The Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, both, usher in the next generation of console gaming, but as far as changes are concerned, one could argue that Sony has made the more meaningful advancements. Yes, the console is more powerful than before and supports higher resolution, but the big changes this year are in Sony’s DualSense controller.
The new controllers for the PlayStation 5 feature improved haptic feedback and are designed to make you feel the games you play, rather than just just navigating around games. Unlike Microsoft, Sony’s controller offers developers the option to relay specific situations in a game to your hands through vibration-based feedback. You’ll feel your character walking around in the game, the pitter patter of rain and more.
It sounds like a simply and possibly subtle change, but could make a world of difference in how games are played. Sure, you don’t feel the difference when playing SpiderMan: Miles Morales, and you may not see developers using the features in existing games, but newer ones that will launch 2021 onwards are likely to use them.
Every PlayStation 5 has a game called Astro’s Playroom that showcases this feature. The analog sticks will become harder when you’re pulling a heavy lever in the game. The controller also has speakers built in that relay specific sounds in the game. The controllers offer developers more freedom when it comes to building games, and though it may sound like a gimmick, it could make them more immersive than before.
Perhaps the only downside is that the controllers last just under 10 hours on each charge. That’s enough for a complete playthrough of Spiderman: Miles Morales, but you will have to charge them repeatedly for games with longer gameplay times, like Assassin’s Creed any many others. To be clear, it’s still respectable battery life and it’s understandable too, given how much the controller is doing, but we could always do with more. The DualSense controllers also feel slightly bigger in your hands, but it’s still quite ergonomic and easy to get used to.
The controllers will remain the highlight for the PlayStation 5 in the short run, but the console does push the boundaries in terms of power too. Games will load faster than on the PlayStation 4, thanks to better solid-state-drive storage. Load times are cut by almost half, which enhances the overall gaming experience on these consoles. That’s true for the new generation of Microsoft’s Xbox too, but it’s important nevertheless. On the PS5, you can also choose to jump into a game from a specific point on its map instead of having to reload from a pre-decided point every time you turn it off. It doesn’t have Microsoft's “quick resume” feature though, which lets you literally restart a game from where you left it.
The PS5 also supports gaming in 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) at 120 frames per second. You will need a television or screen that can produce such frame rates too though, which is perhaps why you won’t see this change just yet.
What you will see, however, is the use of Ray Tracing technology. This enhances the lighting in games, making for better sceneries and overall graphics. Games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will really benefit from such changes. The vast sceneries of Iceland and England depicted in the game will look much better with the PS5 and a compatible screen, than with the PS4. Ray tracing is a feature that’s supported on Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X too.
Lastly, the PlayStation 5 is a huge machine, meaning it will be difficult to fit into an entertainment center. Having said that, the sharp and strikingly unique design certainly gives it more personality and it looks nice, irrespective of how it’s placed — vertically or horizontally.
In sum, while the PS5 and Xbox Series X both push the boundaries in terms of what console games can be in the next decade, Sony’s console may fit the avid gamer’s sensibilities more. It’s powerful, stylish and delivers an unique feel in games that no other gaming console can.
DualSense controllers are one of a kind
Big and difficult to fit into an entertainment center
Controller battery life could be better
Doesn’t support quick resume
Price: Rs. 49,990