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This might be the biggest difference between the PS5 and Xbox Series X

Published Jun 10th, 2020 8:08PM EDT
PS5 vs. Xbox Series X
Image: Microsoft

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  • One developer has suggested that a key difference between the PS5 and Xbox Series X could be the prioritization of load times and raw power.
  • With its lightning-fast SSD, the PS5 might load games more quickly than the Xbox Series X on average, but the Xbox Series X might offer 4K resolution and higher frame rates more reliably.
  • Sony will finally talk about the PS5 at a digital event on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.

After months of anticipation and a week-long delay, Sony will finally hold its first major PS5 event on Thursday. While Microsoft has been surprisingly communicative about its Xbox Series X, Sony has been frustratingly quiet, save for a rather esoteric system architecture deep dive and a sneak peek at the DualSense controller.

Some of the mystery surrounding the PS5 will undoubtedly be cleared up following the big event tomorrow, but in the meantime, an intriguing forum post from Thomas Mahler, Game Director at Ori and the Blind Forest developer Moon Studios, speaks to what might be one of the biggest differences between the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

In a forum thread on ResetEra about the theoretical advantage that the PS5 will have over the Xbox Series X, Mahler explained how the PS5 could prioritize fast load times while the new Xbox focuses on raw power:

Now, let’s say that the average load time with those SSDs on next-gen will be 10 seconds. And let’s be generous and say that the PS5 SSD and throughput is twice as fast as [Xbox Series X] – At that point you’d have 10s load times vs. 5s load times (keep in mind that loading often is more than just shuffling data around, so this isn’t in any way accurate). I don’t know if I’d care that much about 5 seconds saved every time I load if what I give up for that is framerate or resolution. And I guess that’s the bet that Microsoft made here – more raw power rather than faster data transfer.

As a result, Mahler believes that we should see Xbox Series X games “render at 4k more regularly and / or at better framerates” while PS5 games “will load faster.” If first-party exclusives aren’t a priority for you, then this might be the deciding factor when it comes to buying a PS5 or an Xbox Series X this fall and beyond.

As Mahler sees it, the big issue is that third-party developers are not going to “change their games completely, adjust levels and other stuff just to squeeze the most out of the PS5 architecture.” He says it’s simply not going to happen. If that’s the case, and load times are virtually the same for most games on both consoles, it would seem that the Xbox Series X would have the upper hand. We’ll see if Sony does anything to debunk this idea tomorrow.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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