Come November, are you team Xbox or team Playstation?

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Chris Schulz

A big decision looms for gamers in the coming weeks, but how do you make that choice? Here are some of the key factors ...

“Sold out” signs went up. Websites went down.

When pre-orders for the new PlayStation 5 console were announced last week, complaints from those trying to purchase them started almost immediately.

Of those that managed to successfully pre-order this Christmas’ hot ticket item, some were warned they might not get them on time.

An apology was quickly issued by Sony. “Let’s be honest,” it said, “PS5 preorders could have been a lot smoother. We truly apologise for that.”

Playstation’s biggest competitor, Xbox, didn’t fare much better.

Some pre-orders for the Xbox Series S & X were outright cancelled, others were warned they would probably be late, and scalpers are already selling them at much higher prices.

Despite all the job losses and financial insecurity caused by Covid-19, demand for new Xbox and PlayStation consoles has been huge.

Due out in just six weeks, that demand proves gamers remain committed to getting their hands on the latest technology as soon as they possibly can.

They’re not afraid to drop $549 on the Xbox Series S or $799 on the Xbox Series X, when it lands on November 10.

And they haven’t blinked an eye at the cost of a PlayStation 5, which is going for $649.95 for the digital console, and $819.95 for the blu ray version, on November 12.

For those of us who haven’t successfully managed to make a pre-order, but still want to have a brand new console under the tree on Christmas Day, there’s a very important decision looming.

Basically, it comes down to this: Are you joining team Xbox, or team PlayStation?

Either way, you’re not made of money, and very few will be buying both consoles.

Here at Umbrellar Connect, we’ve calculated the odds and decided that the decision comes down to three key factors…

Which console do you have now?

Console tribalism dates back to 2001 when the original Xbox, PlayStation’s first major competitor, was released. Gamers with previous limited choice could now pick which side they were on, and those lines were clearly divided. Did you like the more family-friendly games of the PlayStation, or the more intense first-person shooters of the Xbox? Thanks to that divide, your decision may have already been made. You’re already used to the controllers. You already know your way around the platform. You’ve already got a subscription service set up, and all your friends are synced in with you. If you already own an Xbox, it’s likely you’ll opt for the Xbox Series X. Same with PlayStation. People stick with what they know. It’s just a fact.

The Playstation 5 will be out before Christmas. Photo/Playstation

How much do you care about exclusives?

This is a biggie, because the PlayStation has some very big launch titles landing with the PS5. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Moran looks truly epic. Sackboy’s Big Adventure seems like joyous family-friendly fun. And there’s plenty else to sink your teeth into, including Cyberpunk 2077. On the other hand, Xbox was supposed to launch with Halo Infinite, but that’s been delayed until next year. It s biggest launch title appears to be Gears Tactic, a strategy version of Gears of War – even if the Observer: System Redux next-gen reboot looks pretty impressive. But Xbox is looking long-term with the purchase of Bethesda, which could give them exclusive rights to all future Fallout and Doom games. Software could be the deciding factor for many.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will be released on November 10. Photo/Xbox

Who’s going to be using it?

If you’ve got kids and you don’t already own a Switch, a PlayStation console is probably the way to go. It remains the family-friendly console of choice, thanks to the inclusion of things like the Playroom, a series of cute interactive games pre-loaded onto each console. Xbox has plenty of cool games for kids too, including Unravel and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But its heart and soul lies in serious first-person games with impressive graphics, so if you desperately want to play the next Halo or Forza game on a next-gen console Xbox is the one for you. You’re just going to need to wait a while – and make sure the kids are in bed first.

Read more: All of the best bits from PlayStation’s PS5 reveal.

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Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz has 20 years experience writing about New Zealand's technology and entertainment industries. He lives in Auckland.

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