The Video Games Issue

PS5 reviews reveal 1 important reason the console war isn't over yet

It's all about the games.

PS5 reviews have finally arrived, and they are generally positive. While it isn't anything like the drastic generation skips of years past, publications like Vice, IGN, and CNN all are impressed with the improved load times, improved visuals, and DualSense controllers. Launch games like Astro's Playroom and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales have also drawn enthusiastic feedback.

That said, many reviewers have highlighted one aspect of the PS5 that's also true for Xbox Series X: there just aren't enough next-gen games yet. You're probably fine to wait a few months before upgrading.

That's not to say the PS5's launch lineup is bad. Astro's Playroom, a PS5 pack-in 3D platformer that highlights the DualSense's controller's adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, is supposed to be very refreshing. IGN gave the game an 8 out of 10 and said it is "the best proof-of-concept pack-in I’ve played since Wii Sports." Outside of that though, the other games discussed by reviewers like Miles Morales and Bugsnax were all on PS4.

Astro's Playroom is one of the few true next-gen exclusive on PS5.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Spider-Man: Miles Morales' reviews have also been positive, with the game holding a score of 85 currently on review aggregate site Metacritic. That said, it's also on PS4 and the next-gen enhancements mainly come from slightly improved loading, resoultion, and frame rates.

"Absent the controller experimentation in Astro's Playroom, none of the games feel especially next-gen, which is probably because our definition of next-gen is undergoing a huge shift," Vice explained in its review. "The improvements are there, yes, but they're increasingly on the margins and focused on quality-of-life changes that are easier to brush off as something you could get eventually, or when the inevitable price cut occurs."

Reviewers also couldn't yet share impressions of Demon's Souls or Godfall, which the other true next-gen exclusives within the system's launch window. From the sound of it, none of these launch titles truly break new ground, even if they are really solid showcases.

This is a complaint that was also thrown towards Xbox Series X and S, which have suffered due to the delay of Halo Infinite. While the PS5 is a bit better off in terms of launch games, IGN admits in its PS5 review that "With a launch line-up dominated by games that are also available on PS4... the PS5 doesn’t quite land as a knockout punch yet."

Even CNN agrees that "If you already own a PS4 Pro, as opposed to an old 1080p PlayStation, then the PlayStation 5's benefits may be a little more elusive." If you're unable to get a PS5 right now, whether it's due to financial issues caused by Covid-19 or just the scarcity of Sony's new console, these early reviews indicate that you'll not be missing out on that much just yet.

Not surprisingly, next-gen will need some time to truly get off the ground. A year from now, when games like the new God of War and Halo Infinite have been released, it'll be easier to see if there's a clear winner.

There might not even be a clear winner at all. NPD analyst Mat Piscatella pointed out on Twitter that "the differentiation in services and approach between the two, which may lead to 40%+ cross ownership rates by end of the gen, and even higher selling potential." He adds that "If cross ownership rates can inch up this gen, and if the new boxes can get some new/dormant console owners to buy look out, it could be a strong gen indeed."

PS5 will be released on November 12, 2020.

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