Community Review: Xbox Series X vs. PS5 Messaging

community review xbox series x ps5

We're still waiting for a sense of what gameplay on the PlayStation 5 will look like. But as far as the next-gen consoles goes, there's already one battleground that fans can thoroughly assess both companies on: the marketing.

Probably the first major shot across the bow with the Xbox Series X came last year. When Phil Spencer used The Game Awards to showcase the name and look of their next-gen console, it was a massive divergence in the traditional approach for Microsoft - and a contrast with how Sony has marketed the PlayStation 5 so far.

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The initial reveal of details for the PlayStation 5 was done via a media interview with WIRED. It was there, a very classic, oldschool PR move, where Mark Cerny talked about the PS5's architecture, while showing off the console's loading times behind closed doors. Things like ray-tracing were mentioned, but not shown. Sony wouldn't even confirm that the console would be called the PlayStation 5 at that stage, even though the choice was so plainly obvious it seemed a bit silly not to just confirm it out of the gate.

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Microsoft's approach has been a little more aggressive, although that eagerness hasn't always paid off dividends. Aaron Greenberg, Xbox's head of marketing, acknowledged on Twitter last week that Microsoft's messaging around the Xbox Series X "gameplay" stream was overcooked, with more sneak peeks than gameplay. That said, the company's front-foot approach has allowed it to be in the headlines more often, whether its by talking around backward compatibility, their Smart Delivery feature, or just more regular virtual showcases. (Remember Sony's last State of Play?)

Something neither Sony or Microsoft has really done to date is tangibly show the next generation power of either console, something we'll hopefully see in the coming weeks. A lot of the games shown during the Xbox Series X reveal looked like they were running on current-gen hardware. As for Sony, most of their features revealed during Cerny's GDC-esque talk seemed a little too pie-in-the-sky, features that only the most talented PlayStation developers might use in certain situations.

All that talk of SSDs and faster I/O being able to change level design so we're not stuck behind mountains and going around corridors? That sounds great, but I'd love to actually see it in practice.

So for today's Community Review, I want to hear your take. How have you found the marketing and messaging from the console manufacturers so far - and what pitches could they make that would convince you to invest in a PS5/Xbox Series X at launch?


    I haven't really been following either closely. I'm still not sure if Xbox Series X is a single new console or the name of multiple consoles Microsoft is releasing. On the other hand, I wasn't aware information about the PS5 had even been shared beyond the name. So I can't say either one is really wowing me so far.

    The Marketing from both sides has left me realising that I will be in no hurry to upgrade for the next few years.

    The launch of the new Xbox will have potentially very interesting reactions with game pass. This could be the first system without a great need to ever buy a game. It'll also push people to start upgrading quicker, especially if the games being added specifically for next gen means support for the Xbox One starts to dry up.

    Sony earned heaps of good will (whether warranted or not, I'm not going to argue) and Microsoft earned heaps of scorn at the beginning of the generation.

    Microsoft being well behind Sony have made them come out with a better plan. They have to win people back and are trying hard to implement stuff for gamers with Game Pass, Backwards Compatibility, all your stuff coming forward with you like controllers, games, etc and have done, I think, a great job.

    Sony are in the enviable position of being able to say, 'We are releasing a new console' and that'll be enough for them to move a decent amount of units into 2021.

    I think overall, Microsoft have done a much better job of giving people information, but then they have to be on the front foot here or everyone's going straight for the PS5 Buy Now button...

    From the top down, it looks like the Xbox might have the slight edge in raw grunt power, and we will see in November (hopefully it is November!) which console works better with third party, but it's also important to see the price point. And so far, no one is wanting to go first there..

    I'm used to the PlayStation controllers, all my games have been on PlayStation, I don't see the point in switching to Xbox. I'm sure there are a lot others in the same boat as me. Sony just needs to not stuff up and they will be fine.

    It all seems a little half-hearted by both camps so far. I don't know if it's just because we're still a long way from launch or maybe they're still not confident of being able to launch this year, or possibly not globally or not in the kinds of numbers they'd like to. Not much point building up all that hype only to disappoint people when they find out they can't get one.

    Like always PlayStation seems to be continuing its trend... just being a games console that is going to let itself and it’s games do the talking and Microsoft seems to be continuing its trend of making a Frankenstein’s monster type thing that apparently does everything. Xbox For me has always been this flashy and desperate person jumping up and down screaming look at me. EG turn on the machine, having to shift through multiple menus of upselling stuff that I have no interest in, turn on a PS4 the first thing I see are my games, just my games, I have to seek out advertising. Likewise this new Xbox has a silly name, a non standard size box that is going to look out of place in a lounge room, if it could even fit in people’s shelves.

    I like that the new Sony is simply PS5, they don’t need a stupid and ridiculous name. And I like the fact we haven’t seen anything, they don’t have anything particular to prove. But Xbox is like a desperate friend wearing a silly outfit to the pub for the lols

      Of course its all 'silly' when you're biased against one over the other, and misrepresenting things as you go.

