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The Bucket List of Juan
- Bowl a game of 220 or better. This would be a grand moment considering the best game of my life (166) is more than twice my career average (82.7).
- Learn archery. Long before Jennifer Lawrence was picking cats off in The Hunger Games, I’ve always wanted to acquire this skill…for the physical benefits (improved upper body strength, balance, and coordination) and the mental aspects (clear mind and increased focus).
- Perform the Argentine Tango with a native Latin American woman in Buenos Aires. Aside from the first dance I’ll have as a married man, this may very well be the defining moment of my life on any dance floor.
- Perform the Foxtrot and the Waltz on a date. This is why I secretly took ballroom dance in Tokyo for 3 years…all for that moment to leave a marquee impression. I just hope the lucky lady respects the “lead and follow” rule.
- Go sky diving. I’ve always wanted to do it. And considering I know a lot more about parachutes—courtesy of one of my good friends—I don’t have an uneasiness about it anymore.
- Go white water rafting. I just want to see what the craze is all about. It’s high risk with the rocks and the drops but I’m sticking to one of the lower grades. I want to complete a bucket list item, not die.
- Zipline through the Cloud Forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I’ve never been one to be frightened of heights but after a particular incident in Air Force basic military training, I wasn’t really receptive to covering distances end-to-end hanging on a wire. That changed when I ended up by myself in one of the glass bottom Ngong Ping Cable Cars in Hong Kong a few years back. I’ll do a few runs Stateside before I venture down to journey through the clouds.
- Visit Red Square. Let’s break it down. A historic city. Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The Kremlin. Lenin’s Mausoleum. The Iberian Gate. Ummm…yeah, for a history freak like myself (I did have a 5.0 GPA in the history division in high school), this is a must.
- Learn to say “Hello, my name is Juan” in the native tongue of every nation in the European Union. I’m sure to impress a few of the locals and maybe a few expatriates in doing so.
- Visit Cuba. Hopefully, those cats in DC will stop playing politics and get rid of the embargo so I can go and do my 3-day travel thing. But, if not, I don’t have any issues with going as part of a people-to-people exchange. Either that or I’ll give up American citizenship and become a Canuck.
- Visit Christ the Redeemer. There is absolutely no way I’ll allow myself to leave Rio de Janeiro without a visit. It’ll definitely be one of my more proud moments as a Christian.
- Visit the Great Barrier Reef. No doubt about it, the only way I’ll truly get the maximum value out of that Nikon D90 I dropped a 12-spot on a few years back is to get a shot of this marvelous sight.
- Visit The Acropolis of Athens. You don’t just pass up a chance to see one of the most universally-recognized attractions in the world.
- Visit The Louvre. I love art museums and I actually visited this one as a teenager. But I was so young back then, still in my “tourist phase”. I didn’t appreciate it. A 2nd go-around is mandatory.
- Visit Niagara Falls. C’mon…who doesn’t want to get a picture of Niagara Falls?
- Attend the Toronto International Film Festival. I’m a lover of films so it’s no doubt that I’ll land myself in Toronto to attend one. Hey…why not see the hottest film on the block before 99% of the rest of the world does.
- Jog end to end and back on the Golden Gate Bridge. Roughly 3 ½ miles…that’s the equivalent of a normal PT run during my Air Force days.
- Buy an apple in Pike Place Market. Pretty simple but it carries a lot of meaning.
- Visit Disney World. Every kid should experience the thrill of going to “the happiest place on Earth”. I didn’t get that chance in my youth. I’ll get there but I’m likely saving the moment for the 5th birthday of my first-born child.
- Wave a flag at an international sporting event. A true fan waves the flag on the biggest stage.
- Take a picture of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak. As a fan of skylines and cityscapes, the Hong Kong skyline from The Peak is the holy grail of skylines.
- Experience A Symphony of Lights. Once one is done taking that famed picture at The Peak, get down to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade along Victoria Harbour at 8pm local and experience one of the best light shows ever.
- Make a stained glass window. It’ll make a cool arts and crafts project. Besides, I could potentially create a family heirloom. What’s cooler than that?
- Read every book by Charles Dickens. That’s my favorite all-time author. I’ve read all the majors but I’ll read them again and add the lesser knowns too. Heck, I may even buy them all to add to my library.
