Sorry PS5, My Xbox Series X Has Unexpectedly Become My Preferred Console

Sorry PS5, My Xbox Series X Has Unexpectedly Become My Preferred Console
Graphic: Kotaku (Photos: Shutterstock, Microsoft, Sony)

I started this new generation of game consoles with the expectation that I would be playing most games on the PS5, like how I played most stuff on PS4 last gen. But nearly five months later, I’m spending most of my time on the Xbox Series X and now I feel bad, like I’m ignoring my PS5.

I was lucky enough to snag both new machines at launch. I didn’t use any special connections or industry contacts to get them. I just had a lot of tabs opened and began the hunt for consoles the moment preorders went live. At the time, I mainly got the Xbox Series X because I knew I would want to play Halo and a few other Microsoft exclusives. Besides, for the first time in my life, I had saved up money to buy both new consoles at launch. So why not buy both if I had the chance?

After both machines arrived in November, I mostly played the PS5. I got Godfall and Miles Morales. I beat Astro’s Playroom. I downloaded and played PS4 games like GTA Online and Red Dead Online. I had a good time. But over the last few months, things have changed.

In December, I got an Xbox Series X storage expansion card, giving me an extra 1TB of next-gen space. This is very useful as it lets me download and install more next-gen titles. On PS5, there is still no way to expand SSD storage, limiting how many big games like Call of Duty you can install at once. I also began to download more Xbox 360 and Xbox One games that I owned and found they played great on the new machine. Game Pass began to add more games to my growing list of stuff to play. I also started taking advantage of the ability to bounce between my Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Series X, with some games letting me play anywhere, no save transferring needed.

For example, Gears 5. I started replaying the game on Xbox One, then moved to PC, then moved to my Xbox Series X while my GF played something on the PC, and then moved to xCloud on my phone when I wanted to play in my living room near our fireplace during a cold night. And it just worked. I didn’t have to manage saves, installs, or anything. It was seamless. This also happened with Watch Dogs Legion. I started playing on Xbox One. Then I got my new console and booted the game up on Series X. All my progress, achievements, and saves were waiting for me. No fuss, no extra steps. Meanwhile, on PS5, I was able to move my saves over from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla but I didn’t get all my trophies. I also accidentally downloaded the PS4 version the first time I went to install it, which was annoying and a waste of time.

Another big reason I’ve spent more time on my Xbox is backward compatibility. Sure, almost every PS4 game works on PS5, but no PS3 or PS2 games work on the new machine. Over on the Xbox, I’ve been playing Xbox 360 games, Xbox One games, and even an original Xbox game. They look great too, thanks to the Auto HDR feature built into the new Xbox. And recently, older games got even better on Xbox Series X with the FPS Boost feature. It’s still limited, but being able to play through New Super Lucky’s Tale at 120 fps was fantastic. The Master Chief Collection also runs at 4K/120 fps and has become one of my most-played games of 2021. It’s also nifty that I can bounce over to the PC to keep making progress on my account.

Screenshot: CodemastersScreenshot: Codemasters

Game Pass is another big reason my PS5 is starting to collect some dust. I just downloaded Dirt 5 to my Xbox, which was recently added to Game Pass. I didn’t even turn on the console. I did it all via the easy-to-use Xbox app on my phone. In fact, I could just play it on my phone via xCloud, but I’m going to wait to play it on my big dumb 4K TV with 120 fps mode enabled.

I assume that as more big Sony games come out, like Horizon Forbidden West or Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, I’ll find myself spending more time on the PS5. But if you’re currently trying to buy a next-gen console, first off, good luck! Second, if you aren’t super picky, I think right now an Xbox Series X might be the best bet. Especially if you care about playing older games or are willing to pay up for Game Pass.

As I said earlier, I feel bad. My poor PS5 is over there, only being used for a few hours of RDO or GTA Online. I want to love it. I adored my PS4 and even the PSVR headset. It’s one of my favourite consoles of all time. But I can’t stop playing my Xbox Series X and I don’t want to. Sorry PS5. I’ll be back when Deathloop comes out. Promise!

