After months of leaks, speculation and anticipation, the first batch of Xbox Series X consoles have been delivered to fans. Microsoft has shipped its new flagship console two days before arch rival Sony’s PS5, kicking off what promises to be the most closely-fought console war in generations.
Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 will cost £449, although Microsoft is also offering a lower-spec Series S for £249.
Sony was the clear “winner” of the last console generation, shifting well over 100m units – twice that of arch rival Microsoft. The PS4 is the second highest-selling home console of all time, second only to the PlayStation 2, which sold 155m units.
While console generations usually last around five years, the most recent one spanned seven years, although that included iterative releases including the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro.
Analysts expect this generation to be a far closer affair, with Microsoft claiming to have created the world’s fastest console, while Sony’s machine may have slightly faster loading times.
In terms of looks there is a more clear differentiation, with Sony’s gigantic, white-finned machine resembling a piece of 1960 sculpture, while Microsoft has opted for a more subtle and compact black cube, which has already been nicknamed “The Fridge”.
Sony already has the edge in terms of exclusive games, with the console launching with titles including Demon’s Souls, a remake of the highly-rated 2009 Japanese game, and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
However, Microsoft will offer full backwards compatibility, giving gamers access to a gigantic library of titles, while the PS5 will only offer access to the majority of PS4 games.
Microsoft will be hoping to avoid the catastrophe of its Xbox 360 launch, which saw swathes of its machines stop working in the months following release, costing the firm more than $1bn in repairs and replacements.