- Watch every movie that has won the Palme d’Or Award in my lifetime. The Golden Palm. The highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival. I’ve only seen 3 of the films released since 1984—Fahrenheit 9/11, Pulp Fiction, and Sex, Lies & Videotape—but my interest in watching the other 26 and possibly more since it is all the winners in my “lifetime” has reached a fever pitch of sorts since my official film festival debut (Toronto International Film Festival, 2013).
- Become a better public speaker by joining Toastmasters International. Something I pride myself on is my ability to write well. My ability to write well has translated into me speaking well. I want to become an even better speaker. Eventually, I want to give an oratory address that will move people. Joining Toastmasters will put me in position. After all, their motto is “Become the Speaker & Leader You Want To Be”.
- Become a notary public. It’ll probably be the closest to public office that I’ll get…and I get a cool stamp for being one, too.
- Meet a Brit soul singer from my Windows Media Player. That’s definitely not an easy one considering that list consists of the following: Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae, Marsha Ambrosius, Leona Lewis, Joss Stone, Ms. Dynamite, and Craig David. Laura Izibor is in there too but technically, she’s Irish.
- Meet an MVP or MOP from either of the following: Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, BCS National Championship Game, or Men’s Final Four. It would be extra cool to have an opportunity to converse with the guy about one of the biggest moments in his athletic career.
- Make the front page of the newspaper. I’ve been in the newspaper plenty of times…just not on the front. Being on the front page of the newspaper—local or national—is like legendary stuff. Everybody who knows you will probably keep that paper as a keepsake and you’ll have something to tell your grandkids. Hopefully, they won’t get me in under the fold.
- Become a CNN Hero. I always said I wanted to make a difference on a global level.
- Get an article published in a newspaper or magazine. You think they’re ready for me?
- Acquire post-nominal initials. I consider it cool to have initials behind your name…kind of makes you seem like a big deal.
- Win NaNoWriMo. 1667 words a day for 30 days in November. That’s it? Well, go ahead and give me my award because 50000 words ain’t nothing to me.
- Audition to be an extra in a film. Everybody loves to see their name in the credits. That’s why you see a lot of people stay back at the end of movies.
- Drive a Lamborghini or Ferrari. I’m not flashy enough to ever own one of these joints but I’m high-falutin’ enough to rent one for a day.
- Leave a valuable contribution in my area of expertise. I left a lot of knowledge, a lot of success secrets, and ideas for future development with those I worked with as I walked away from my military career as a civil engineer. I don’t know if any of that was received and it’s likely that I’ll never know. However, I can use that same drive, that same fire for professional excellence I had as a serviceman in my civilian career and leave a contribution that’ll help advance my industry.
- Create a trust fund for my child. I want my kid to have all the things I didn’t get a chance to have. I want my kid to live without the financial struggles I lived with early on.
- Find the love of my life. A lifetime of mistakes, bad calls, and heartbreaks undone by a woman whose mere presence holds much significance to my future: how’s that for a love story? Can’t wait to see it in person.
- Propose in stunning fashion. The funny thing about this is I already know how it’s going to happen and where it’s going to happen. All that’s left is a lead lady and a period of courtship.
- Get married. It’s a prerequisite for a couple of other bucket list items. And I get to kiss somebody’s grown daughter in front of everybody.
- Have a child. I want a daughter and we’ll try until I get one. Just kidding…or am I? Seriously, children are a blessing from the Lord and I would love nothing more than to have a healthy, happy child to raise towards being a productive citizen of society. It should be noted that I’m not limiting myself to just one child…just can’t complete this item until I have at least one.
- Build a house. Why buy somebody else’s dream home when I can build my own…exactly how I want it.
- Catch a wedding garter. I’m willing to bet the moment this happens, the preceding 6 bucket list items will all happen within 3 years.
- Go to an Olympic Games. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Summer or Winter Olympiad, I’m going to one in my lifetime. And I’m gonna be there for either the opening ceremony or the closing ceremony.
- Attend a national championship game. Being in attendance at college football’s biggest game and seeing the national championship game logo at midfield or feeling the intensity of being in the stands on the biggest Monday in the college basketball season would be a grand moment for me as a sports fan.
- Attend a Kansas game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. 16300 crazy fans rooting for the best team in America. Yep, I’m there. Rock Chalk Jayhawk…Go K-U.
- Attend a Packers game at Lambeau Field. It’s like the cathedral for American gridiron football. I need to get an end zone ticket so I can take in the tradition of the players jumping in the stands.
