8 Things Xbox Series X Can Do That The PlayStation 5 Can't

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The ninth-generation console wars have been going on for more than two years of as this writing, and there continues to be plenty of public discourse over whether the Xbox Series X or Sony PlayStation 5 is the superior console. As similar as both consoles are from a hardware and software standpoint, both still retain their share of advantages over the other. The PlayStation 5, for example, boasts one of the top VR headset add-ons the market currently has to offer in the PlayStation VR2, which landed on shelves this past February. It's just one of several things the PS5 can do that the Xbox Series X can't.

However, the Xbox Series X also has its share of advantages that may make it preferable to its Sony counterpart for some gamers. The Microsoft console used to have more advantages and unique features over the PS5 than will be recognized in this piece. The Sony console has patched several features since the console dropped in November 2020 that put it on par with the Xbox Series X in certain areas. For example, the PS5 patched in 1440p support in the summer of 2022 despite not launching with it, in addition to Variable Refresh Rate support which rolled out in the spring of that same year. However, the Xbox Series X still retains several unique features that could make it the ideal home console on the market for many gamers.

Menu Customization Options

While this feature is purely cosmetic and may not be a big deal to all gamers, the customization options the Xbox Series X presents outshine its competition. The PlayStation 5 menus are optimized in a way that its system hub menus are standardized and can change depending on if a recognized game is highlighted in the user's library. However, PS5 owners are unable to give their system hub the unique look and feel they would have been able to on the PlayStation 4. There is also no way for users to turn off this feature, which is known as "dynamic themes." PS5 owners are, however, able to turn off the music that plays when each title is highlighted.

Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X continues to offer the expansive degree of menu customization that has been a staple of Microsoft home consoles since the Xbox 360. Xbox Series X players can still update the avatar associated with their account to their liking and have the ability to purchase new items for their avatar through the Microsoft Store. Xbox users are also able to update the aesthetic of their menu thanks to the three core features of its menu customization: menu theme, background image, and accent color. Players can also set certain themes for their console to use depending on the time of day or day of the week.

Xbox Game Pass

On-demand gaming through services such as Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus have become staples of modern gaming, but while PlayStation Plus is aligned as a competitor to Xbox's on-demand subscription service, Xbox Game Pass continues to have several advantages over its competition. Game Pass' versatility allows for seamless local PC integration, enabling its players to bypass streaming. While PlayStation Plus users can still stream their games onto a PC, the Xbox Series X' streaming capabilities are superior, and there is no option for PlayStation players to download their games to play locally on their PC. 

PlayStation Plus also does not offer the same level of access to new releases through its subscription service that Xbox Game Pass does. Game Pass subscribers can access new Xbox-exclusive games on the day of their release, without having to purchase the games separately. This aspect alone makes Game Pass one of the best bargains in gaming and spares its players having to decide between purchasing one game over another if several release dates conflict with one another. 

The same cannot be said for PlayStation Plus, which allows access to few "Day 1 releases," and instead offers a rotating block of free-to-play games for subscribers to take advantage of. The capability of users to play new current-generation games on the day of its release under Xbox Game Pass makes the service a value at the $10 to $15 per month price point (depending on the plan) that PlayStation Plus also utilizes. Both subscription services allow for discounts on select games available to purchase, but ultimately, Game Pass has enough depth across all generations to completely separate itself from its PlayStation counterpart. 

Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos Support

The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 profile similarly enough graphically, and the integration of 1440p into the PlayStation 5 only further illustrates the similarities. However, the Xbox Series X stands apart with its support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, a unique feature at the time of this writing. Dolby Vision specifically relates to a type of technology that enhances the visual quality of video content by improving the brightness, contrast, and color accuracy of the image. The technology has typically been integrated into streaming services, Blu-ray discs, and select television programming, but Microsoft stands out as the first company to successfully integrate the technology into its gaming hardware.

While the Xbox One incorporated Dolby Vision HDR, the Xbox Series X is the first system to integrate Dolby Atmos. While Dolby Vision alludes to the video components of audio-visual content, Dolby Atmos provides a similar upgrade to the audio side of the coin. Dolby developed Atmos to create a more immersive and realistic sound experience by placing sound objects in specific locations in a three-dimensional space. In other words, Dolby Atmos allows sounds to be interpreted as 3-D objects with neither horizontal nor vertical limitations. The technology is meant to work in tandem with Dolby Vision to create a more vivid, lifelike audio-visual experience.

More Comprehensive Remote Play

Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 have the capability for players to take advantage of cloud streaming as another avenue to play their favorite games. However, there are differences between the two services that lend to Xbox having a more comprehensive cloud gaming experience. For as powerful of a system as the PS5 is, one feature that currently eludes it is the ability for gamers to stream current-generation titles to their various devices. A recent report from Insider Gaming suggests PS5 cloud streaming support could be imminent. PlayStation users are currently only able to stream from a majority of PS4 titles and a wide selection of classic titles through its service, PS Remote Play. 

