Xbox Series X and PS5 : A Deeper Look at the Tech that Powers the New Consoles

At the start of any new generation there is always an explosion of new marketing buzz words and key points a company focuses on to differentiate itself from the competition, and drive interest in their product. There’s extensive research and huge amounts of money thrown towards marketing a new console and the surrounding messaging. It’s also a chance for a company to grab the limelight and steal mind share from the competition.

The impending next-generation has been no different in terms of marketing buzz, but it comes at a time when society is facing some serious challenges both socially and economically. This has presented huge logistical problems for the two companies at the center of the next generation. How do you still engage with your customer base? How do you assess demand and in-turn, production? How do you keep your developer community happy and productive? How best to reveal your shiny, new console to the masses? What’s the best service model and strategy to adopt going forward?

These are just some of the questions that would be fired across board room tables like a giant game of Battleship. These questions would have been asked around five years ago, and then tweaked on the fly, with varying degrees of initial success as I’ll touch on. So why is it so complicated?

With a new generation comes new technology, and sometimes the marketing surrounding this new technology distorts the facts. In this article I’m going to attempt to lay bare the reality of what we’ll find with the arrival of the next-generation consoles we’ll soon have our hands on. During this article I’ll tackle at the following topics:

  • Storage Solutions
  • CPUs & GPUs
  • Audio Technology
  • Recap

Storage : Analyzing the SSD Drives and Accompanying Technology

So, let’s begin with a hot topic: storage. The big news for both Microsoft and Sony’s next-gen offerings is they will both sport new SSD’s (solid state drive). Now this is interesting in terms of just how different theses storage mediums are. The elephant in the room is speed. These new drives are much faster than the old mechanical drives. For one, an SSD has no moving parts whereas a mechanical drive does. That clicking sound you hear from your old console is an actuator and read/write head physically reading information from a spinning magnetic disk, not unlike an old tape recorder on some serious steroids. If you want to read a piece of information from a regular hard drive, the magnetic disk needs to spin, the actuator arm needs to move to the area on the disk where the information is (seek), and the read/write head has to do just that, read the information. All of those actions in sequence adds delay to retrieving what you’re looking for. An SSD doesn’t have that delay as it has no moving parts at all. So already you’re on the front foot when retrieving information.

With the mechanical drive technology in the PS4 and Xbox One, a developer must factor in reading information from the drive when considering game design. Because a mechanical drive is slower to retrieve information, the developer might duplicate information all over a hard drive to reduce the delay of retrieving it, thus factoring in how fast they need it when streaming game data into the game world. Duplicating commonly used data i.e. a tree texture, a car on a freeway, or a sign on a building, the developer will move this information on the hard drive keeping it close together to reduce the delay in retrieving it. This causes the game to require more storage space, while also limiting the developer on just how complex they can make the game world (without the game becoming bloated with duplicate information). Otherwise they risk hitting the limitation of data they can feed into memory for the next 30 seconds of gameplay. It’s a balancing act, and in reality the developer community started to hit the limitations of the old hard drive technology some years ago.

An SSD doesn’t need to duplicate game data because information is easy to retrieve as its already in large memory bank; the developer simply needs to request the information and its there, job done. In theory this means games might be smaller in the future. But if you ask me, they won’t be. A developer will just use the extra space to pack in more detail into the game world. Having blisteringly fast access to all that cheddar, and by cheddar, I mean data, poses other challenges for our hardware crafting dwarfs. You’ve just built a huge 8 or 12 lane freeway with few speed limits and no way for traffic to exit quick enough. Now you have a traffic bottleneck. The knock-on effects of this have been tackled in different ways by Microsoft & Sony. Let’s examine the Xbox Series X first.

With the Xbox Series X we have the aptly named “Velocity Architecture”. VA as it’s known by me, is comprised of four main components: the all-important NVMe SSD with an 8 channel I/O interface (1 terabyte mounted to the motherboard), hardware decompression, Direct Storage (API) and Sampler Feedback Streaming (API). As I’ve used a couple of acronyms here, let me explain.

API, or Application Programming Interface, is software that’s dedicated to talking to other bits of software, and using dedicated hardware in a certain way. Think of this as a sort of air traffic controller telling other parts of a system what to do, and where to go in an efficient way. It can also enable custom features on GPUs. The better the API, the faster your flights get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ in a business class seat with a complimentary martini and hot towel; none of the economy class woes for you. For the Velocity Architecture, the API is dedicated to making data transfer as efficiently and intelligently as possible. The Direct Storage API meanwhile, is derived from Microsoft’s own research into mass cloud storage via its Azure offerings.