- Attend an Ohio State night game at Ohio Stadium. 106000 fans. Script Ohio. A live ESPN Saturday Night Football on ABC broadcast. I’m there.
- Attend a match at Wimbledon. It’s like the greatest event in tennis. Hopefully, I’m there when Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal are still good.
- Go to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I just want to see the Charlie Brown balloon.
- Write a poetry book. I’ve written scores of poems of all kinds in my lifetime and I’ve always thought about releasing them to the public.
- Stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. Can you say honeymoon?
- Volunteer in a 3rd world country? Going to a place that’s very much likely to be even worse than the place I grew up in and giving my time to make life just a little bit more comfortable would be a great thing for me in so many facets of life.
- Take a picture in front of every Statehouse in America. Completing this one means that I’ll have to step foot into every state capital in the United States. That means I’ll have to one day return to Florida and Louisiana…places I’ve long stayed away from.
- Collect a postcard from 100 different cities in 100 different countries. This one is actually going to be easier than I imagined…being that I’m a Postcrosser and all. Oh yeah, I’m not counting the United States of America.
- Throw 50 $50 bills from the top of a 50-story building in a city of 1 million residents. How many people you know got $2500 to throw off the top of a building in a large city? I just want to see how the people below will react to money falling from the sky. And who knows…maybe it’ll be an on-time blessing for somebody.
- Visit every Major League Baseball ballpark. I’m a huge fan of the game and sitting in attendance in every stadium should be a goal of every fan. Heck, I may do it all in one season.
- Attend Game 7 of a championship series. I don’t know if there is any more dramatic finish to a sports season than a Game 7. It’s truly winner take all. The intrigue for me is that it’ll be short notice (1 day for World Series, 2 days for NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals). Good thing I got a StubHub account, a trusted travel advisor, and a leisure fund.
- Kiss at the top of the London Eye. Every London bloke has this on his list…so should every American guy.
- Take a date to a Michelin 3-star restaurant. So you got me, a hot chick who’s probably wearing an LBD, and one of the finest dining establishments on the planet…that’ll be a nice evening out all by itself. It would also be the bookend of the dating experience for me being that my very first date was at the Arby’s next to my job at Domino’s Pizza.
- Solve a Rubik’s Cube. I bought one with my first ever paycheck in November 2000 and I still haven’t mastered it. Heck, I still haven’t gotten 2 solid-colored sides yet.
- Milk a cow. It looks creepy on TV and I actually think it hurts the cows, even though experts say it doesn’t. It would be an awesome experience though. I’ll even wear a straw hat and coveralls.
- Walk the edge of the CN Tower. Yep…I’m gonna be all up on the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world, walking on the edge. That’ll be 102.3 times better than walking on the glass ledge at the Sears Tower.
- Attend a FIFA World Cup Final. This is the marquee spectator sport experience. Being there for the championship of the world’s pastime is unmatched by any other sporting event.
- Ride on the front row of every rollercoaster at Cedar Point wearing a blindfold. Two summers ago, it was a trip to Kings Dominion that I rode on the front row of The Dominator and just like that, the thrill-seeker in me that had been long dormant was awakened. Now, my eyes are set for a trip to Sandusky, Ohio to take on a dozen rollercoasters that carry a “high” or “aggressive” thrill rating. Doing so with a blindfold on adds to the intrigue.
- Tip 300% on a meal $70 or more. I remember the days where I paid exact change on meals. Now, I pay 10% on bad service and at least 20% on all other service. Dropping a tip 3 times the price of the meal would by far be a sign of the best service I’ve ever had. Crazy thing is it might happen the same night I go to that Michelin 3-star restaurant.
- Visit the Auschwitz Concentration Camp or the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Horrible, despicable, unimaginable crimes happened in both places…changed entire ethnic groups forever. A history guy like myself would want to see the damage up close and personal…and to pay respects to the lives lost.
- Host a foreign exchange student. Personally, I think it would be cool to play host to a student from a foreign country. It would offer me the opportunity to leave an impression at an international level and I can probably make some kid’s experience in America or wherever I’m at a memorable one.
- Attend every race of the Triple Crown in the same year. I’ll get to wear my #1 suit to the Kentucky Derby, drink a virgin Black-Eyed Susan at the Preakness Stakes, and listen to the New York theme song at the Belmont Stakes all in a span of 5 weeks. Who knows…I might even see history too.
