Xbox vs PlayStation
Full spoiler… this post won’t come to a satisfying conclusion for most readers. This is my attempt to work through some first-world feelings in a new format. It really doesn’t matter which you like more. Both Xbox and PlayStation (… and Nintendo) make consoles and games that bring joy and entertainment to our lives. I’d like to celebrate them but also surface some criticism in my attempt to figure out why I feel the need to choose between the two.
Looking back, I haven’t dedicated myself to one gaming company over another. During my life, I’ve been fortunate to own the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis (with the 32x), Nintendo Gameboy, PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4 (original, Pro, and slim), Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and S, and the PlayStation 5. The last four I still own and use regularly.
Reading through that list, some might think I favor Nintendo. However, I’d challenge that most gamers like Nintendo. They have a rich history and make fun games. If you’ve turned away from them as an adult, wait until you have kids of your own. I’ve chosen not to include them in the same category as modern-day Xbox and PlayStation. The latter is designing consoles with groundbreaking technology and power. Since the Wii, Nintendo has been going a different direction, which has worked for them. Speaking of the Wii, there are two significant consoles missing from that generation. I never owned the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. I would have liked to, but they came to market when my wife and I were first starting our family. In the interest of keeping that family, I’ll leave it at that…
I rekindled my love of video games with the PlayStation 4. What a great console! I was open to purchasing either the PS4 or Xbox One until Microsoft botched the messaging, pricing, and power of their console. PlayStation said all the right things and sold me on owning a PS4. After the purchase, I immediately jumped into The Last of Us. I learned two things that day… PlayStation makes great single-player, story-driven games and, after a generation away from gaming, I was not good at playing them. Over the next 3 years, my affection towards PlayStation grew with games like God of War, Uncharted, Horizon, Spider-man… the list goes on. However, at a certain point, I noticed PlayStation went from the company that put the games and the gamer first and started to act like the PlayStation that tried to convince everyone that the PS3 was worth $600 at launch and you should be lucky to get another job to afford it. A PlayStation that didn’t seem as open to fans and cared more about the sales figures. I’m not a fan of that PlayStation.
Enter into the mix Phil Spencer (@XboxP3). A man that is just like me… a gamer at heart! Who also happens to be the CEO of Microsoft Gaming. The exact person who the company needed to lead them out of the Xbox One slump. His openness in interviews and on podcasts was refreshing to hear. I can honestly say that he’s the one that sold me on owning an Xbox. Well, him and Game Pass. With the launch of the Xbox One X, I had my chance to dive into the back-catalog of Xbox at an affordable price. I had a blast playing through an excellent collection of games that I missed on the Xbox 360 and some gems that came out while I was playing my PS4. At this moment, I found it incredibly easy to sell my PS4 and go all in on Xbox and the gaming future they were shaping. The most powerful consoles, Game Pass, Cloud Gaming, backwards compatibility, accessibility, and acquiring a slew of great studios… Xbox was/is on fire for the gamer and creating an ecosystem for universal enjoyment.
With the release of the current generation of consoles, I held off for a bit. After all, it takes a while for games to take advantage of the new hardware and I was still happy with my combination of the Switch and Xbox One X. Then there was a shortage and it was hard to get your hands on an Xbox or PlayStation. I immediately felt the need to secure the Xbox Series X if I had the opportunity. Less than a week later, I was browsing Wal-mart’s site when they enabled the ability to make a purchase using the Xbox All Access program. Perfect! A Series X and two years of Game Pass, all for a low monthly payment. I couldn’t believe it was that easy, but it was. The Series X is a fantastic console and a perfect upgrade from the One X. I could start the new generation in my happy Xbox world.
However, a few months later, PlayStation hosted their 2021 Showcase. The first real game event since the launch of the PS5. There was one game teaser that upended my entire attitude of owning a PS5.
Of course, several other announcements like Spider-man 2 and God of War Ragnarök were also very exciting to see. But a Wolverine game by Insomniac. Holy crap! I resisted the urge to move hell and high water to purchase a PS5. After all, they were even more difficult to find than the Series X/S. So I decided I would sign up for some waitlists and let the PS5 come to me. Then I would be certain that it was meant to be… at least that is how I justified it. After a few weeks of waiting, my inbox was blessed with an email from B&H Photo of all places, telling me I had 24 hours to purchase a PS5 Digital Edition. Yes, please!
My new PS5 arrived, and I was surprised at how quickly I slid back into that ecosystem. There were several games waiting for me to play that I never finished on my PS4… several of them looked and ran better than ever. I spent the next couple months ignoring my Xbox and feeling guilty that I wasn’t taking advantage of my Game Pass subscription. Until Halo. Halo Infinite Multiplayer hit hard and that flawed Battle Pass was calling my name. 100 levels of FPS joy, more or less. Suddenly, it was my PS5 that was collecting dust.
That brings us to present day… I finished the Halo Infinite Battle Pass, and I jumped into Horizon Zero Dawn before the new Horizon releases next month. It immediately reminded me of PlayStation’s single-player, story-driven genius. However, that thought has been overcome with the announcement of Microsoft acquiring Activision/Blizzard. Yikes! The Xbox I know and love just made a power move that made their collection of studios and Game Pass even bigger and more exciting. This news came after the announcement of one of the best months of games coming to Game Pass. They are all in and bring the heat.
This is my first-world conundrum… Xbox vs. PlayStation. My brain keeps going to one or the other. Perhaps it’s the side-effect of being born in the 80s. The console wars of Nintendo and Sega; early battles between Sony and Microsoft. Maybe it’s engrained in my gaming mind that I must choose a side. Deep down, I don’t want to choose a side. I like both and I want both to exist. I want to own both consoles so I can partake in the best that they offer. That might be my conclusion… However, I have told myself this before and still secretly root for one or the other, depending on the situation.
Enough is enough. I have a family to take care of and games to enjoy. Thanks for coming along for this ride! I hope you find joy in whatever you choose to play. We are a community of gamers and we should support one another and have fun. Stay safe and game on!