      The first thing I see on my Xbox when I turn it on are the last things I was using it for, whether games, streaming apps, whatever.

      It shows me the things I've been using it for on boot up... How incredibly inconvenient.

        It shows me ads for things like Xbox Live, Game Pass. It says I should be watching Mixer (never used ever), some days it is trying to get me to buy some game I have no interest in, nor is even related to what I am playing, it is just whatever game that a publisher has offer them money to advertise. It is better than it used to be but it is still terrible, the whole dashboard is about clutter and money. PS4 just has your games, anything else you have to seek out. The only time you ever seen any advertising AT ALL is during their huge sales and even then, it is a single tile. Even their generic shop tile does not show you any advertising.

        it has nothing to do with bias, it is merely an observation. Xbox shoves advertising in your face, PS4 doesnt.

        And yes Xbox Series X is silly, it doesnt even make sense, going from Xbox One X, to Xbox series X. The most silliest Microsoft naming since um um, windows vista... nah Windows ME.

    Such bias here... I'm amazed. Microsoft has been so open upfront, adding amazing backwards compatibility every xbox game ever, a massively over powered console that rivals modern day gaming PC's and much more. Heck, they ahev even allowed people to all rip open the next xbox and see what's inside it. They only thing they haven't done is giev exact price or release date.

    Sony has almost done nothing except give out and few specs (not as great as Microsoft's sepcs either) and pictures of a controller.

    Forget who you like more, from a marketing point Microsoft is destroying it.

      Except they don't have backwards compatibility to every Xbox game ever. Only a tiny fraction of the Xbox games I own are on the list. If it actually was every Xbox game ever I'd consider buying one, but until that fantasy becomes a reality then there isn't anything that interests me enough to pick one up.

        The new console will all current xbox one games and over 600 xbox 360 and original xbox games with more to come. That's pretty sweet I reckon.

        Anyway, the point is the marketing.

        If we are only comparing Sony to Microsoft from an unbiased viewpoint, then Sony is way behind if you are looking at backwards compatibility as a feature. There's still no concrete evidence that ALL PS4 games will run well (they most likely will), but Microsoft has already said all Xbox One games will run, some with enhancements. Their X360 backwards compatibility is also pretty good for something that was introduced mid generation. XB One controllers working forward is actually pretty good too as I have 3-4 of those, so no need to shell out another $200 on next gen controllers at launch.

        I agree that OG Xbox games are lacking, but it's not like Sony is giving you ANYTHING from PS3 or PS2 for free.

        So, IMO, from a BC standpoint, Microsoft is definitely doing better than Sony.

          I was only replying to the statement in the OP about all Xbox games being backwards compatible, which was factually wrong. It is indeed primarily the OG Xbox games that I'm having to keep buying new OG Xboxes to play the games of, since even PC emulators haven't been able to get Snowblind engine games running in anything I'd consider a 'playable' state.

          There are some pretty sizeable gaps in the 360 back catalogue, for some reason a number of the Tecmo games that are exclusive to Xbox are missing from it.

          I was in no way comparing Sony's compatibility attempts, or Nintendo's for that count, who are also on the 're-buy everything again each generation' bandwagon. So Microsoft does have the better in those regards, but still not the games I want to replay to justify buying a new console. :)

            I can appreciate technically it isn't all Xbox games, only all Xbox One games. So if that's your tipping point, it's not going to sway you.

            It would be great if they could get OG Xbox games running and there's no reason something as powerful as the Xbox Series X couldn't get them running other than it takes a lot of manpower to have something like that happening for little monetary gain.

            I've always heard most people want backwards compat but never use it. That probably is true, but I know from my own experience, I have loved going back this gen and playing X360 and even a couple of OG XB games. I even did a run on PS3 preowned games to just go back and fill some gaming gaps.

    Timing is everything. Too soon, and people will tire of one thing and be interested in the other. Too late, and it will be hard to challenge the buy-in of the competitor.
    I feel that Microsoft may be in the former category, and people are already tiring of hearing "how great our console with all the X's is". The eagerness for PS5's info is still there.

    (This is just my impression)

    People might think that Microsoft is being overeager with its messaging, but apart from kinda needing to, honestly, I have much more faith in investing in the Xbox platform than say, Playstation at the moment.

    1\ All my current peripherals (controllers, etc) will work on next Xbox
    2\ All the games I buy will be available, and will look and run better as well.
    3\ And lastly, we know Microsoft's console is faster, so I will have the best experience of any multiplat title on Xbox.

    Those are huge selling points to me personally, and although I'll almost certainly buy a PS5 as well (as I'm a whore), it will be where more of my attention is directed.

      3\ And lastly, we know Microsoft's console is faster, so I will have the best experience of any multiplat title on Xbox.

      Having a faster CPU doesn't equate to being a more powerful system as a whole. The PS5's GPU is clocked faster for example, which is going to affect games much more noticeably visually. Interestingly the Series X GPU will be capable of more TFLOPS though, so we'll see how that shapes up.