- Fly First Class on an Emirates A380. Imagine a 5-star luxury hotel 35000 miles in the sky, moving at 580 miles per hour…that’s Emirates First Class. You get a private suite with a sliding door, a personal mini-bar, a wardrobe, a fully flat bed with mattress along with on-demand food specially prepared per request, access to an onboard lounge to mingle with other passengers…and it has a shower spa.
- Complete a 365 Photography Project. This is a mere test of discipline. I barely got through a 30-day photo challenge on Instagram. A 365-day challenge would be heartbreaking if I got halfway and missed a day. But that’s the intrigue of it.
- Swim with stingrays at Stingray City. This is the only reason I’ve come up with for really wanting to go to the Caribbean.
- Take up residence in Vancouver, British Columbia. From the first time I visited in 2006, I’ve always been fascinated with the city, the people, and the culture. Oh, and I can’t forget the awesome views along False Creek. At some point in this life, that’s where I’m going to live…or at least have a space where I pay a utility bill. Completion of this bucket list item includes the entire Greater Vancouver Area so setting up shop in the suburbs of Whistler, Richmond, Surrey, or Burnaby would count.
- Complete this bucket list. It’s as simple as that.
Next-gen console buying guide - a detailed look at the next generation consoles
A new generation of gaming is nearly upon us, and for those us who aren't PC gamers, that means weighty decisions about which machine to pick as our primary gaming rig for the next six or seven years. Now that we know pretty much everything about the Xbox and PlayStation, let's compare the two to try and discern which console would offer you the best gaming experience and value. I'll do the Xbox first because the difference between the two consoles is larger than with PlayStation.
PS5 vs Xbox - HardwareXbox
The Xbox brand has come a long way in the past seven years. The release of the Xbox One was disastrous, plagued by always online, intrusive DRM, high pricing because of Kinect, and a bunch of other silly decisions from clueless execs who were completely out of touch which what gamers wanted. But ever since MS fired Don Mattrick and replaced him with Phil Spencer as the head of the Xbox division, Phil has slowly turned things around, coming up with many new innovations in an effort to get the xbox back up to competing with the big boys.
Their hardware team too went from creating a prohibitively priced but technically weak console, to the most powerful console of this generation. For next gen, they've gone with an even more ambitious vision, creating two consoles at different price points targeting different output resolutions, but hoping to achieve the same level of performance. That's quite the goal! Let's check out the specs.
|Component||Xbox Series X||Xbox Series S|
|CPU||8 Core AMD Zen 2 @3.8Ghz/3.6GhzSMT||8 Core AMD Zen 2 @3.6Ghz/3.4SMT|
|GPU||AMD RDNA2 GPU 52CU's @1.825 Ghz||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CU's @1.565 Ghz|
|GPU Power||12.15 Teraflops||4 Teraflops|
|RAM||[email protected]'s / [email protected]/s||[email protected]'s / [email protected]/s|
|Storage||1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD w/Velocity||512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD w/Velocity|
|I/O Throughput||2.4 GB/s Uncompressed / 4.8 GB/s Compressed||2.4 GB/s Uncompressed / 4.8 GB/s Compressed|
|Performance Target||4k UHD||1440p|
|Disc Drive||4KUHD Blu-Ray||No Disc Drive|
Before we go any further though, let's untangle this alphabet soup of tech specs and try and translate it into something readable(tech geeks bear with me, there's a lot of oversimplification here, I know!)
Teraflops - Short for Trillion Floating Point Operations per Second. A floating point operation is basically a standard arithmetic operation(multiplication, division etc) involving decimal numbers(floating points). So the 4 Teraflop Series S GPU, for instance, can do 4 trillion of these a second. Phew!
PCiE/NVMe - Short for Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, PCIe is just a connector standard that transfers data across components. These connectors have various lanes of traffic, so the more lanes a component utilizes, the faster information will flow, like on a road or highway. NVMe(Nonvolatile Memory Express) drives use more lanes than SATA drives probably used by your computer, which means way faster speeds. It's planning a road layout and choosing to use a highway instead of a normal road to make things faster.
