Yes, you read that right. Microsoft has regularly claimed the Xbox Series X is the world’s most powerful gaming console, but it is getting outperformed by the Sony PlayStation 5 across a number of performance criteria and game performance. In what is supposed to be the next big battle of gaming consoles, it has been a sluggish start for the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S, with the performance difference between the Xbox Series X in comparison with the Sony PlayStation 5 standing out the most. The good folks over at Digital Foundry have been running a series of comparison tests between the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S gaming consoles. They’ve compared the performance of the new Microsoft and Sony gaming consoles with the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War and Watch Dogs Legion games.
Let us start by running you through the basic specs of the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X. The PS5 runs an AMD Zen 2 8-core processor clocking at 3.5GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and the 10.3 teraflops AMD RDNA2 graphics. This can go up to 120fps frame rare and has an 825GB custom solid-state drive (SSD). The Xbox Series X, at least on paper, is faster. This has the AMD Zen 2 processor with 8-cores and a clock speed of 3.8GHz—that’s more than the PS5. The Xbox Series X also has a 12 teraflop AMD RDNA 2 graphics, which should theoretically give it a serious advantage over the Sony PS5. The Xbox Series X gets a 1TB SSD while this also has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and can do up to 120fps frame rate. As far as the pricing goes, the Xbox Series S is priced at Rs 34,990 while the Xbox Series X will cost Rs 49,990. The Sony PlayStation 5 will cost Rs 49,990 in India, while the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition will cost Rs 39,990.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it is clear that the Sony PlayStation 5 has the performance advantage in terms of the game load speed, taking 23:30 seconds compared with 26:48 seconds for the Microsoft Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series S expectedly came in third, with a load time of 27:17 seconds. It isn’t clear why there is this performance difference, and whether it is CPU driven or because of the differential SSD speeds. This is interesting because Microsoft has used the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game extensively to promote the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles. Here also, the comparisons suggest that the refresh rate of the Series X regularly dives below 60fps, which is a very visible slowdown. if you have a newer TV that lets you enable variable refresh rate, it’ll soften the blow. If not, bad luck.
Similarly, in Devil May Cry 5, the Sony PlayStation 5 returns what is clearly a higher frame rate as well, with the performance difference being as high as 40fps at certain points—the PS5 returning more frames, no shuttering visible in the movement or no judder in ambient objects and therefore smoother visuals and better gameplay experience. The comparison also suggests that with the Ray Tracing mode enabled, the Xbox Series X doesn’t really show any advantage. “I don’t really have any technical explanation for it, except the sense you’re getting here is that PlayStation 5 spec wise is punching above its weight, and something is up with Xbox — which on paper at least should be significantly ahead,” says Digital Foundry editor Richard Leadbetter.
Further comparisons with the Dirt 5 game also indicate that the PS5 gets better of the Xbox Series X. The Digital Foundry comparisons indicate that in performance mode with the target for 120fps frame rate, the PS5 returns much better detailing and visual experience. In the Image Quality mode for better textures and a higher resolution count as a result, the PS5 again return better results than the Xbox Series X.
At this point, it really is hard to say whether there is a hardware driven performance bottleneck that is holding back the Microsoft Xbox Series X console in comparison with the Sony PlayStation 5, or that more than one game developer has messed up. That seems unlikely. Though it has to be said that patches released in the coming weeks should help smoothen things out for the Xbox Series X and bring it closer to the Sony PlayStation 5.