Why And How PlayStation 5 Runs Some Games Better Than The More Powerful Xbox Series X

ps5 xbox seriesx performance hero
When the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launched four years ago many expected that the difference in hardware between the two systems would be apparent as time went on. However, that supposed gap never materialized, with Sony’s system keeping up with it’s more powerful counterpart. The pixel peeping gurus at Digital Foundry investigated the situation, speaking with several AAA game developers to understand why.

The Xbox Series X is the more powerful console on paper, with its GPU capable of hitting 12 teraflops and sporting a hefty 560GB/s of memory bandwidth. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 5’s GPU maxes out at 10.23 teraflops with a more modest 448 GB/s of memory bandwidth. This is a big enough difference that in theory should enable games to run with visual superiority on the Xbox Series X. Although this simply hasn’t been the reality.

ps5 xbox seriesx performance body

There are two the reasons for this, as explained by game developers. The first is that the GPU compiler for the PlayStation 5 is more efficient than the solution offered by Microsoft, enabling developers to get the most out of the hardware thanks to lower level API access. The second is the design of the GPU, which runs at a higher clock speed that works well for completing tasks within game engines. This allows the PlayStation 5 to deliver performance on par with the Series X despite having fewer compute units.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that the Xbox Series X hasn’t drastically pulled away from the PlayStation 5 when it comes to graphical fidelity. Third-party game developers would be reluctant to devote time and resources to fiddle with each platform to eke out every drop of performance, especially when the Series X has struggled to capture market share. Microsoft will need to rely on first-party studios to really show what its box is capable of, especially with the more powerful PlayStation 5 Pro on the horizon.

Now that the curious case of the missing performance gap between the two consoles is closed, gamers can shift their attention to the upcoming PlayStation 5 Pro.