Xbox Velocity Architecture - Fancy marketing term for a collection of technologies that aim to increase rendering and texture streaming efficiency i.e squeeze as much juice out of the hardware as possible. It incudes stuff like Sampler Feedback Streaming(tech that allows the hardware to load only the mipmaps that are necessary, reducing I/O because less data has to be sent to RAM to load a frame), improvements to DX, and of course a fast SSD(although less powerful than the one on the PS5). It also enables stuff like Quick Resume.
So what does this all mean for gaming? Well, the Xbox Series X is a way more powerful machine across the board, aimed at hitting a higher performance target. It needs higher specs because it's outputting 4K images as opposed to a target of 1440p on the Series S. Microsoft says the Series S specs have been neatly scaled so the only difference between the two consoles is resolution. Don't take them at their word though, there are bound to be other small differences , resolution will just be the biggest differentiator. So that means both consoles are equipped with technologies like Raytracing, Variable Rate Shading, Sampler Feedback Streaming, all that good next-gen stuff.
Arguably the defining feature of Next-Generation graphics, Ray tracing is a radical new way to render realistic graphics on-screen. In order to understand how it works, let's think a bit about how graphics are rendered.
The real world is complicated. Very complicated. Trying to recreate that in a game requires the use of various algorithms to simulate various parts of the real world, like a physics engine to handle various forces and collisions, a shadow and reflection maps to handle shadows and reflections, a light map to handle the lighting of a scene, and of course a virtual camera viewport to simulate your eyes. There are a ton of things game developers do to try and recreate the real world as accurately as possible with the processing power available to them, and you can see them if you've ever opened up a game graphics menu where it allows you to toggle certain settings, or 'tricks' on or off, that were developed to make scenes look more realistic.
So where does ray tracing come in? Well, Raytracing is meant to replace 'fake' methods of rendering stuff like lighting and shadows by attempting to realistically simulate the way lighting and shadows actually work in the real world. If you've ever taken a high school physics class, you'll know that light travels in the form of rays - reflecting, refracting, getting absorbed etc ad infinitum. Ray tracing is the process by which computers attempt to simulate this in an effort to make scenes look more realistic than what can be achieved by artificial tricks.
For instance, check out Raytraced minecraft
Wow! Quite the quantum jump there, right? While minecraft's graphics were never technically very impressive, with raytracing everything looks so much nicer. Water actually looks like water and not blue lines, dark caves actually look dark and not just black, lava actually behaves like lava instead of looking like someone spilled some red paint on a light source, everything just looks that much more realistic.
It's achieved by each pixel, both inside and outside the scene(traditional rendering methods typically only consider pixels inside the scene for lighting and shadows) casting off a ray of light, the path of which is then traced around the scene until it hits a light source or an artificial limit. This eliminates the need for manually providing lightmaps or reflection details, because those can be simulated in real time and look even better. As you can imagine, it's very computationally intensive, which is why we haven't really see it go mainstream in gaming until now. Even with the monsters that are this-gen consoles, they probably won't be able to hit their performance targets with full RT. From what we can see so far, the Xbox Series X will likely run at 4k30 with RT, and the Series S will run at 1080p30 with RT.
Alright that's enough about Raytracing for now, back to the console comparison.
- Is there any benefit to getting the Series X if I don't have a 4k TV? - Yes, but probably not a 15k difference. The Series X will still be processing higher resolution textures and might even give you better framerates in games, but the primary reason to get a Series X over the S if you don't have a 4k TV will probably just be to future-proof yourself in case you ever do decide to buy one in the future
- Why would I need Quick Resume? - A strange question, but one I have nevertheless seen asked a fair number of times. To clarify, you don't really 'use' quick resume as you benefit from it. Just opening a game will take you right back to the state it was in when you last closed it, so you don't need to sit through loading screens, menus, or studio logos to get in the game. It also persists across cold boots.
- What are the PC equivalents to the Xbox Series X specs? - The Series X GPU lies somewhere between the RTX 2080 Super and the RTX 2080 ti as far as raw performance is concerned. As for the CPU, the closest PC equivalent would probably be the AMD Ryzen 7 3700x, or a less than an Intel i7 9700k.
Arguably the more highly anticipated console, the PS5 succeeds the PS4, which absolutely crushed the Xbox One this generation in terms of sales and games. Fueled by phenomenal exclusives like God of War, Spiderman, Bloodborne, TLOU2 etc, the PS4 juggernaut's got quite a bit of momentum going into this generation. Sadly as we all know, it hit a bit of a legal hiccup coming to India so it'll be delayed. We also don't know as much about it as we do the Xbox because Sony hasn't actually sent out any units to Influencers/Reviewers yet, so all we have to go on are the specs, demos, and teardowns that Sony themselves have provided.
