Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. The new generation of consoles - great success or huge disappointment? The new generation consoles have been with us for several weeks, so the emotions have subsided a bit and we can look at Microsoft and Sony devices with a cool eye. Will they pass this test? Let's find out.

The new generation is always a big event for console players, and probably regardless of their age, because although we thought that we already have enough years on our necks to approach it calmly, the excitement was also shared by us. On the one hand, maybe that's a good thing, because if it wasn't for the pre-sale purchases of both consoles, we would probably not be able to write this text for you now (or at least based on several weeks of experience, because there is not so much time with the copies borrowed for testing). Why? Here we come to the first glitch, which for many players was like a bucket of cold water, namely the problems with the availability of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (the Series S version is deliberately omitted, because it cannot quite be called a new generation console and most of the issues described here are not will concern her).

Catch me if you can

Before the premiere, everything looked great, and the announcements of both producers confirmed our belief that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the situation is under control and when the next genes are released, all interested parties will be able to enjoy them. Well, unfortunately ... it was just talk, because the launch of pre-release orders showed well that the problems are serious. Especially in the case of Sony, which additionally played the start of pre-orders poorly, namely it did not set one hour, but only the date, so the stores did what they wanted, facilitating the work of ... speculators. Yes, the PlayStation 5 has sold out, and as we could find out later, a significant proportion of the copies went to retailers who are now selling them at inflated prices (up to three times the suggested price!). Microsoft, which had a few more days to organize and experience the rival, did much better, thanks to which we managed to avoid a mess.

Well, on the day of the market premiere of the Xbox X Series you could even buy in stationary stores (we saw with our own eyes), and Sony canceled such a premiere - it is true that we were soothed with safety in the pandemic era, but we all know how it was, especially in stores online consoles were also like medicine. Anyway, at the moment we can practically forget about buying a PlayStation 5 for Christmas, and in the case of the Xbox Series X you also have to be careful, because although Microsoft is more effective in filling the shortages in stock, the closer to Christmas, the less available the console is. Both manufacturers hope that such inconveniences will be forgotten by the end of the first quarter of next year, so take their word for it.

Air purifier or refrigerator?

Let's assume, however, that we are one of the lucky ones who managed to buy consoles and we are just unpacking the carton to connect the devices to the TV. What appears to our eyes? Quite controversial stylistic solutions, which should not be a surprise after the console presentations, and yet ... The shock is definitely greater with PlayStation 5, because although we knew the dimensions of the device, in practice it turns out to be very large and probably only the famous RAMBO, i.e. the Atari 2600 clone can equal to him, and that's not all. The PS5 is white, asymmetrical and quite futuristic (we've already heard of people telling wives it's an air purifier!), So there's no question of it being unobtrusive, which not everyone will like ... especially in combination with blue backlight. Sony also did not best solve the issue of changing the orientation of the console, because the stand included in the set is literally a piece of plastic that does not quite fulfill its task. If we want to put the console, we screw it on with a quick-release screw, the device looks better then and takes up relatively less space, but it is not an option everywhere, because it often covers the TV. Maybe it is lying down? It looks weak, but it is lower, but the stand is not screwed on then and it can release the console when, for example, we try to move or clean it. So bad and so bad.

Fortunately, in the case of the Xbox Series X there are no such problems, although there were comments here that the design of the console resembles a refrigerator (and Microsoft even made an advertising campaign of it by producing real refrigerators). We get a black, smooth cuboid, which for a change blends into the surroundings and in our case looks practically the same as the center speaker of the home theater. We do not hide that this is an option that definitely suits us better, although the console is also of the right size and weight, and in addition it does not cause any problems with the aforementioned change of orientation ... we just set the console as we feel comfortable, without stands, clips, screws and swinging sideways. The second and that's it. What's more, although it may seem that this matte black attracts dust more, PlayStation 5 definitely looks worse in this respect more often, and you can also find information on discoloration on white panels on the web. In both cases, however, the quiet operation of the devices, which results directly from the larger dimensions, is a plus - the previous generation could be very loud, and this one cannot be heard.

Change in the leadership position?

A separate paragraph should also be given to controllers for new consoles, because there have been significant changes here, at least in one case. So let's start with the latter - Microsoft apparently assumed that better is the enemy of the good and limited itself to a few cosmetic changes, such as a slightly different directional pad or the surface of the handles. This means we still get the same phenomenal controller that we know and value, with literally one extra button. This has its advantages, of course, because thanks to this, Microsoft has retained full compatibility of its accessories between generations, which, unfortunately, cannot be said about Sony.