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  • Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t you have to buy multiple copies of games for crossplay on different devices?

    And those xbox expansion cards are like $350. I’m hoping someone rigs up a usb or nvme interface to use your own memory.

    • Technically the answer is yes, but if you have Game Pass Ultimate then you have access to a number of the same games on Xbox, PC and Android (if you live in a country that supports xCloud, which doesn’t include Australia…)

      The value of have an Xbox is becoming increasingly tied up in also having Game Pass Ultimate, which seems fair given the value proposition.

    • As the other person said, gamepass ultimate gives you access on all devices (I think normal gamepass as well, but not sure)

      Fairly recently (2019 I think) they started doing some program when games you bought from the ms store would play on both PC and Xbox. I think they started doing it to all new first party releases as well

    • Yeah the expansion only comes in 1TB form and is pretty expensive. That said my 3TB external USB drive I used with my XBOX One does the job just fine. I didn’t even have to reformat it. Just unplugged it from the XBOX One and plugged it into the Series X.

  • If you have both consoles this was always going to happen. The xbox Eco system, controller, game pass etc. All are working way too well at the moment. Plus it has variable refresh rate as an option which, in my opionin is a big bonus. The only reason, and it’s a good reason, to boot up the ps5 is for the exclusives but they don’t have many at moment.

    Ps5 – exclusives
    Xbox – everything else

    • Pretty much how I look at it. PS5 for a handful of exclusives (so buy when it’s cheap) and then Xbox for everything else + their exclusives

  • I spent a few weeks around an Xbox, it was ‘fine’. There was nothing revolutionary. In itself that isnt bad, just safe and uninspiring. it did its thing great but honestly I have no time to see value in the all-you-can-eat games menu, its a great idea, especially for those doing it rough but it is just another all-you-can-eat entertainment sub to go with all the others. It all reminds me of the song Amused to Death.

    And pretty much quick resume is useless if playing games that dont support it and on PS5 you are into games even before you blink. Who has time haggling over seconds?

    Yes i have many teething issues with the PS5 but i find I would rather value in limited high quality than just have everything thrown at me to buy my affection and dazzle me with choice.

    BUT yes for people who are out of work and struggle financially i see how it is great option.

    • Not just people who are out of work, but for families. Game Pass is a godsend for people with multiple kids who all like to play different games. The addition of EA games is also great value if for nothing else but the EA Sports titles.

      In the end, both consoles are really doing their own thing, but they are extremely similar in third party titles. Exclusives are what make them special which are lacking on Xbox right now.

      • If you think about it, Game Pass is basically a massive exclusive for the Xbox. Their is nothing that can match it in the PS ecosystem.

        I remember watching the Xbox event last year showcasing new games coming to the system and thinking to myself, I can play all of these on release without having to fork out $60-100. There were games shown there that I would never spend money on, but was totally willing to give them a go.

        I then watched the Sony event and thought, yeah they look good but I probably wont buy even half of these in the sale bin, let alone on release.

        • I agree, I can name multiple games that I tried on Game Pass on a whim due to the zero barrier to entry and I ended up enjoying them such as Bloodstained, Spiritfarer, Children of Morta, Streets of Rage and the list goes on and on.

          I think people often look at Game Pass and say, huh, there’s none (they’d be wrong) or few really big hitters on there, but the brilliance is the sheer variety of things to try and play.

          • It’s also great if you have kids around. They can go down the list trying stuff out without making your wallet cry.

  • I’m looking forward to the eventual comments on how Game Pass is the Worst Thing Ever, once more people come to grips with the fact its the Netflix system… they just randomly remove titles from it after a period of time.

    • Well first of all the first party games games stay on there permanantly – this includes all the studios ms now owns (bethesda, relic, obsidion, playground games, ninja theory, double fine, etc) – giving you permanant access to minecraft, halo, gears, forza, wolfenstein, sea of thieves, doom, fallout, fable, flight simulator, age of empires, outer worlds, etc. the list goes on and on.