This generation, Sony's offering two variants of the PS5, but in contrast to Microsoft's strategy, both their consoles are equally powerful and offer basically the same gaming experience, the only difference being that one plays discs while the other doesn't. The price difference between the two consoles is also 10k as opposed to 15k with the Xbox.
|Component||Xbox Series X||PlayStation 5||Xbox Series S|
|CPU||8 Core AMD Zen 2 @3.8Ghz/3.6GhzSMT||8 Core AMD Zen 2 CPU varfreq* upto 3.5GhzSMT||8 Core AMD Zen 2 @3.6Ghz/3.4SMT|
|GPU||AMD RDNA2 GPU 52CU's @1.825 Ghz||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36CUs varfreq upto 2.23Ghz||AMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CU's @1.565 Ghz|
|GPU Power||12.15 Teraflops||10.3 Teraflops||4 Teraflops|
|RAM||[email protected]'s / [email protected]/s||16GB GDDR6 RAM @ 448GB/s||[email protected]'s / [email protected]/s|
|Storage||1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD w/Velocity||Custom 825GB SSD||512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD w/Velocity|
|I/O Throughput||2.4 GB/s Uncompressed / 4.8 GB/s Compressed||5.5GBs Uncompressed / 8-9 GB/s Compressed||2.4 GB/s Uncompressed / 4.8 GB/s Compressed|
|Performance Target||4k UHD||4k UHD||1440p|
|Disc Drive||4KUHD Blu-Ray||Optional Disc Drive||No Disc Drive|
On paper, the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console, then the PlayStations, with the Series S coming in at a distant third. The Series X has a slightly faster CPU, a significantly faster GPU, and slightly faster RAM than the PS5. Meanwhile, the PS5 has the edge in I/O throughput, which is about twice as fast as that on the Series X when it comes to raw numbers.
What do these numbers actually mean for games? Well, we just don't know yet, because multiplats have yet to be benchmarked on the PS5. Sony seems to be playing their cards close to the vest, and haven't given their hardware to any reviewers to try. It's a safe guess to say that games will probably look slightly better on the Series X with maybe slightly better performance, but the difference is unlikely to be significant and probably won't matter to most casual gamers. Meanwhile, the difference in I/O throughput could mean that the PS5 will possibly load worlds and start up games faster than the Series X. It will probably be most noticeable in exclusive first party titles that are coded to specifically take advantage of the SSD.
Let's discuss hardware value by price. When it comes to price, the best value hardware wise is clearly the PS5 DE. For merely 5k more than the Series S you're getting 3-4x the processing power. If you have a 4k TV at home, it's probably not worth considering the Series S, just the PS5 and the Series X. Maybe when the Series S is more reasonably priced in India according to the $1 = ₹100 rule it could be a contender, but as of now, it's my personal opinion that the Series S is just not good value in India for those who have a 4K TV at home and the budget to afford one.
But of course there's more to a system than just hardware. Now that we've drawn up some specs comparisons, let's get down to the software side.
PS5 vs Xbox- SoftwareFor most gamers, this will be the real meat of the comparison. The power differences between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X are probably not significant enough on their own to decide a purchase, so for most casual gamers, software is what will decide it.
By far the biggest difference software side on the Xbox is Xbox Game Pass. Love or hate Xbox, you can't deny that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is quite simply the best value in gaming right now. Following this guide from the subreddit , you can get 3 years of it for as low as ₹7500. In case you've been living under a rock, here's what you get with Xbox Game Pass.
- Xbox Live Gold (Multiplayer and Games with Gold)
- Access to a growing and rotating library of ~350 games(as part of PC+Console. Console only - ~250 Games)
- Perks - This can sometimes include cool stuff like the presently included 3 months of Discord Nitro, but so far for the most part I've not found it to be of too much use unless you play a lot of free to play games like World of Tanks or Warframe.
- xCloud - Not really relevant in India right now, but if you go the 3 years of gamepass route it might be a nice bonus down the line. It's possible to access xCloud right now with a VPN, but it's not a great experience.