Only this time it may be a bit too little, because Sony chose a revolution by completely changing its pad, DualShock had to give way to DualSense, and this one has several arguments up its sleeve that may convince many players. First of all, the controller is bigger, heavier and finally doesn't feel like a plastic toy, and it offers two completely new technologies. And we're talking about haptic vibrations and adaptive triggers, which allow for a completely new gaming experience - the first is responsible for increasing realism through different vibrations for various events in the game, e.g. changing the ground in racing games or recoil of weapons in shooters, and the second allows you to program variables tension under the triggers, thanks to which it is completely different to pull the string of the bow or try to throw a NBA player surrounded by defenders. It really works and when it comes to controllers, in the case of PlayStation 5 it is undoubtedly a new generation.

Show your baby what's inside

But to the point, because only what's inside counts, right? Even before the premiere, we heard about all those power teraflops that tell most of us little, but boiled down to the fact that the Xbox Series X is to be the most powerful console ever, and PlayStation 5 is placed right behind it. However, it should be remembered that the differences between the consoles are, in fact, cosmetic, because they have practically the same components. And yes, in the first case we have 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM, a fast SSD with a capacity of 1 TB, 8-core Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.8 GHz and GPU Navi based on the new RDNA architecture, which offers computing power at the level of 12 teraflops, and in the second - 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM, a fast SSD with a capacity of 825 GB, 8-core Zen 2 clocked at 3.5 and GPU Navi based on the same RDNA architecture, which translates into 10.28 teraflops of computing power.

As we well know, however, it is not only about the components, so in the end, the consoles offer practically the same possibilities and technologies as 4K gameplay at 120 fps with HDR or real-time ray tracing, which provides realistic lighting. Interestingly, in some productions the Japanese console is doing better, so it will probably take some time to see if the advantage on paper will translate into something. There is no denying, however, that there is one difference that matters right now and that is disk capacity. With the size of modern games (over 100 GB, and with record holders even 250 GB - yes, Call of Duty is crazy!), The disks of both new consoles are too small, but in the case of PlayStation 5 it is definitely worse. In the Xbox Series X we get over 800 GB, and in the PS5 only 660 GB, so it is enough for literally a few games. Well, maybe an external drive or a second SSD inside? Yes, but ... in the case of the Xbox, we have special discs in the form of cartridges for only PLN 1000, and in the case of the PS5, the expansion option will be, but someday ... in the future, undefined. What about external drives? We can only keep games from the previous generation on them, because they do not work with the new ones. It should be emphasized, however, that at the same time these unfortunate SSDs are the best that has happened in console gaming for years. They really significantly accelerated the launch of games or shortened loading times, and although you quickly get used to good and stop noticing it, a short return to the previous generation is enough to understand it.

I am going to play a game. Only what?

We will note the return to the previous generation more often than we think, because to be honest, there is nothing to play on the new one. And this is undoubtedly the biggest objection to both producers, because when it comes to exclusive productions for the start of the generation, Microsoft has none, due to the postponement of the new Halo debut, and Sony literally four, although the attention is literally worth two and as if that were not enough one of them is an extension to the game from the previous generation, because it is Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and the other is a remake of the old Demon's Souls. And don't get us wrong, both of these games are looking great, and the ability to play in 60 frames really makes a difference, but that's not what we expected after the next-gen launch. It is true that in the case of the previous one it was not better, but this time Sony and Microsoft do not even intend to hide that we will wait practically 2 years for typical next-gen games.

Until then, the outgoing games will also hit the previous generation, and cross-generation unfortunately means the equation down, even if there are patches to tweak the possibilities of titles on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. We do not hide that we expected such an approach from Microsoft, because the department Xbox has long since abandoned the losing sector of exclusive productions, focusing on reaching a wider audience with the Xbox Games Pass (great by the way, to such an extent that the Japanese already mention some answers), but Sony is disappointing. Admittedly, next year we will get some potential hits, such as the sequel to God of War with the subtitle Ragnarok or Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, but these, as we mentioned, will also be available on PlayStation 4. In short, the potential is huge, as can be seen now, but we will have to wait for his release, which is a bit disappointing.

In conclusion, although Sony and Microsoft will announce success to all and sundry, citing the phenomenal sales of their consoles planetwatching are already talking about the best opening in the history of the PlayStation and Xbox brands), from the players' point of view the new generation is not as phenomenal as we expected . Of course, there is a lot of power inside the devices and we already have a substitute for what it might look like in the future, but at the moment these are only promises. On the other hand, it is certainly not a huge disappointment, if only due to the changes caused by the presence of SSD drives, which significantly shortened game loading and loading, bringing gaming to a completely new level - similar to technologies such as ray-tracing or the possibility of gaming in 4K, up to 120 frames with HDR. However, everything is spoiled by the lack of games, typical seller systems that would justify the purchase of a console, so at this point you do not have to regret empty warehouses ... the consoles will finally return to the shelves, and by the time of next-gen games everyone will probably have time to buy them.