The whole purpose of the VA is to provide efficiency when moving information around the system. Information is usually compressed when stored on the disc-drive. So the Xbox Series X having dedicated hardware to decompress this information quickly, and without having to ask the CPU for help, is excellent, as it means the CPU can dedicate its time to more important processes like physics calculations. Meanwhile, Direct Storage’s main job is to allow the CPU/GPU to request information from the SSD at a blisteringly fast pace. As Direct Storage is software, it will continue to be refined and thus, improve over time.

Lastly, we have Sampler Feedback Streaming. This is yet another API that is dedicated to efficiently handling texture data with intelligence. SFS allows the Xbox Series X to save available memory by intelligently loading game assets and textures into the game world when needed instead of bulk loading a ton of information into system memory, and then sifting though it to find the game asset a developer needs to display. SFS works in unison with hardware decompression to vastly improve loading times and game performance. While the Xbox Series X sports a more traditional approach to storage, its I/O (input/output) throughput is no slouch being able to read/write 2.5GB/s. That’s very fast, but let’s not get caught up on numbers as that’s only half the story. The use of BCPack for specifically compressing texture data in conjunction with the hardware decompression abilities, will improve performance even more. It’s like adding a supercharger to your modified muscle car – fast!

The Xbox Series X also has an option for additional storage in the form of a proprietary 1TB M2 SSD which will be available at launch from Microsoft. However, in the future you’ll also have the option to purchase 3rd party solutions. Nice!

If you want to learn more about Velocity Architecture click here.

Next let’s look at the PS5. Sony’s approach to I/O in the PS5 is more hardware heavy. This time we have a custom SSD in terms of drive size at 825gb, a dedicated, custom I/O controller with two dedicated I/O co-Processors, dedicated DMA controller, Coherency Engines, on-chip RAM, a 12-channel drive interface, and the ability to prioritize data into six categories; all in hardware. The custom I/O controller itself has an enormous amount of processing power thrown at it with the chipset having what equates to nine Zen 2 cores dedicated to decompressing data, and an additional two Zen 2 cores dedicated for DMA control. All of that techno babble translates to a serious amount of silicon hardware dedicated to moving data around the PS5 at speed. Developers then, will not have to think about decompression, nor reduce the quality of textures to cater for the streaming speeds of the old HDD. In time this should equate to more complex game design and new in-game features.

But why 825gb for the size of the PS5 SSD? The reason for this is quite simple. The PS5 custom I/O has a 12-channel interface with Sony targeting 5.5gb/s bandwidth. The natural size of the storage to fit such an interface is 825gb. At least, that’s what Mark Cerny said. Though it could be due to mapping channels to NAND flash and cost savings.

The PS5 will also use Kracken for its compression software. This is efficient in reducing file sizes on both physical media (disc), and information that sits on the SSD, with the decompression hardware doing the heavy lifting in unpacking that information where the developer needs it within the game world. On top of this the PS5 will also utilize Oodle (not a dodgy search engine) texture compression software to further improve I/O performance. A somewhat unique feature of the PS5 I/O setup is the ability to prioritize data into six categories. This allows the developer to have information read from the disc while prioritizing assets such as local high detail terrain within the field of view of the player, or audio clips just at the point of need. The ability to do this means you don’t need to store this type of information on system RAM, thus allowing the available resource to be used more efficiently by the GPU. Again, very clever stuff.

The PS5 does have the ability to use off the self PC M2 SSD’s that are fast enough. An M2 SSD needs to have a read speed of 7gb/s or above to stand a chance at being compatible with the PS5’s monster I/O – costly!

If you want to know more about the PS5’s SSD and I/O click here.

So in summary, both next-gen consoles have exceptional storage hardware that will eventually bear fruit, with more complex game worlds and advancements in game design. In the here and now, we are set for quick resume features and blazing fast load times aplenty. One thing I will point out is that features such as quick resume will consume some drive space. So if you start off with a 1TB SSD, you have to allocate space for the OS (operating system), and then additional space for the console to save a game state. This allows you to jump right back in where you left off at a later date (‘ala’ quick resume). When you store a game state, that information doesn’t just disappear into thin air, it must go somewhere and that somewhere is the SSD. I’m hoping both Microsoft and Sony give us some control over just how much space we want to allocate to features such a quick resume.


CPUs & GPUs : What’s New Under the Hood?