      The PS5 will also have all of its 16GB of RAM running at the same speed (448GBps) compared to the Series X which for some reason splits its 16GB into 10 of it running faster than the PS5 (560GBps) and 6 of it running slower (336GBps). Who knows why, but that's going to create some inconsistency and some headaches for developers.

      The custom SSD Sony has included in the PS5 will likely be faster than the SSD in the Series X too, meaning games will load faster, though granted the Series X will have a bit more storage capacity.

      If you care about VR, the PS5 will also continue to support PSVR while MS hasn't announced any plans in that area yet. If you don't care about VR then this won't be important to you, but it may be important to others.

      Basically you gotta see how the package comes together as a whole before you can definitively say which one will have the better multiplat experience.

        The PS5's GPU is clocked faster for example, which is going to affect games much more noticeably visually.
        clocked faster, but with half the gpu cores compared to the xbox. thats slower overall.
        The custom SSD Sony has included in the PS5 will likely be faster than the SSD in the Series X too, meaning games will load faster
        not likely. an ssd alleviates a bottleneck of the slow performing mechanical hard drives, but even a SATA SSD is limited primarily by CPU speed when loading games. if there is any improvement in the SSD of the PS5, it will likely be offset by the faster CPU of the XBOX.
        The PS5 will also have all of its 16GB of RAM running at the same speed (448GBps) compared to the Series X which for some reason splits its 16GB into 10 of it running faster than the PS5 (560GBps) and 6 of it running slower (336GBps).
        that'll be the real test. for a developer who spends the time to use it properly, no difference, not everything in ram has the same demands. but for the majority of 3rd party titles designed to work across both consoles, are they going to bother doing that?

    Microsoft didn't get where they are today by being good at advertising and messaging, and the Series X hasn't changed that at all. The messaging around the console so far has been terrible, and while it might be a better system than what Sony are putting out, that isn't going to matter if they continue to not be able to sell their vision of gaming to people.

    Sony are winning by barely doing anything, which tells you how bad Microsoft are messing it up, again.

    We're still waiting for a sense of what gameplay on the PlayStation 5 will look like.

    We're also waiting to see what actual gameplay on the Xbox Series X will look like too.

    I can't see myself getting an Xbox Series X if its anything like last gen where they have no exclusives that aren't bursting with micro transactions.

    The PS4 put out a load of exclusive well crafted single player experiences that weren't loaded with scam "Time Savers" and if they do the same this generation then the PS5 will be my console of choice.

    If there are no good games then nothing else really matters.

    I'm still on the fence about whether I really care about the next gen or not. So far all of it is just making me feel like sticking with my PS4 and buying a good PC because these days most of the games coming to consoles either started as PC games or have been ported. Sony has also said they'll be bringing a number of their games to PC and UWP is still... whatever it is.

    Plus I don't have as much free time as I used to these days so there's not as much reason/justification to have multiple platforms. That and my friends are PC players when it comes to co-op games.

      You can also often get PC games a lot cheaper due to having multiple places to buy them from and various bundles and deals, if your friends are already there it sounds like a great transition to make.

    I'm content with my PS4 for now.
    I'm sure I will upgrade to a PS5 but probably not for at least a year.... honestly though, really depends on the games.

    I'm lucky enough to own a PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X - and I play all three, albeit I bounce from game to game until I'm done so never spend too much time on one platform. I will say though - we need both succeeding and Xbox and PS need each other. Without competition, there is NO innovation. Sure, Google & Amazon could make a console but they won't. So let's just celebrate innovation and rightly call bullshit on bad marketing. Both of them make plenty of mistakes (has anyone been able to buy a Dualshock back button since Feb?, why has the Xbox One Elite controller been so poor from a reliability point of view? Why was the original PS4 pro so loud? Where are Xbox's first party games? etc.), and they're both not perfect. What I will hope for though is better clarity from both in terms of 'exclusives' - that word has lost all meaning now and we have to wait until publishers actually clarify the situation (if they're allowed to). I personally won't buy either at launch, launch editions of consoles are terrible in terms of reliability. They usually improve 6-12 months after launching once all the defects are ironed out. Remember the Switch controller drift gate?

      Last I heard the drift is still an ongoing concern, which Nintendo hasn't been bothered to fix besides replacing faulty controllers.

        I meant to say the 'Left Switch' problem where the connectivity would drop, supposedly down to poor wiring. Yes, the drift is always there - even on my Joy Cons that I recently replaced.

    If I was Sony I would let Last Of Us 2 come out, harvest all it's 9's and 10's, sell 12 million units and then start ramping up PS5 messaging hard. Remind the user base that this is a franchise worth buying a console for.

      if thats the case, surely the last of us 2 would just drive everyone to microsoft?

        Why is that? Wouldn't everyone want the PS5 so they can play the next in the series? (presuming there is one)

    I just don't care about the marketing tbh. Show me the games that make the system worth buying. Atm Microsoft offers me nothing I can't do better on my PC. PlayStation has had exclusives worth buying since the ps1... Xbox hasn't had system sellers for generations.... if ever.

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