video game consoles
A new generation of gaming is under way with the new decade approaching. Here's what to expect from Sony and Microsoft based on what we currently know. (Illustration by Simon Wang, Case Western Reserve University)

Will the Next Xbox and PlayStation Live Up to the Hype?

With their new video game consoles on the horizon, Sony and Microsoft will compete once again.

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video game consoles

With their new video game consoles on the horizon, Sony and Microsoft will compete once again.

In 2013, two video game consoles were released: Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox One. The release of these two gaming systems marked the beginning of the next generation of video game consoles as consumers were introduced to impressive graphics and features. Along with these improvements, there are several games that managed to stand out during this generation such as “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” “Horizon: Zero Dawn” and “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.” With 2020 quickly approaching, a new generation will arrive once again as Sony and Microsoft look to release new video game consoles.

The current generation of video game consoles have been dominated by Sony. Pretty much every year they have been releasing high quality exclusives that give someone a reason to own a PS4. In 2018, they had two game of the year contenders: “God of War” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man.” Microsoft has struggled with exclusives for the entire generation. A running joke going around online is that “Xbox has no games,” and if anyone were to say that, they wouldn’t really be wrong.

There isn’t a reason to own an Xbox One anymore since Microsoft has made all of their Xbox One games available on PC via the Microsoft Store and other digital storefronts. In 2016, head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced the Games Anywhere program, which would allow all future Xbox exclusive games to be playable at launch on both PC and Xbox. With this announcement, it would seem like Microsoft is turning Xbox from a video game console into a brand. This might only be partly true as the next Xbox was unveiled recently at The Game Awards.

The next Xbox has been known by the codename Project Scarlett for the past year. With this recent reveal, it is now known as Xbox Series X. The console’s design was also shown. It is clearly designed less like a video game console and more like a PC tower. This may be due to the system’s graphical quality being on par with a PC.

Phil Spencer called the system the most powerful Xbox and also said the following in an interview about the console: “Our goal has always been to build the most powerful console we can, and I think we’re there. We like leading in power and performance, and I feel like we’re going to be there again.” Every console generation we hear how “X system is the most powerful ever” and then it struggles to play games with high-quality graphics. An example of this would be what happened with my PS4.

I tried to play “Doom” on my PS4 but had to stop because the console sounded as loud as an airplane when trying to run the game. The system could barely handle the high graphics and, as a result, the fans inside the console had to run fast to keep it from overheating. As a result of the PS4 not being able to handle these types of graphics, Sony released the PS4 Pro, a video game console that was a little more powerful than the PS4 and featured a fan that made less noise when running games with high quality graphics.

Microsoft did something similar when it released the Xbox One X, which was just the Xbox equivalent of the PS4 Pro. I hope that with this new Xbox, we don’t get another spin-off console called the “Xbox Series X Pro” that costs more but is only slightly more powerful. Spencer has also claimed that the new Xbox will “usher in resolutions and framerates we’ve never seen before.” It sounds like they are serious about having a high-powered console that can run games that look like they’re being played on a PC. I think that this is the right thing for them to do as it’s about time console graphics begin to improve.

Sony seems to have the same idea with the PlayStation 5 as it will support 8K as a video resolution just like the Xbox Series X. The PS5 hasn’t had a reveal like the new Xbox yet but when it does, they’ll spill the beans on all of the console’s features. Graphics are important for any video game console but what also matters are the games. Since we are still a year away from the release of either console, the games being released haven’t been revealed. As stated before, the Xbox will not really have many games for it that are exclusive since it will be sharing them with PC.

On the other hand, the PS5 has many games that could potentially come out. “The Last of Us 2” and “Ghosts of Tsushima” are both meant to release on the PS4 at some point in 2020 and beyond but have been delayed. This delay is most likely for other reasons, but I think that they were delayed so that they could release on the PS5 within its first year. There are also rumors that sequels to “Horizon Zero Dawn” and “God of War” could be making their way to the PS5. It would be great to see all of these games on the PS5 as PlayStation games are usually high-quality products.

It would be nice to see the Xbox Series X have games of similar quality, but I don’t see it happening immediately. Microsoft has been purchasing several game studios in order to make more of their own exclusive games. It would take a few years for any game to come out of these companies now that Microsoft owns them, so there won’t be any noticeable change in quality of their games. Regardless of whatever games they release, Microsoft and Sony have made the next generation of video game consoles interesting. Both companies are competing to see who can make the most powerful console. If these consoles do end up being as powerful as promised, then console gaming will have taken a huge step in evolution.

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