5 questions about the PS5 and Xbox Series X

Sony's PlayStation 5 (left) and Micosoft's Xbox Series X (right).
Sony's PlayStation 5 (above) and Micosoft's Xbox Series X.
Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Micosoft’s Xbox Series X (above).
Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Micosoft’s Xbox Series X (above).

1 What are the potential game-changing features in the new PS5 and Xbox Series X?

Both consoles will have super-fast solid-state drives and support ray tracing, an advanced 3D graphics rendering technique. It means gamers experience close to zero loading times for games and developers can tap the performance gains to create huge and open worlds.

These factors, combined with ray tracing's ability to create gorgeous environments, will create experiences that further blur the lines between reality and games, says Mr Tomas Arce-Gil, senior lecturer at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore.

2 How many variants of the consoles are there?

The standard PS5 will come with a 4K Blu-ray disc drive that supports physical game copies, while a slimmer Digital Edition supports only digital game downloads.

Microsoft has unveiled only one version of the Xbox Series X, though there are rumours of a disc-less version (Xbox Series S).

3 What are some notable exclusive games for each console?

Games are key to the console battle.

Some notable PS5 exclusives are Horizon Forbidden West, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Square Enix's Project Athia.

The Xbox Series X will have Halo Infinite, Forza Motorsport and Stalker 2, among others.

4 Will my old games run on the new consoles?

Backward compatibility for older console games will be available, though to varying extent.

Microsoft has promised to deliver "compatibility across four generations of Xbox", which would include even original Xbox games from the early 2000s.

Sony has said the majority of the more than 4,000 PS4 games will eventually be playable on the PS5.

In addition, older games will automatically run and look better, such as having faster load times and more stable frame rates, on the new consoles without the developer doing any work.

Developers can also create an optimised version of an older title to take advantage of the new console's upgraded hardware.

Some developers may give these optimised versions for free.

For instance, Ubisoft will offer free upgrades to the PS5 version for its major PS4 releases this year, such as Far Cry 6.

Others may have a standard copy that is optimised for either the PS4 or PS5, and a more expensive copy that works with PS4 and PS5 consoles.

5 Will my older game controllers and accessories work with the new consoles?

Both consoles have new controllers. But don't ditch your old ones just yet.

Microsoft has said all official and licensed third-party controllers and accessories for the older Xbox One will work on the new console.

It is more complicated for the PS5. The PS4's DualShock 4 controller will not work with PS5 games, but will work with supported PS4 games on the PS5.

Speciality peripherals like arcade sticks and racing wheels will work with the PS5 and supported PS4 games. So, too, will gaming headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack. Sony's virtual reality (VR) controllers will also work with PS5 VR games.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2020, with the headline '5 questions about the PS5 and Xbox Series X'. Print Edition | Subscribe