The Next Generation in Gaming

Design by Nick Bober

The gaming world was bustling with excitement in the latter half of 2020 due to the announcement of next generation consoles.

Sony has their fifth iteration PlayStation. Competing with Sony is Microsoft, which is also releasing a new iteration of the Xbox.

Next-Gen Capabilities

Though people have been calling the new consoles “next-gen,” there are certain semantics to what makes a console part of a new generation of gaming.

Hardware-wise, the systems are very similar to their previous iterations in terms of concept and design. The gameplay should match what gamers are already familiar with. However, the exciting thing about these new consoles is what they’re able to do in terms of their raw power and speed.

Joshua Bullock, a fourth year Game Design and Development major and School of Interactive Games and Media ambassador, described the power put into these consoles.

"Both can fetch data a lot faster, and they load games quicker," Bullock said. "What they can hold in terms of data and library passes [their past iterations]."

These consoles aren't focusing on innovating methods of gameplay. You shouldn't expect something like the Nintendo Switch, which celebrates taking high quality games with you on the go. 

For Sony and Microsoft, those types of changes aren't what they’re aiming for when they develop new consoles. Kent Reese, a fourth year Game Design and Development major, explained this more in depth.

“It’s not the consoles themselves, but more about the game engine and technology around the consoles,” Reese said.

For developers, they’ll be able to produce games at a much faster rate — in a sense of creation speed — because of the power behind these consoles. Since the consoles can hold so much more data and run said data at a more consistent rate, developers don’t have to worry about all the steps needed to create hyper-realistic graphics.

“Think of consoles like a toolbox. It’s more about the kinds of tools consoles give us in order to make more,” Reese said.

"Think of consoles like a toolbox. It’s more about the kinds of tools consoles give us in order to make more.”

Consumer Enjoyment

In the end, who are the next generation consoles for? They’re for the consumers. Each company's advertising arm has been working overtime to appeal to both the hardcore gamer side and the more casual side of the community.

A big part of marketing for Microsoft and the Xbox Series X is the improvement in the Xbox library and their Xbox Game Pass. The subscription system allows players to play their favorite games in better quality and for a lesser price.

On the other hand, Sony appeals to those interested in their PlayStation brand by buying gaming production companies that produce exclusive games for their systems. Additionally, the PlayStation 5 has the PlayStation VR Headset and will be able to play in virtual reality, while Xbox is only following more standard ways of play.

One of the biggest points for both consoles, however, is their move toward digital games. This can be seen with the Xbox Series S, which isn't so much a new generation console as it is a mid-gen console. There’s not a lot of new capabilities it can do, but its selling point is in Microsoft’s move from selling individual games to digital libraries.

“Companies see a lot of advantages with digital. No worries about discs physically scratching, and manufacturers don’t have to worry about stock issues,” Bullock said.

There's really no need for consumers to have both consoles though. Bullock and Reese noted that even though each of these two powerhouses are releasing their own consoles, it’s most important to consider your own preferences.

What do you prefer to play? Are the games you want to play exclusive to just one console? Which console is in your price range? These are important questions to consider when deciding to commit to one.

What To Choose?

Some differences between the two consoles are in their power and speed. The Xbox Series X is more powerful in terms of the overall visual quality it can deliver, but the PlayStation 5 has speed.

“What will be 10 seconds loading on the [Xbox Series X] could be 5 seconds for the [PlayStation 5],” Bullock described.

When picking a console, Reese advised that you compare pricing between the two. Sony announced that the PlayStation 5 will cost around $499.99, and the digital-only version will cost $399.99.  The Xbox Series X will cost the same price as the base PlayStation 5. On the other hand though, the digital-only Xbox Series S will cost significantly less that PlayStation's digital-only console with a $299.99 pricetag.

Regardless of prices, Bullock concludes that it really comes down to people’s preferences when they go out to buy a new system, or even stick with their older ones.

“Play whatever you want, whenever you want it, where you want it,” Bullock concluded.

“Play whatever you want, whenever you want it, where you want it."


Details provided by Tom's Guide, Gamespot and IGN.

Backwards Compatibility: PS5 — Almost all PS4 games, including PS4 Pro titles ; XBOX SERIES X — All XBOX ONE games and some XBOX 360 and original XBOX games

CPU: PS5 — 8-core 3.5 GHz AMD Zen 2 ; XBox Series X — 8-core 3.8 GHz AMD Zen 2

GPU: PS5 — 10.28 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 ; XBox Series X — 12.0 terraflop AMD RDNA 2


Storage: PS5 — 825 GB custom SSD; XBOX SERIES X — 1 TB custom NVMe SSD

Memory: PS5 — 16 GB GDDR6/256-bit ; XBOX SERIES X — 16 GB GDDR6/350-bit

Memory Bandwidth: PS5 — 448 GB/s ; XBOX SERIES X — 10GB @ 580 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s

Expandable and External Storage: PS5 — NVMe SSD Slot and USB HDD Support ; XBOX SERIES X — 1 TB Expansion Card and USB 3.2 External HDD Support

Optical Disc Drive: PS5 and XBOX SERIES X — 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive