PlayStation 5 vs. Xbox Series X: Which is Best, 1 Year Later?(2021) – WIRED

Sony’s new DualSense controllers provide more than your standard rumble. The trigger buttons can have varying levels of resistance, depending on in-game factors like which weapon you’re using—so you can actually feel it when you’re using a hair-trigger handgun versus the heavier pull of a large rifle. 

The haptic feedback system also provides a really three-dimensional sense of where that feedback is coming from. Instead of two rumbling motors in the palm of your hand, the motors in the DualSense controller can vibrate across the controller. When it works, it’s amazing. For example, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla looks and plays great on both consoles, but with the DualSense controller, the trigger pull is different for each type of bow, so you can really feel the extra tension in your big-bad-predator bows, or the quick, feather touch of light bows. It gives you a real sense that these weapons are different, and that they feel different in your character’s hands. Few games take advantage of the DualSense’s new bells and whistles, but it’s fun when they do. 

The Services Are Costly, and a Must

Both consoles have multiple subscriptions that are required to play online games, and another to access a library of games to play for “free.” Xbox Series X has Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass Ultimate, and the PS5 has PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. 

Game Pass Ultimate is the best. It gives you access to online multiplayer and has a fantastic, very current 100+ game catalog that you can download on your console and often PC. You can actually install the Xbox app on a gaming laptop or desktop and download a lot of them with ease.

PlayStation Plus offers just a few “free” games you can download each month, and is required to play games online. Then there’s PS Now, which is more like Xbox Game Pass, but focuses on older PS4, PS3, and PS2 games. It gives you access to a deep catalog of 800-plus older PlayStation games to play online.

These subscription plans are all super confusing. Why is it like this? At this point, nobody knows.

The Winner: Everyone and No One

So, which console is the winner here? Neither. Because it doesn’t matter how good your console is if nobody can buy it. PlayStation 5 is the better console, and since more of them are selling, your friends are more likely to have it or get it, but I wouldn’t call it a winner. 

DualSense is great, but internally, both consoles are pretty much identical and it shows. It’s like Sony and Microsoft both bought the same Honda Civic, but Sony installed a cool-looking after-market steering wheel. Sure it’s cool, but is it really that much better? Or are they both kind of aggressively medium?


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