The heat, no wait, the heart of the next generation consoles for both Microsoft and Sony are, let’s just say alike, and to make things more interesting both companies are using the same chip vendor and to a certain extent technology: AMD. If you frequent Twitter, or happen to come across a clickbait article online that’s all about comparing the two consoles graphical prowess with ill-informed viewpoints, then you’re well aware of just how hotly debated this subject is. Here at SG we don’t stand for baloney, just the facts and a healthy informed debate with a side order of journalistic integrity. So, with that said I’ll tell you straight: they’re both an amazing offering given the tech and the price point. It’s as simple as that. But you want more. You want to know how they stack up against each other. In this section I’ll present what we know of the new consoles’ AMD hearts, and what sets them apart. Hold on to your pants.

CPUs

In today’s modern consoles, the CPU (Central Processing Unit) can be thought of as the brains of the device. The CPU will do some heavy lifting and number crunching in order to inform the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) that an explosion needs to happen on that car you’ve just fired a rocket launcher at in order to rack up some kills. The role of the CPU has changed over time, and its use varies between devices. In terms of the Xbox Series X and the PS5, the CPU wears the same hat to a degree with the differences coming in the form of what other hardware within the system can lighten the load. Both systems have an 8 core AMD Zen 2 CPU, capable of 16 threads. But let’s break down the differences in a little more detail.

To begin,  let’s examine clock speeds and multi-threading (hyper-threading for you PC gamers). When clock speeds are being mentioned we are talking about how fast a CPU can cycle through instructions. The faster a CPU can cycle, the more instructions it can perform in that given time. For modern processors we measure theses cycles in GHZ (Giga Hertz) which is…fast. But what’s overlooked is just how efficient you can be with those cycles. It’s possible to have two CPUs running at the same clock speeds, but showing different performance measures. This is due to one chip being more efficient than the other in its design, and the way it performs tasks is more reliant upon another piece of hardware rather than the CPU itself. There are many factors at play here and all must be considered to paint a full picture.

Then we have multi-threading. This is essentially making the 8 cores found in the new CPUs work more efficiently by allowing each to work with two threads of information at once, hence the 16 threads. Working with multiple threads at once can really improve performance. In a very basic analogy, you could have one thread being used to update a weather routine within a game world while two other threads are used for AI instructions for NPCs and so on…

The Xbox Series X CPU

Microsoft must have made a design decision early on to fix CPU clock speeds on their custom CPU with it having essentially two modes. The first mode is standard operation (without multi-threading). In this mode the clock speed sits at a static 3.8ghz using all 8 cores in operation. This is likely a compatibility mode for Xbox One titles however, as developers can use this mode as they choose, we might even see some curious implementations of this mode by different developers. The second mode is with multi-threading enabled. This is a more common operating mode for a modern PC CPU, and for the Xbox Series X the clock speeds would change to 3.6ghz. This mode will be what we will find when running next generation titles, taking advantage of complex physics and AI to enhance the overall experience. The benefits could be vast. Imagine more interactive NPCs that act more realistic, and enemies that learn your gaming style and adapt to keep you on your toes. Those are some rather basic analogies I can mention.

Another curious addition to the Xbox Series X CPU is a set of server instructions. At the recent “Hot Chips” conference it was disclosed that the AMD CPU powering Microsoft’s new console has a server class CPU. This is likely a bit of smart business strategy allowing Microsoft to use this customer SoC in its Azure cloud portfolio for things other than gaming. This seems like a commercial win, and a guaranteed way to ensure Project xCloud has a firm foundation, all while mitigating risk if sales don’t hit their forecasted heights. Did I mention sales? I mean engagements.

If you want to know more about the custom CPU click here.

The PS5 CPU

So over to the PS5 now and things are the same, but different. We again have a custom AMD CPU but this time with a ‘max’ clock speed of 3.5Ghz. Again, we have multi-threading technology implemented but we also have a variable clock speed added into the mix. Unlike the Xbox Series X’s implementation of two static modes, the PS5’s implementation of a variable clock speed is very different, with the ability to adjust the clock speed 1000’s of times a second based on the requirements of the scene being rendered. Again, this type of implementation of a variable clock speed has been a design consideration early on and would have likely dictated the size of the SoC die and cooling solution.

The ability to vary the clocks in such a way is another piece of AMD tech called Smart Shift, which allows the CPU and GPU to target workloads reacting faster to performance demands, and having the potential to share a unified pool of cache. Add to that an implementation of ML (Machine Learning) that comes with Smart Shift, and you’ve got a recipe where the CPU and GPU work closer together to deliver that sweet spot in performance, power consumption, and heat.

