This month saw the launch of three next generation consoles: the PS5 on the Sony side and the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on the Microsoft side. It’s been quite the time for those who managed to get one of those systems, or maybe all of them if you’re real crazy and all. It’s also been prime time for the fanboy wars as any console launch is as people raised their shields and spears in defensive of their favorite piece of plastic. Of course, launch of any system is not the best time to gauge where a system will land, but there has been some surprises.
While on paper the Xbox Series X is the most powerful of the three new systems, some analysis for big marque launch titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition and DiRT 5 have seen better performance on the PS5 in general. It’s not to say the Series X versions are poor, just they have some unexpected issues. What’s the cause of this?
Tom Warren of The Verge wrote about the current issues and speculates the main driving issue behind this is developers getting Xbox dev kits later than Sony. He points to some statements pre-launch from developers as well as to other unnamed sources he’s spoke to that tells him they simply got the needed tools later than the those Sony provided for the PS5, meaning they had less time to optimize for those versions of their game. It wasn’t the case for everyone, but Warren says he spoke to multiple sources that indicated it happened to multiple developers.
That would explain why the Xbox versions of these games seem to be lagging behind in some key areas and, as Warren also speculates, it’s probably why we didn’t see direct Xbox Series X footage until pretty close to launch, despite seeing a lot of direct PS5 footage on Sony’s end. He reached out to Microsoft and while they did not confirm any of this directly, they said they were aware of the issues and would be working with developers to resolve them in time.
“We are aware of performance issues in a handful of optimized titles on Xbox Series X/S and are actively working with our partners to identify and resolve the issues to ensure an optimal experience,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to The Verge. “As we begin a new console generation, our partners are just now scratching the surface of what next-gen consoles can do and minor bug fixes are expected as they learn how to take full advantage of our new platform. We are eager to continue working with developers to further explore the capability of Xbox Series X/S in the future.”
Of course, a lot of this is speculation as well as anonymous sources, so you have to take it with some degree of salt, but the logic does follow. We also know that the Xbox Series systems weren’t being manufactured until late summer, so clearly things were coming in hot all around. It will also take time for developers to get used to any new system as well, so regardless of what two systems look like on paper, it may not always translate 1:1 in practice, especially in the early days. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out between the two higher-end systems from Sony and Microsoft as the generation gets going.