The same cannot be said for the Xbox Series X, which currently allows gamers to stream most modern Xbox titles, including Xbox Series X games, to their mobile devices in addition to their PC. Both consoles' cloud streaming capabilities come with a subscription to each system's on-demand services and are thus hidden behind a paywall. One console offering a "better" remote play feature than the other is ultimately subjective, and the effectiveness of remote play can be dependent on several factors divorced from the power and specs of both systems. However, while cloud gaming is still a relatively new technology and not optimal in most cases, Xbox's service currently boasts more features that the PS5 is not capable of supporting at this time.

Quick Resume

Thanks to the powerful hardware components that make up Sony and Microsoft's ninth-generation consoles, both systems boast a "Quick Resume" or "Switcher" feature that functions similarly to save states that have been popularized by video game emulation. However, there are differences between the Xbox Series X's "Quick Resume" and the PlayStation 5's "Switcher" that make the Microsoft console's feature the more robust of the two. The PlayStation 5's "Switcher" feature can be accessed by pressing the PS button that brings up the console's "Control Center" menu. From there, users are able to jump back and forth between the two open games and apps, but no more than one additional game or app is allowed to be open at a time, limiting the feature's full capabilities that are better realized on the Xbox Series X.

The Microsoft console's "Quick Resume" acts differently in that it relies on true save states for users to easily jump between up to three games at a time without having to reload a game from the start. The impressive SSD's contained in both systems are ultimately what allowed such a feature to manifest, but while the PlayStation 5 relies purely on the power of its SSD to implement this type of feature, the Xbox Series X goes further. It prevents games that are not currently open from eating away at the system's computing power, which gives gamers the added flexibility of being able to jump between games. As a result, the Xbox Series X's "Quick Resume" feature is superior.

Allow the Purchasing of VOD Content

While Sony's home consoles have long supported other forms of multimedia such as audio and video files as well as DVD and Blu-Ray, the Xbox Series X's versatility through its store function makes it a one-stop shop for all things multimedia. At the surface level, the Microsoft Store and PlayStation Store serve the same purpose: to serve as a medium for gamers to purchase their favorite games and download them directly onto their console's storage. However, while the differences between the two are slight, the Microsoft Store enables gamers some more flexibility with their purchased forms of media, supporting the idea that the Xbox Series X is equal parts powerful media center as much as it is a video game console.

In addition to video games, the Microsoft store offers a wide selection of movies and TV shows available for purchase. Users can download their favorite visual media properties directly to their console to enjoy them anytime they want through their Microsoft account. The PlayStation Store, meanwhile, discontinued the purchasing of movies and TV shows back in 2021 with the company deciding the continuation of its VOD service would no longer be worth the investment required to keep it going. Moreover, Sony went one step further in 2022 when it removed access to hundreds of TV shows and movies its user base had already purchased in select countries due to "evolving licensing agreements with content providers." While this could set a dangerous precedent for pay-to-own VOD content moving forward, Xbox Series X owners can breathe easy for now knowing they can still purchase movies and TV shows through the Microsoft Store without having to worry about losing the content they purchased.

Fit Discretely Into Rooms and Storage

Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are dense, bulky consoles not necessarily ideal for portable gaming. Both systems' remote play features offset this somewhat, but the Xbox Series X has an advantage over the PlayStation 5 cosmetically thanks to its minimalistic, unobtrusive form factor. As a black rectangular box, the Xbox Series X will likely be the preferred console for any gamers looking to take their gaming setup on a trip. The PlayStation 5, meanwhile, bears a shape that might be more difficult to pack, even if it does check in at a lighter weight (8.6 pounds) than the Series X does at just under 10 pounds. According to Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan, the reason for the PlayStation 5's asymmetrical shape has to do with the company wanting something, "forward-facing and future-facing" as well as "bold and daring."

 The PlayStation 5's unique form factor may have come at a cost, however, especially considering how the Xbox Series X took things in the opposite direction. By opting for a more simplistic and compact design, the Xbox Series X achieved a cosmetic appearance that is neither loud nor obtrusive and can easily fit onto most shelves and tight spaces. Additionally, both consoles have the ability to rest on their side in addition to their vertical base. From this perspective, the long side of the Xbox Series X comes in significantly shorter (11.9 inches) than the PlayStation 5 (15.4 inches), which while lighter, checks in as the largest home video game console of all time.

Support PS5 Controllers with Adapters

There is no more optimal controller to use on the Xbox Series X than the Series X controller itself. However, Xbox players have the capability to use PlayStation 5 DualSense controllers on their console while the same cannot be said for Xbox controllers on the Sony console. The feature is not one that is readily available to most, as anyone looking to connect a PS5 controller to an Xbox Series X will need to purchase a special USB adapter to make it so. Adapters such as the Wingman Xbox Converter have proven to be effective, acting as a conduit between the console and the foreign controllers. Once the proper adapter is connected, users must then follow a series of simple instructions to successfully connect a PS5 controller to their console.

An alternate, more indirect way for users to play Xbox Series X games on the rival DualSense controller is through Xbox Remote Play. While PS5 controllers cannot be wired into an Xbox Series X through the USB ports, they are recognized by PCs, giving players the added option to use PS5 controllers during remote play.

Conversely, you can connect an Xbox controller to a PlayStation 5 also while using an adapter, but you'll only be able to play PlayStation 4 versions of games.