One of the frustrations with Sony is they just don’t tell us how custom their CPU is. But if you want to know more about AMD’s Smart Shift click here.

GPUs

The GPU or Graphics Processing Unit is responsible for the bulk of all the effects on screen. Its hardware purpose is to render complex 3D environments. But in the modern console it can also be used for audio rendering as well as some serious number crunching with physics. Think of the CPU as being the general multi-purpose processor controlling other devices, and the GPU doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting when rendering 3D environments (though sometimes the lines can be blurred). The GPU is where we see the biggest difference on paper, and at first glance the difference is stark. Before we get into the details, it’s best to lay some foundations here. It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing talk from both Microsoft and Sony.

Let’s start with teraflops, the measure of a GPU’s theoretical compute power. The calculation is straightforward. You simply multiply the amount of available shader cores by the clock speed, then multiply that figure by two, and that gives you the teraflop calculation. In the Xbox Series X, we have 3584 shaders (think of this as simple individual computer programs that perform jobs like lighting) a GPU clock speed of 1825, and 2 operations per clock cycle. For awareness, this calculation doesn’t factor in any other elements of the graphics pipeline like rasterization or custom hardware like VRS.

A good way of looking at teraflops is like looking at horsepower with sports cars. Try comparing an F1 car that has a 1.6 liter engine delivering 800hp with a Dodge Charger muscle car that has a huge nine liter, V8 engine delivering 805hp. Numbers mean marketing opportunity whether that is teraflops or gigabytes per second. Its a license to quote a bigger number than your competitors, but they are surface details without understanding a sum of its parts.

The Xbox Series X GPU

The Xbox Series X sports a gargantuan GPU. When quoted in the console announcement “It eats monsters for breakfast”, it really does. For a console, it’s a new level of performance, and again the GPU and its performance goals have been a design consideration with 12tflops being a target. MS hit a bullseye on that front.

So, we have an RDNA2 GPU with compute power measuring 12tflop. Delivering that number is no less than 52 compute units running at a locked 1.825ghz. There are no variable clocks here. A good way to think of this GPU is a wide freeway (motorway, autobahn, or whatever…) allowing more traffic at once to get to its destination. It’s been described as a wide GPU because of the number of compute units in use to deliver its performance goals. On top of this we have hardware based Ray-Tracing, VRS (variable rate shading), ML (Machine Learning) and more, that are all part of that suite of features that come with the new RDNA 2 offerings from AMD. Think of AMD and RDNA 2 as a menu for Microsoft. They pick what features will best fit their goals for performance. VRS alone could be a game changer in terms of allowing the GPU to work smarter by only displaying high detailed models when the player would see them, not when they are off-screen or hidden. It’s absolutely going to deliver a performance boost. Add to that ray-tracing, and we are going to see highly detailed environments, with a new level of realism that makes everything much more immersive.

Microsoft have been really open in laying bare the technical specs of the Xbox Series X, and on face value the GPU shares a close relationship with the RDNA 2 PC card specifications. That’s a good thing when your first party studios will be targeting PC and console(s) simultaneously, not to mention saving money on the production side by not including extravagant, bespoke design changes.

In terms of memory the Xbox Series X GPU is packing 16GB of GDDR6 in a split memory configuration. It sits across a 320bit data bus with 10 GB @ 560 GB/s and 6 GB @ 336 GB/s. It’s unknown if splitting the memory in this way will have any impact on performance at all. Another benefit to Microsoft’s GPU is the close work they have done with AMD in building Direct X 12U around the RDNA 2 feature set. This means the Xbox Series X and its PC counterparts should be able to leverage new graphical features and techniques to take advantage of the RDNA 2 architecture.

One interesting point linked to this, is that Microsoft has recently streamlined its developer tools and that means a change to how developers have worked on Xbox hardware in the past. Its like driving an automatic car then having to go back and use a car with a clutch. That may be a bad analogy, but you get the picture.

If you want to know more about the Xbox Series X GPU click here.

