The Xbox Series X controller benefits from a similar emphasis on functionality. To be clear, it still doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the advanced feedback features that the DualSense offers. However, it feels good, it’s responsive, it’s durable, and even though it still relies on external batteries, its battery life is simply exceptional. It does everything you need it to do with little fuss but with little flash.
In general, the Xbox’s enhanced accessibility options are starting to become an increasingly vital talking point. Said accessibility options include things like the console’s various software settings and controller options, but they also extend to areas like the console’s support of external storage options and enhanced backward compatibility features. Those backward compatibility features are no small thing. The PS5 offers enhanced versions of some PS4 games, but the Series X can play almost any Xbox-supported game ever made and enhance it with various performance benefits. Though the Series X (and the Xbox team) have not been perfect in that respect, they continue to make clear strides in consumer-benefiting areas that other manufacturers are largely content to ignore.
Of course, you can’t really talk about Xbox Series X without talking about Game Pass. That subscription service was the Xbox One’s biggest selling point, and the situation remains largely the same for the Xbox Series X. Actually, we’re past the point when you can simply call Game Pass the best value in gaming. Being able to access such a massive library of titles (including quite a few “Day One” new releases) is the kind of thing that is nearly impossible to go back from. That’s especially true for those who use the service to try new games they would have otherwise never been able to purchase at full price. On a day-to-day basis, I use my Xbox Series X more than my PS5, and that’s largely because of Game Pass.
That’s the weird spot the Xbox Series X finds itself in. It’s an exceptional console to play day-to-day that has greatly benefited from Microsoft’s forward-thinking nature. Yet, when you get to the seemingly simple topic of exclusive games, all that praise for the Xbox Series X hits a wall that Microsoft has not only failed to tear down but has slowly been contributing to brick by brick and year after year.
Whenever someone asks me which next-gen console they should buy, I try to give them as much information about the virtues of each console as I can without that conversation becoming really annoying, really fast. Ultimately, though, it always seems like the argument for the PlayStation 5 tends to be a bit stronger at this point in the hardware race.
We have not quite arrived at the future for gaming that Sony often seems content to ignore or downplay. And in a present where the average gamer typically buys a few major games a year, PlayStation has more of those games to offer and fantastic versions of the games it shares with other platforms. PlayStation also often enjoys an almost Apple-like status that makes them the popular premium brand to own if you only own one console. Sony seems to be fully aware of all of that, and they’ve made an exceptional console for those types of gamers as well as the gamer who just wants to ensure they have access to the absolute best titles in a generation. The PS5’s controller and design also lend it an element of excitement (even if only a cheap thrill) that the Series X sometimes lacks.