’ wings by saturating the next-gen market initially. It remains to be seen, whether the console can manage to rein costs in under $600 between the custom hardware and growing game sizes.

Peter Rubin discusses pricing expectations for the 2020 release of the PlayStation 5

Hardware

Speaking of hardware, who would like an 8K gaming powerhouse with largely custom-built Navi hardware and a Ryzen-based series 7 CPU? How about a purpose-built solid-state drive (SSD) which Sony claims will “outperform virtually any PC SSD on the market”? The PS5 promises to deliver but leaves the community with worries about storage space on the drive and external drive compatibility. The PS5 also promises to deliver substantially improved ‘3D audio’.

If the units ship with a small SSD as is the case with many other production SSD-equipped electronics, such as the Mac Airbook Pro, with an MSRP around $1100, gamers may be looking at a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD out of the box—spoiler alert, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 takes around 80 GB of storage memory, and it cannot be played in 8K quality.

A small SSD may leave room for Sony to upsell external SSD units as an aftermarket upgrade—generally speaking, SSDs above 1TB tend to run in the $300 range, while larger drives only go up from there.

Graphics Quality

8K gaming is, theoretically, awesome. The problem with 8K, however, at this stage is—most households do not have TVs to support 4K. Sony is targeting more than just the middle market with their next console, it would seem, however. True 8K gaming monitors currently retail for around $4,000 and there are not many for sale. This is likely to change over the next seven years.

In addition to 8K quality gaming, the PS5 is stated to support ray tracing, a set of lighting effects which were previously reserved for high-end gaming computers—the sort with GPUs in the “I could just buy two PS4s for that!” price range. Comparable GPUs in the consumer market are expected to be the NVidia 20xx series and competitors.

One final note: Sony has teased an unspecified level of “backward compatibility.”

Xbox “Project Scarlett”

Expected to debut during the 2020 holiday season, Scarlett will delight gamers young and old around the globe. If Microsoft falters in delivering quality, storage space, price, or any other expected aspect with Project Scarlett, Sony is boasting an earlier delivery date, with likely near-to comparable specs, and a similarly large fanbase.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, announces Project Scarlett at the Xbox E3 2019 briefing on June 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. | Source: Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images

Microsoft also teased backward compatibility at an unspecified level for the upcoming Xbox, though the official site seems to suggest full backward compatibility for all generations of Xbox games.

Hardware

Basically the same thing from the PS5 in terms of processors, but they have given more information about the memory types they will be using in the next-gen console. Scarlett holds GDDR6 RAM and an SSD which is expected to partially operate like virtual RAM (vRAM).

Unconfirmed Project Scarlett Specs, courtesy of u/AmericanCakes

One suspected leak has surfaced, but the community has yet to confirm its authenticity—the image in question may simply be a new DevKit (Developer model console), not a production Project Scarlett Xbox version.

Only time will tell if it can outperform the PS5 in terms of framerate. Both consoles have boasted 120 FPS and 8K graphics, but neither has specified them in the same breath (running at 120 FPS in 8K quality).

Graphics Quality

Variable frame refresh rate and 4K gaming at 120 FPS—this is the promise Microsoft has made to gamers. Like Sony, they are boasting 8K gaming with ray tracing potential. Microsoft claims framerates not seen to date from their new processors, combined with GDDR6 memory and vRAM from the SSD.

The deciding factor in this virtual arms race is likely to be the exclusive title library—seeing as Call of Duty has finally announced full cross-platform support, one fewer barrier stands between gamers and their true passion. Sony has announced several titles, including The Last of Us Part 2 and more, potentially including Destiny 3—a currently speculated game which may not come about for want of ‘Worlds of Destiny’.

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