I’ve been experimenting with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X for the past few months because I wanted to see if it could replace Sony’s PlayStation 5 console in my heart. I’ve been using the PlayStation 5 since its launch, and before that, the PlayStation 4. That said, I was an Xbox 360 player, so getting back to the world of Microsoft has been an interesting experience after all this time.
When I picked up the Xbox Series X, I was skeptical that it would offer real value over PlayStation’s premiere console, and while I don’t outright state which one is better in this story, Microsoft’s console offers several advantages.
How it went
I’ve used the Xbox Series X for about three months, and during that time, I didn’t play it every day, and it also wasn’t a half-and-half situation. For the most part, I still spent a lot of time on the PlayStation 5 — not because I outright preferred it, but because I play a lot of Overwatch 2 and my friends and I talk over the console’s voice chat. I also played Hogwarts Legacy on the PlayStation 5 because it offered exclusive content on Sony’s console. That’s not to say I haven’t spent dozens of hours using the Xbox Series X over the last few months, however.
In fact, there have been weeks where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time only using Microsoft’s flagship system. What attracts me to the console is its Game Pass Ultimate membership, which is still unrivalled across the video game industry. Of course, PlayStation has PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium, but in its current state, it pales compared to Game Pass.
Game Pass Ultimate immediately gave me a library of dozens of great games on the Series X, allowing me to try out several titles I otherwise wouldn’t have. With all that said, there are a few reasons why I think Game Pass’s offering is better than PlayStation’s and what keeps me returning to the console.
“…Playing most titles on Xbox Series X didn’t feel notably different than on the PS5.”
I love that Game Pass Ultimate gets new triple-A titles as soon as they come out. PlayStation’s subscription service, on the other hand, doesn’t release new games right when they launch. In fact, only a few indies have been released at launch, including Stray and Tchia.
With Game Pass, I was impressed with titles like Atomic Heart and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and I was ecstatic that I could play them on their release date. With Game Pass Ultimate, you can preload these titles in advance, another useful feature. For example, one of the games you can download ahead of time is Redfall, an upcoming co-op first-person shooter I’m excited about.
Speaking of games, playing most titles on Xbox Series X didn’t feel notably different than on the PS5. That said, I found the Series X’s controller awkward and thick, and I’m still more of a fan of the PS5’s DualSense because it’s thinner and aesthetically more pleasing.
Other Game Pass titles I played included Weird West, which I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing, along with Grounded and Minecraft Dungeons.
Game Pass Ultimate offers so many titles, and I love its freedom. It feels like being back in the era when you could rent games, allowing you to try them out before buying them — and if you don’t like the title, it’s not a significant loss. For example, playing Atomic Heart without buying it outright was useful. I learned that I really didn’t like the overt sexual tone of one of the NPCs and decided to stop playing.
Sony and PlayStation could catch up to Game Pass one day, but the company would need to add newly released first-party titles (and I don’t see that ever happening), but until then, Game Pass Ultimate has my heart.
At the moment, Microsoft has no exclusives that attract me to the console on the same level as Sony’s God of War: Ragnarök or Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. While I like Grounded and Halo Infinite, they don’t make me feel that I need to purchase an Xbox. However, with Bethesda’s offerings like Starfield and Redfall on the horizon, I’m glad I have a Series X to play. I’m also intrigued by Hi-Fi Rush. Thankfully, all these exclusives are available on Game Pass.
While Sony has launched a couple of games on PS Plus Extra, I won’t consider purchasing that until all first-party exclusives are released on its game subscription service (which probably will never happen).
Aside from Game Pass, I’m a big fan of the Xbox Series X’s ‘Quick Resume’ feature. It allows players to hop back into a game without menus, even after the console is off. I wish the PS5 offered similar functionality; it’s good at starting games up quickly, but jumping right into the game with Quick Resume is even faster.
I also liked how much smaller and lighter the Series X is compared to the PS5. Typically if I’m staying at my parent’s place for the holidays, I avoid bringing my PS5 because it’s too big to move around easily. On the other hand, the Series X is easy to carry. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it portable, but it’s a lot easier to pack into a bag and take with you than Sony’s console.
PS5 or Series X?
I’m not totally sold on switching to the Series X, but that’s mostly because my friends are still on Sony’s console. Overall, based on my experience, I don’t necessarily find one console better, but Game Pass and Quick Resume are top-of-the-line features that I wish Sony’s PS5 offered.
With this in mind, unless a game or content is exclusive to the PS5, I might buy it on Xbox instead. And with Game Pass, having exclusive titles like Redfall and triple-A content on release day like Lies of P (my most anticipated title of the year) available through the subscription service, Xbox is difficult to beat.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $16.99/month and includes access to EA Play, game streaming and the PC version of Game Pass. The Xbox Series X costs $599.99. Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service is available in several tiers, including ‘Premium,’ $21.99/month ‘Extra,’ $17.99/month ‘Essential’ $11.99/month. The PlayStation 5 costs $649.
The Xbox Series X is available at Amazon for $685.
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