November 2020 is a month of big decisions. No, I'm not talking about the American presidential election! Rather, Sony and Microsoft are asking the question of trust: PS5 or Xbox Series X / S? The new consoles present many players with a difficult choice: do I buy one of the new platforms, do I get both, or do I forego another toy at the start and wait for the first rush?
Microsoft is sending the Xbox Series X / S into the race on November 10, 2020. The premium model Xbox Series X costs 499 euros, the smaller version only 299 euros. Sony will follow suit in Europe on November 19, 2020. The "big" Playstation 5 (buy now ) with an integrated Blu-Ray drive costs 499 euros, the digital edition is cheaper to buy at 399 euros.
In plain language this means: two new systems appear within just ten days. If you want to own both, you have to put at least 700 euros on the table, but apart from the Astro's Playroom included with the PS5, you don't even have a next-generation game in your collection. The almost simultaneous launch of the new Xbox and Playstation consoles is a tough test for me and especially my bank account and at the same time divides the community.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/11/simultanerlaunch01-pc-games.png" alt = "After the discontinuation of Halo: Infinite, Gears Tactics is one of the few big exclusive titles for the Xbox Series X / S. It has been available for the PC for months.
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I don't have to tell you that 2020 was anything but a "dream year". After all, at the time of the next generation launch, we are in the "lockdown light". The global Covid 19 pandemic changed our lives and, above all, our togetherness.
Nevertheless, according to surveys by the industry association GAME, the German video game market grew in the first half of the year: Compared to 2019 sales in the German games market increased by 27 percent. Even sales for gaming hardware rose by a whopping 21 percent. Obviously, many gamers had more time and weren't afraid to invest money in their hobby. No wonder, after all, other leisure activities such as cinema or traveling often simply fell flat.
And when I look at the presale madness – especially with the Playstation 5 – I have my doubts as to whether the pandemic really has THE impact on the launch of the new consoles that one might suspect. And yet: The almost simultaneous console start presents the core target group with an immense challenge. Uncertainty about the effects of the pandemic has grown steadily over the past few months and many have to think twice about whether they really want to spend that much money on their own enjoyment.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/11/simultanerlaunch02-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Halo: Infinite was actually the spearhead of the Xbox launch lineup. But Microsoft and 343 Industries withdrew the game after receiving very negative feedback on the first gameplay material shown.
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Source: PC Games
The few differences
From an economic point of view, the simultaneous launch of new consoles makes sense. Neither Sony nor Microsoft want to leave the stage to the competition or lag behind in terms of technology. If both platforms appear almost at the same time, the rival is deprived of the opportunity to react to possible innovations in terms of pricing and hardware architecture. So you create the same starting conditions and have to try to set yourself apart from your rival. Microsoft is trying to do this through the possibilities of Xbox Game Pass and the creation of a higher-level platform. Sony, on the other hand, plays it safely and relies on exclusive titles.
But when I look at the launch lineups, I lack diversity. Whether I play Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War on Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X probably doesn't make that huge difference. If the platforms appeared at different times, more diversity would be possible. And with a little luck Microsoft would have one or the other big exclusive hit in the quiver. At the moment, Xbox Series X / S does not provide enough arguments to buy aside from the "Hey cool, a new console!" Factor. A Gears Tactics, which has been available on PC for over half a year, is unfortunately nothing that knocks me out of my gaming chair.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/11/simultanerlaunch03-pc-games.png" alt = "Exclusive games like Demon's Souls or Marvel's Spider-Man speak for Sony's Playstation 5 at the launch : Miles Morales.
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Source: PC Games
On the back of the developer
But to be honest, this decision is of course also a luxury problem: "Do I buy one or both consoles now?" is the new "Honey, I have nothing to wear!" And yet the timing seems unfavorable. Not just for the community, but also for the game developers.
In the past weeks and months countless titles have (felt) postponed – above all Cyberpunk 2077, of course. Actually, the action role-playing game by the makers of The Witcher from CD Projekt RED would have been on November 19, 2020 – on the day of the PS5 launch should come on the market. CD Projekt had previously announced gold status and "no further postponements". But 2020 wanted it different: On October 27, 2020, the message made the rounds that the game not until December 10, 2020. would appear. The reason given was the adaptation to the various systems. For the cyberpunk crew this means: Even more crunching under sometimes difficult working conditions. The simultaneous launch is also a real feat for game developers.
<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/11/simultanerlaunch06-pc-games.png" alt = "Cyberpunk 2077 should actually have been on the market on November 19, 2020. The postponement to December 10, 2020 shows that releasing such a big game on different platforms is a real feat.
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Source: PC Games
And so the simultaneous appearance of Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X / S remains an ambiguous matter. On the one hand, the way it is published naturally generates a lot of hype. On the other hand, however, it also has major disadvantages for the customer – from the financial hurdle to a limited start-up lineup.
In this case, I send greetings to the Nintendo Switch, which was a success even without the next-gen run. Namely with a creative console concept and significantly different games. Maybe Microsoft and Sony can learn a bit from this in the future.
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