The PS5 GPU

The biggest difference between the two consoles and their design goals is most evident by their GPUs. The PS5 sports a somewhat narrower RDNA 2 GPU architecture with 36 compute units and a “max” clock speed of 2.23Ghz. Straight away if you’re comparing numbers you can see the difference in compute units, but this isn’t the end of the story here for either console. If you do the calculation we did prior on the Series X to work out the teraflop number, then you arrive at 10.28tflops for the PS5. That means the Xbox Series X has an 18.1% advantage in GPU performance over the PS5. However, it’s not as cut and dry as that. All of the supporting GPU hardware such as customized components, rasterization, and all of the other processes involved in the graphics pipeline are now running at the clock speed of 2.23Ghz “max”. To add to what’s already a complex scenario, we also have AMD’s Smart Shift working here too. Meaning the GPU clock speed, like the CPU, is variable and changes on the fly potentially thousands of times per second depending on the scene that’s being rendered, and what power is needed to display it. It’s a very different way of working than a traditional console.

The memory setup for the PS5 is also 16GB of GDDR6 but this time having a unified pool of RAM sitting across a 256bit data bus @ 448GB/s. It’s nothing to write home about in this department, but it will be interesting to see just how much the SSD is used as virtual RAM and what benefits it could bring to the table.

The GPU is RDNA 2 similar to the Xbox Series X, but Sony has again been very guarded in providing any granular detail. The only information that’s been disclosed on the inner workings of the GPU is that it has a “Geometry Engine”, whatever that is. It was described by Mark Cerny as “intelligence”, thus possibly hinting to ML (machine learning) or AI (artificial intelligence). However, nothing has been confirmed. An additional custom feature named “Cache Scrubbers” was mentioned that is unique to the PS5, and assists the GPU in kicking old information out of memory, which then allows the SSD to fill space with more useful data; such as what’s being rendered on screen at the time. The mention of “Cache Scrubbers” in relation to the GPU lends itself to an effective management of memory bandwidth. Once again, Sony is surrounding tech with mystery.

Geometry Engines and Cache Scrubbers all sound great if it wasn’t just marketing names for customizations that have yet to be explained. Sony really needs to take a leaf out of Microsoft’s playbook with disclosing technical information, especially when social media is a breeding ground for rumors and potentially damaging fake leaks.

Something that Sony has really been sensitive to is the developer tools. With the PS5 they haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, they’ve simply added the new GPU features to the existing tools and in doing so, have reduced the potential bump in the road with getting up to speed with new hardware.

If you want to know a little more about the PS5’s GPU watch Mark Cerny’s developer conference from March of this year click here.


Audio : What’s the Big Deal?

Sound is one of the aspects you simply expect to be part of the gaming experience. You generally just appreciate if it sounds “good”, but things are going to change next generation on the audio front. Microsoft have really been open to adopting the current sound formats like Dolby Atmos and now Spatial Audio. This was evident with the Xbox One supporting Dolby Atmos early-on unlike Sony with the PS4, which on paper isn’t as capable as the PS3 when it comes to audio. There’s a newfound focus on audio from Microsoft and Sony with the intention of making games far more immersive both visually and now sonically. Imagine being tricked in to thinking someone is whispering right next to your ear during a horror game. Or walking down a busy street in a game where its raining, and the audio is tricking you in to thinking you’re there. Impossible? Not with new audio rendering techniques.

The Xbox Series X Audio Engine

Microsoft have dedicated hardware within the Xbox Series X for audio. This means that audio will no longer take up precious CPU resources to render sound environments in games. Spatial Audio is one of the more advanced audio formats that is going to be used in games. It is not a new format, in fact it’s been on Microsoft’s radar since at least 2015. However, using this format in games to position sounds accurately on a sound stage, while tricking the gamer into thinking the gunshot came from a precise location within the game world, will be a new level of immersion we’ve just not experienced before. It’s quite possible modern AAA games will overtake movies when it comes to how sound is used to make a scene feel more real.

Spatial Audio also incorporates HRTFs (Head-Related Transfer Functions). Yes, the very same acronym used by Mark Cerny in his developer conference on the PS5 hardware. The aim of using a HRTF is to make the sound personal to the listener, and tricking the brain into thinking it’s in the environment instead of sound merely coming from the speakers. It’s all about locality. Tricking the brain when it comes to sound is not an easy thing to do well. There are a lot of measurements and calculations that need to be done to pull it off including the shape of your head, the location of your ear on your head, and even the shape of your ear canal. Yes, really. Although this type of audio has been experimented with since as far back as the 1950’s, it has never been commercialized until now.

If you want to know more about Microsoft’s Spatial Audio project click here.

