Sony's PlayStation 5 Digital Edition console is set to go up against Microsoft's Xbox Series S this holiday season and recent leaks regarding Microsoft's Project Lockhart have finally given us enough info on how these two digital-only consoles size up. Both consoles are looking to blow gamers away later this year with next-gen graphics and innovative new features, but it's time to ask that big question on everyone's mind:
Is the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition better than the Xbox Series S?
While that may be a loaded question rife with discussion and disagreements, we're looking to to get a definitive answer for those who can't decide between Microsoft's next big console or Sony's upcoming home entertainment system.
- HOT! Ghost of Tsushima review
- PS5 Guide: PlayStation 5 console and games up close
- PS5 Pre-Order Guide: release date, price, and where to order
- PS5 Reveal Event: first look at Sony's PlayStation 5 console and hardware
But before we answer that question, let's recap what Sony has revealed regarding the PS5 Digital Edition and what exactly the differences are between the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition...
What is the PS5 Digital Edition?
Sony's PlayStation 5 Digital Edition was revealed earlier this year during Sony's PS5 reveal event as an alternative to the standard PlayStation 5 console. While both versions of Sony's upcoming home entertainment system are designed to deliver a complete next-gen console experience, there are two main differences between the standard PS5 console and the PS5 Digital Edition.
Firstly, the PS5 Digital Edition will not include the built-in 4K Blu-Ray disc drive. The PS5 Digital instead opts to make the entire gaming experience completely digital via game downloads and streaming. That means players can either download digital game copies directly to the console's built-in solid state drive via Sony's online store or play PS5 games via game streaming services (which Sony has confirmed will be available with the PlayStation 5!)
Secondly, the PS5 Digital Edition price will start at $399 and will go up from there depending on the edition you purchase – $100 cheaper than the standard PlayStation 5 console's current $499 price tag. While the price difference may not seem like much, it's important to note that unlike Microsoft's Xbox Series S specs both the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition will run on the exact same hardware with the exact same specs.
Is the PS5 Digital Edition better than the Xbox Series S?
We've still got a few months to go before we get hands-on time with the next-gen gaming consoles, but it's a safe bet that the PS5 Digital Edition will be slightly more powerful than the Xbox Series S.
While the PS5 hardware and the Xbox Series X hardware are quite similar, Microsoft's console has a bit of an edge when it comes to actual numbers. This doesn't seem to be the case with Microsoft's digital-only Xbox Series S.
Microsoft has yet to officially confirm the exact specs and tuning of the Xbox Series S console, but recent leaks and speculation we can expect the exact same hardware as the Xbox Series X with one major difference: the Xbox Series S GPU will be under-clocked to a lower frequency and may have less CU counts.
This gives Sony's digital-only PlayStation 5 a bit of an advantage, since Sony has confirmed that the PS5 Digital Edition specs will be identical to the standard version. With the digital-only edition of the PS5 running on the exact same hardware at the exact same specs as the standard PlayStation 5 console, anyone looking to save $100 can go straight for Sony's digital edition console without sacrificing performance.
Should you buy the PS5 Digital Edition or the Xbox Series S?
While both consoles are sure to deliver an incredible gaming experience, the next console generation comes down to almost microscopic differences in terms of specs and performance. Both are powered by custom AMD hardware, both will offer a true 4K gaming experience and both will showcase next-gen graphics the likes of which have yet to be seen in a home entertainment system.
What both Microsoft and Sony really need to focus on this generation is the digital-only performance aspect of their respective consoles. While game streaming services have been around for years, they've usually been sub-par and in most cases not worth the money.
Thankfully, Microsoft and Sony are actually working together this time around (opens in new tab) to take this challenge head on and bring us into the future of digital-only gaming and streaming. Will they be successful in showing the masses that game streaming is a viable alternative to disc-based gaming? Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until the holiday season to find out.