      Second of all it includes permanant access to EAs back catalog – Battlefield, FIFA, Madden, Battlefront, NFS, Titanfall, Mass effect, etc.

      And thirdly, if you want to keep any of the other games permananly you have the option to purchase them at a discounted rate the entire time they are in GamePass.

      • I think you will find older Forzas will drop off. Something to do with music licensing and Microsoft does eventually decommission their servers

    • People, like yourself, who try so hard to poke holes in gamepass actually look very very stupid. Of course gamepass (Microsoft) doesn’t own the rights to a game forever.

      You sound like someone who has never even used the service.

  • How much do people get paid to write stories about how they love a box with zero games because F I’ll take some. Gotta afford those $70 PlayStation games.

    • Zero games? Come on. Also, PS5 exclusives are $120+ in Australia, FWIW. (Some can be cheaper at retail if they’re multiplat, but things like Demon’s Souls aren’t.)

    • “Zero games”? Have you seen the backwards compatible library? Not all of us stay on top of every console launch. I’ve been having fun playing a bunch of 360 and last gen games I missed out on.

  • I’m expecting this to turn out to be the case in the event that I can actually get ahold of one, but I’m definitely not in the ‘2 next-gen consoles at once’ market at this stage of the generation’s lifespan. I’ll get the inevitable x.5 upgrade, most likely, whenever they get around to making it.

    • I agree with you there (though I am the mirror image in that I have the Series X) and are now looking at the PS5 saying, do I REALLY need it right now? How long til there’s a PS5 Pro?

  • I’m lucky to have both, and I play both regularly. The only point that’s not really referred to in the arguments is that PS have largely remastered all the ‘required 1st party games’ from the PS1 through PS3 era (same with Xbox), so I’m not really missing the PS3 game library. Also, PS Now if it was available in Australia, fills that hole so advantage to Xbox in Australia I guess. But both consoles succeeding means cheaper games and better quality, so here’s to competition!

    • PSNow is not even close to being on the same level as gamepass. Adding PSPlus still wouldn’t be the same and then you have Gamepass Ultimate anyway.

  • Author starts flame post, flames are seen in comments. Pretty weak imo

    I got a PS5 and it will most likely remain my main console.

    Soon as I can get a XBSX off the shelf I will, just for game pass. I will just dip in and out on it.

    Stills seems weird to be excited to buy a new console with the proviso that I will never “buy” a game on it.

  • Maybe im alone here, BUT, Sony for a while now (last 3 gen), really struggles with the launch window.
    Their strength is exclusives, and they just dont have enough yet.
    So the strength for both sides is upgrading old games at the moment.
    The one that does it ‘better’ is going to be seen as doing better.

  • This is a very good endorsement article.
    “This is why I like it more”
    “This is another reason why”

    Instead of just highlighting why you find the XSX so successful, you make it comparative to rile certain people up.

    An amazing console with some great features indeed. Mostly around being able to play last gen games with last gen interface and last gen haptics.
    You basically could just have a PC and enjoy game pass from there. None of the things shared are exclusive to XSX.

    And it seems like things in this post are just mentioned for the sake of highlighting a feature, not because it’s the real experience.

  • As an Xbox One X owner for me I just didn’t feel the series X would offer much of a change. The UI is the same as the original Xbox one.

    The PS5 on the hand to me at least, feels actually next gen. The controller changes the game. The exclusives are just too good and anything that comes out on the Xbox will come to PC anyway.

    I don’t think you can go wrong both are nice consoles but for me the PS5 is the more interesting proposition this generation.

    • Why are people so hung up on Microsoft not changing the UI this generation. Microsoft was criticised with the blades on the 360, and then the windows seven style of the Xbox one. They decided not to reinvent the wheel for the series X/S interface and they still get torn to shreds.

      Honestly it feels like Microsoft struggle for public approval despite all the good will they bank with their consumer friendly strategies over the current and last generation consoles.

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