Get ready for an all-new next-generation console war as PlayStation and Xbox are both set to go head-to-head once again. They each have new machines hitting stores at the end of 2020.

Xbox's Project Scarlett will duke it out with the PlayStation 5 through the holiday period next year.

Indeed, the battle lines are already being drawn, with Sony and Microsoft both revealing details already.

So, here is what we know about each gaming powerhouse based on official details and rumours, and how they might compare.


We've not seen many images of Scarlett yet, not even the development kit that must be out there. However, the PlayStation 5 devkit has leaked a few times.

LetsGoDigitalProject Scarlett Vs Ps5 The Battle Of The Next-gen Begins image 3

Indeed, illustrations of the PS5 devkit were included in an official Sony patent application, leading several concept artists to create excellent renditions of the design. Dutch website LetsGoDigital created the best yet, based on the patent and a leaked photo of the actual device. And, considering PlayStation development units in the past have been similar to their final consumer equivalents, this could be a great indication of what to expect.

Not everyone is keen on the spaceship look of the hardware, but we suspect that its shape could be out of necessity as the fins and ventilation holes are there to ensure the beefy CPU and GPU get enough cooling. After all, we don't want another console that sounds like a helicopter taking off (yes, we're looking at you PS4 Pro).

As for Project Scarlett, it's pretty much guesswork for now. Render specialist Concept Creator has crafted a tasty looking, thin design with a video showing his work at its best, but we're not entirely sure the ventilation will allow for such a sleek build.

Processing and graphics hardware

There's no doubting that each of the new consoles will be significantly more powerful than their predecessors, but by how much?

Only Xbox has put a figure on it so far. It claims Scarlett will be "four times more powerful than Xbox One X".

Indeed, when you look at their similar potential spec, the same could apply to both.

Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will run on an eight-core AMD CPU, based on the chip manufacturer's 7nm process. Its graphical capabilities will also run on AMD hardware - based on the Radeon Navi architecture.

While Microsoft is less forward about specifics, it has revealed that it is also using the latest chipsets and architecture from AMD for Scarlett. So we'll chalk that one up as a draw.

Graphical capabilities

Considering both consoles are said to be using very similar internal hardware, it comes as no surprise that both Sony and Microsoft are quoting similar graphical capabilities.

They both say that their respective consoles will be capable of reaching 8K resolutions for gaming. And that they will be able to support 120fps frame rates.

One slight issue was pointed out by Forbes and sometimes Pocket-lint contributor John Archer, who claims that to reach such lofty heights, both consoles will have to sport HDMI 2.1 outputs. That standard is mandatory for 4K 120fps, let alone 8K.

Unfortunately, that will mean that you'll likely need a new TV to get the best image quality as only a handful of very recent sets support HDMI 2.1.

Either way, it's something that will affect both machines.

Storage and memory

SSD is where it is at with both next-gen consoles. Both will be adopting Solid State Drives for storage in order to speed up loading times.

PlayStation's Mark Cerny demonstrated that, because of the SSD inside a PS5 DevKit, a loading cut screen in Marvel's Spider-Man that usually takes 15 seconds on a PS4 only takes 0.8 seconds on the new machine. This was shown in a test recorded by the Wall Street Journal's Takashi Mochizuki and posted on Twitter.

In addition, the Xbox engineers behind Scarlett revealed that SSD is a game changer, literally. In an E3 2019 reveal video, they also said that the SSD storage solution can also be used as virtual RAM, thereby speeding up data access during games without you even knowing. That could put an end to slight stutters in open world games, for example, as assets load seamlessly in the background.

What we don't yet know is how much storage space each console will provide. SSD technology is extremely expensive, especially at 1TB and 2TB sizes. We expect, therefore, that both manufacturers will use a hybrid drive system: SSD for speed and caching, plus a more traditional HDD to bulk up the storage space.

At present, this seems to be relevant for both machines.

In terms of conventional RAM, only Microsoft has shown its hand. It said that Scarlett will utilise GDDR6 RAM, although is yet to reveal how much and the actual speeds.

Optical disc drives

Neither manufacturer wants to ditch the physical disc drive yet.

Cerny said that the PS5 will be the first PlayStation console to adopt 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - at last.

Xbox's Phil Spencer said something similar about Scarlett in an interview with Games Industry.

Cloud gaming

Here's the biggest differentiator between the two consoles. At least, based on what we know so far.

Project Scarlett will be able to hook up to Microsoft's forthcoming cloud gaming platform, Project xCloud. It will therefore potentially offer thousands of Xbox One, PC and even retro Xbox games to stream over the internet.

The PS5, on the other hand, will likely support PS Now, Sony's own cloud gaming service that is already available for PlayStation 4. It's not as fully featured as Microsoft's xCloud on paper, although Sony has stated that it is investing time and money to build PlayStation Now into a better platform going forward.

Release date and price

These are probably the most important factors of all. And, we're not really in a position yet to answer them.

Price is impossible to tell at present, but we expect both machines to be near or above the £450 launch price of the Xbox One X when it arrived in 2017.

As for release date, both are coming "holiday 2020". That doesn't really help you make a decision on which one to splurge your cash on, but at least it makes things interesting.