Just like the semi-regular PC vs. console arguments I get into with friends, the teraflops and performance bumps don’t matter unless developers care enough to take advantage of them — or in the case of the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, developers having access to development kits it seems.
I wrote an editorial earlier this week about the Console Wars ™ and while those schoolyard antics are still ridiculous, it’s still valid to dive in a little bit into why the PS5 games seem to be outperforming the Xbox Series X versions — especially since the latter is being promoted as the “most powerful console ever.”
On paper, the Xbox Series X is “superior” because it’s capable of 12 teraflops of GPU performance whereas the PlayStation 5 can only do 10.28 teraflops. And while that might be true on a spec sheet, what ultimately matters is if developers and publishers can take advantage of it. It’s early goings in the PS5 vs XSX “wars,” but so far the results are a little inconclusive since developers say it really just came down to timing at launch.
According to The Verge, one of the main reasons that it seems that games have been running in less-than-optimal form on XSX when compared to PS5 is that “Microsoft only allowed developers to submit games for Xbox Series X certification in June.” And developers have had access to the PlayStation 5 versions of those kits further in advance.
CODBLOPS: Cold War is but one of the many great breakdowns Digital Foundry has done comparing PS5/XSX versions of games. And while they’ve found the results to be a bit of a mixed bag, games on PS5 have — generally — been performing better on XSX. Some of the results favorable to Xbox Series X seem to be with ray tracing, but games more often than not are running at a smoother clip on PS5.
PlayStation 5 might’ve been the “inferior” console when both consoles’ SSDs and ‘flops were finally revealed for all to see earlier this year, but during the launch window it seems like PS5 is coming out with a lead in the performance column. For now, anyway. Sony was able to give their developers a longer lead time to certify their games in time for the holidays and make for better performing games over the competition.
But just like how we eventually saw PlayStation 3 games run at near-parity with Xbox 360 games, we should be seeing Xbox Series X titles catching up to PS5 versions in the near future. Wouldn’t want to see all those teraflops go to waste, after all.