The PS5 Tempest Engine

Alright, I must address one thing. Sony loves engines. Anyone remember the “Emotion Engine”? Anyway, Sony has also put a focus on audio with the PS5. Their solution is very similar to what Microsoft are poised to use with Spatial Audio. Sony’s solution also uses HRTFs, but they have been vocal on the amount of hardware that’s dedicated to solely dealing with audio within the PS5. It has been quoted to be using the processing power of the PS4’s CPU just for audio which is an overwhelming amount of compute resource dedicated to audio processing. During the now famous Sony developer conference from March of this year, it stated that the co-processor that’s responsible for audio can also be used for other tasks like helping out the CPU or GPU with heavy workloads. But the intention is to use this resource for audio with the decision being up to the developer(s). Again, we can look forward to more realistic sounding game worlds knowing that developers now have the tools to really start to challenge our senses in terms of how immersive a game world can be.

As for the application of this new sound format, Sony is a bit further on in their development having created a new commercial audio format of their own 3D Reality Audio. The Tempest Engine is simply the console extension of that format. Why not save money and use what your R&D team have already come up with? They have also made modifications to common HRTFs with the goal of being able to increase the realism of the audio within games on the PS5, and are also looking into ways to personalize the experience to the individual. Impressive stuff. They’re making this audio format available to anyone regardless of what equipment you have. Starting with headphones, Sony is refining the experience and making it the gold standard for 3D audio. Then they are moving onto TV audio, soundbars, and 5.1/7.1 speaker setups. It’s going to be interesting to see how this evolves in the future.

If you want to know more about 3D Reality Audio click here.


Recap and Final Thoughts

We’ve touched on the main talking points of the new consoles, but there are many other aspects we haven’t explored in this article. We could have gone down a rabbit hole with USB C ports, WiFi 6, or how does it look on its side…but I don’t think that’s overly important here. If we compare the two consoles it’s clear: we have two teams that have chosen to target different design goals from the outset. But it’s interesting to see that they have largely achieved the same end results.

Microsoft’s design goals share a lot with modern PC architecture. From the GPU to shared API’s, there has been consideration to keep development environments very close to PC while dragging along the last gen ball and chains i.e. Xbox One and Xbox One S/X. On the other hand, Sony have been a bit more bespoke in their approach. They seem to have turned up at AMD’s restaurant and asked for an RDNA 2 dish while being really picky with the ingredients, and then had the cheek to ask the chef to cook up something different too. The GPU, SSD, and audio co-processor are all custom hardware.

In terms of measuring the raw grunt of these two titans of the console universe, I hope I’ve made it clear to some degree that teraflops is just a number used in marketing. There are details we don’t know about the two consoles that could render that number useless. The same goes for the story surrounding the SSD’s that are being used by both the Xbox Series X and PS5. On paper it looks one sided but its challenging to know just how efficient these solutions are in the real world.

Ultimately the console that’s most developer friendly always sees the benefits early on in a console generation. Thinking back to the seventh console generation, the Xbox 360 was much easier to get for developers to get code running on than a PS3. And because of this the Xbox 360 became the lead platform for many third-party developers. Almost all third-party games looked and ran better on the Xbox 360 even though the PS3 had much more grunt in many areas. The PS3 was ham-stringed by poor development tools and complex hardware that resulted in games running slower and lacking fidelity when compared to its Xbox 360 counterparts. With the ninth generation, we are not going to see such a scenario play out as the two consoles are so alike in terms of hardware. But where we might see these fine margins in performance is in how the development community can use the tools at hand to get the most of out the hardware. The more comfortable your development community is, the better results you’ll see in the final products. It really is as simple as that.

What we can look forward to is new, immersive experiences that just couldn’t have been possible on the older hardware. The new consoles will lead the charge in terms of game design and even influence games built for PC. From Ray-Tracing to 3D audio, it’s going to be a steady stream of innovation that we’ve just not seen before as developers look for new ways to draw you in to the game world and attempt to trick your senses.

Whatever console you decide to purchase in November, or when you decide to make the leap, you’re making the right decision. You can’t really go wrong with either. If you’re looking for a console that’s at the heart an ecosystem, then the Xbox Series X is the natural choice for you. If you’re looking for them tried and tested cinematic experiences, then the PS5 is going to be the platform that delivers. Being a gamer in 2020 means you have so much choice. Gaming has never been more prominent, more engaging, and more accessible than it is now. Enjoy the ride!

By Karl Dwyer

Nostalgic gamer, Atari fanatic and lover of all things Tech & Retro Gaming. Also interested in the entertainment industry as a whole. “Remember, short controlled bursts”. Twitter: @TheRealKD78

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