Gabe Newell may not want to check his social media notifications after appearing on a New Zealand television show today, because he was asked whether he prefers the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X – and, well, his answer won’t earn him a Christmas card from Sony bigwig Jim Ryan. The Valve co-founder, who’s been quarantining overseas for several months, was unflinching when he selected Microsoft’s system.
Asked to elaborate on why he prefers the Redmond firm’s format, he simply answered: “Er, because it is.” He went on to clarify: “I don’t have a stake in that race. Obviously, we do most of our development on personal computers, but of the two I would definitely go with an Xbox.” To be fair, Valve has generally enjoyed a stronger relationship with Microsoft dating back to the Left 4 Dead days, but Portal 2’s release on the PlayStation 3 did help to thaw relations somewhat.
With so little context to the statement, it’s unclear why Newell feels the way he does. In terms of PS5 vs Xbox Series X tech specs, Microsoft’s machine has a marginal teraflops advantage – although the speed of Sony’s system is significantly faster. It’s a slightly disappointing comment because we had hoped that Half-Life: Alyx would eventually make its way to a hypothetical next-gen PSVR headset, but then we suppose Newell’s personal preferences wouldn’t exactly prevent that from happening anyway.