On paper, the difference between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X’s hardware specifications is smaller than any previous console generation, but early analysis from sites like Digital Foundry have pegged Sony’s next-gen system as marginally superior in some early multiformat face-offs. We’re talking minuscule stuff, really – a few frames in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and some additional details in DIRT 5.
The problem is, Microsoft has marketed its machine as the most powerful console ever made, but the results aren’t really showing that so far. Some have pointed to an immature Xbox development environment as the reason for the differences; others have argued that Sony simply didn’t get enough credit for its console design in the pre-release period. Either way, it’s prompted a statement from the Team in Green.
“We are aware of performance issues in a handful of optimised titles on Xbox Series X|S and are actively working with our partners to identify and resolve the issues to ensure an optimal experience,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “As we begin a new console generation, our partners are just now scratching the surface of what next-gen consoles can do and minor bug fixes are expected as they learn how to take full advantage of our new platform. We are eager to continue working with developers to further explore the capability of Xbox Series X|S in the future.”
A patch actually released for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla earlier this week, adding in Performance and Resolution modes which may have levelled the playing field. Of course, Sony will also be working with development partners to ensure they’re also getting the most out of the PS5, so in terms of console comparisons we may be looking at the most level playing field ever.
We still maintain that a few frames or pixels here or there don’t mean much; honestly, if you need a Digital Foundry analysis to spell out the differences, then how much does any of this actually matter? We suppose the issue here lies with Microsoft’s marketing: it really did advertise its console as the most powerful, so these results undermine that. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress over the course of the generation.