Why I said no to a free Xbox Series X and kept my PS5 – Reader’s Feature

A reader explains why he chose an Xbox Series X over a PS5 and why he changed his mind, but afterwards never wanted to go back.

I’ve noticed a few people writing in with stories about how they first chose a PlayStation 5 and then either swapped it for an Xbox Series X/S or got one afterwards and preferred it. I’ve found them all interesting, as choosing a console, especially at the beginning of a generation, is always difficult and always expensive – so nobody likes to admit they got it wrong, even when they know in their heart that they did.

My experience is the opposite, as I got an Xbox Series X at first and very quickly began to feel that it was the wrong choice for me. I’ve never had any real loyalty to either company and make my choices based primarily on raw power and, secondly, exclusive games. There’s not much dispute that the Xbox Series X is more powerful than the PlayStation 5, although it’s become increasingly obvious that it makes almost no practical difference.

I don’t care what anyone says, you can’t tell any difference between the higher resolutions, which is generally the only thing the Xbox Series X does extra. Maybe if I had a 70” TV and sat with my nose against the screen I’d see it but I don’t, and I don’t think anyone else does either. So that was the first thing that started to turn me against the console.

What didn’t affect my judgement is the lack of exclusive games. I knew what the situation was before I bought the console and I was fine with it, given that Microsoft is clearly addressing the issue with buying up all the developers and with Game Pass. However, as the months went by I become increasing disenchanted with both the developers they’d chosen to buy and the games they’re making.

Psychonauts 2 is probably the only game I would still be looking forward to at the moment (it’s also on PlayStation 4) and I really couldn’t care less about Halo and Fable. Although I suppose there’s a chance Fable could surprise me and be something better than I’m expecting, but I really doubt that’ll be the case with Halo Infinite. The draw was that it didn’t matter if the games were a disappointment because they were ‘free’ on Game Pass but that doesn’t really help if you’re not interested in the games anyway.

Game Pass is undoubtedly great value for money, but I found it has some downsides. For a start, if a game isn’t on Game Pass then I found myself much less willing to spend money on it. Why spend all that money to buy a game when I don’t have to spend anything extra to play over a hundred others? Except, again, I found myself disappointingly uninterested in the majority of Game Pass games.

In part that’s because it’s so tempting to just jump between them all (especially thanks to quick resume) and never settle on any one of them for very long. I’m perfectly willing to admit that’s my fault but there’s nothing I can do about it and at the end of the day that’s the experience I’m left with.

At the same time as all this was going on (around May this year) I was getting increasingly jealous of the PlayStation 5’s line-up of games, especially Returnal and Demon’s Souls, and it was becoming obvious that Sony was walking away with this generation in terms of the number of consoles sold compared to the Xbox Series X/S. We’ve seen so many times before how this early mover advantage can shape the whole of a generation and everything so far, including publishers’ attitudes to Sony, suggests they’re still firmly in the driving seat.

So I decided to swallow my pride, sell the Xbox Series X, and buy the PlayStation 5. And I’ve been very happy with it ever since. The performance is almost exactly the same and the available games are a lot better. Sure, they’re more expensive (although it’s not like a Game Pass sub is literally free) but I’ve found it a lot easier to settle down and get into them and play them properly.

The sting in the tale, as you’ve presumably guessed from the headline, was that I was later offered an Xbox Series X for nothing from my cousin. He and his wife are moving abroad soon and didn’t want to take it with him, so he gave it to me. But I said no, and suggested he give it to my sister instead.

Why? Well, apart from trying to be nice, given I’ve already got a current gen console, I just figured that nothing had changed about my original decision and wasn’t likely to in a couple of years. I’m still not interested in Halo Infinite and I still find Game Pass makes it hard to pick a game and stick with it. If I win the lottery or get another homesick relative then, sure, I’d own an Xbox Series X again but not only have I not got space under my TV for two consoles I don’t think I have the space in my heart or in my head.

By reader Aardvark64

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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