Tech experts reveal why some games run better on PS5 even though Xbox Series X is more powerful

It’s widely known that Microsoft’s Xbox Series X console is the most powerful ever, so why do some games run better on Sony’s PlayStation 5? That’s a question that tech experts at Digital Foundry.

Microsoft and Sony both launched their next-generation consoles at the same time, in November 2020, and while the less powerful Xbox Series S clearly struggles on the performance front, the Xbox Series X is a technical beast; it’s capable of 12 teraflops of GPU performance, while the PS5 is capable of 10.28 teraflops.

Xbox executives have said they want to avoid repeating the narrative established last generation, where the Xbox One was significantly less powerful than the PlayStation 4, leading to mismatches when it came to cross-platform gaming performance. So Microsoft has gone all out with the Xbox Series X, ensuring it can safely call it “the world’s most powerful console” in its marketing.

But now, as we approach the fourth anniversary of each console’s launch, has that power difference paid off in the video games we play? It turns out that some games run better on the PS5 than they do on the Xbox Series X. But how could this be?

according to Digital Foundry Conversations with Developers“The combination of a more efficient GPU compiler, lower-level APIs, and higher clock speeds allows PS5 to match or even exceed the outputs of Xbox Series X in some scenarios.”

An example of this is FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, which runs faster on PS5 than on Xbox Series X. Digital Foundry’s Analysis of Shadow of the Erdtree DLC It shows a surprising difference in frame rate in favor of the PS5, which is the less capable device it seems.

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But as Digital Foundry points out, there is still value in Microsoft’s approach to Xbox Series X, which is similar to PC development and helps game makers. “Additionally, there are situations where the Xbox ecosystem and feature set pays dividends,” Digital Foundry explains. “For example, while Elden Ring may run faster on PS5, Sony’s limited implementation of variable refresh rate support means we’d rather play the game on Xbox Series X — it’s just a smoother, more consistent experience.”

So what happens next? There are plenty of rumors that Sony is preparing to launch the PS5 Pro later this year, just as there are rumors that Microsoft is preparing to launch a portable Xbox. Digital Foundry predicts that “the PS5 Pro will build on the same strengths that made the PS5 competitive and beyond — PSSR should act as a kind of effective ‘multiplier’ for increased GPU performance.”

And then? We’ll no doubt have to do the same thing again when Microsoft launches the next generation of Xbox consoles and Sony launches the inevitable PS6.

Wesley is IGN’s UK News Editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at [email protected] or anonymously at [email protected].

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