- EA Play - Game Pass will also soon include access to EA Play, the basic tier of their subscription service, including very popular games like FIFA, Battlefield, Sims, etc. It also includes trials of the latest EA games.
- A 20% Discount on buying the games included in Game Pass, if you decide to buy them to keep.
Game Pass is pretty much the USP of the Xbox right now. For gamers on limited budgets, it's just tremendous value. For ₹700 per month(It's regionally priced too!), you get to play way more games and have much more fun with your console than you could have had without the service. For many, this could possibly be the decider.
The second big difference, of course, is in the exclusives. Here's what the upcoming Xbox exclusive lineup looks like -
- Halo Infinite
- Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Senua's Saga - Hellblade 2
- Forza Motorsport
- The Elder Scrolls VI
The third big difference is in backwards compatibility. The Series X and S will be compatible with every single Xbox One game, a lot of the most popular Xbox 360 games, and some of the most popular OG Xbox games. Here's the full list of 607 supported titles. It's great if you're already invested in the platform or are nostalgic for old titles like Burnout Revenge, Red Dead Redemption, Black Ops 2, Fallout New Vegas, etc. Probably won't be a big thing for most people, but for those it will help, it can make a purchase.
there's also a bunch of conveniences like quick resume and play anywhere. Quick Resume works like a save state where the console just loads back to where you last were when you quit the game instead of starting the game afresh. It works with multiple games at a time and persists even if you pull the plug on the Xbox. Play Anywhere works with some titles where your saves carry over from Xbox to PC. Nice to have, but not anything major.
Finally, an important note - unlike the PS5, even Free to Play games need a subscription to play online. So yeah, you can't play stuff like Fortnite or Warzone without a live gold or game pass ultimate subscription. If you spend a lot of time playing F2P games and can't afford game pass, this is a significant downside that might even be a dealbreaker, depending on how much time you spend playing F2P and how broke you are.
Will future Bethesda Games be Xbox exclusive? - We still don't have definitive confirmation on whether future Bethesda titles will be exclusive, but it's highly likely that they will be, considering that Minecraft excluded, no other Microsoft first party studio currently develops games for other platforms. Phil Spencer also recently went on record to say that they're not worried about losing out on PS sales. Keep in mind that games like DOOM, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, will sell many Xboxes if they go exclusive. So while we can't claim anything definitively either way, don't buy a PS5 expecting to play these games for sure.
What's the best deal on Game Pass? - Currently it's the 3 year gold conversion deal. It probably won't last forever, so don't pass up the opportunity. Follow the guide linked above.
Are PC and Console Game Pass the same? - No. They are similar services but have different libraries. While all Xbox Games Studios games will release Day 1 on both platforms, major third party titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 are not likely to hit PC game pass.
Software wise, the biggest reason to buy the PS5 are for its exclusives. So far, PS4 exclusives blow Microsoft's out of the water. God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, time and again Sony has proven that they have some of the best studios out there. The PS5 will certainly have some spectacular games. Here's what the upcoming PS5 exclusive lineup looks like -
- Spider-Man : Miles Morales(Launch)
- Demon's Souls (Launch)
- God of War - Ragnarok
- Ratchet and Clank : A Rift Apart
- Gran Turismo 7
- Sackboy - A Big Adventure
- Final Fantasy 16 (timed)
- Deathloop, Ghostwire(timed)
On the downside, great games can be quite expensive. As you've heard, Sony has confirmed that all PS5 first party exclusives will be 4999 going forward(no regional pricing). So if you care about playing Ratchet and Clank/God of WaGran Turismo at launch, be ready to shell out the cash. Personally I don't believe 5k for a single player game is worth it in India, but of course it depends on your personal finances.
To alleviate this somewhat we have PS Now and the PS Plus collection, Sony's answer to Game Pass. The PS Plus collection includes a lot of popular PS4 exclusives and some third party titles like Arkham Knight and Fallout 4. It's a really good deal if you're jumping into the PS ecosystem for the first time, but those who already own PS5's will probably already have played most of the games on there and will only benefit once they grow the service.
Sony also a bunch of conveniences in the UI like activites, which let you jump right into a certain part of the game. It's also rumored to have some sort of quick resume, but nothing's been confirmed in that regard yet.
As for Backwards Compatibility, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will be BC with nearly all PS4 titles, but PS1,2,and 3 games will be left to history. Regrettable, but probably not a dealbreaker for most people.
So on the Sony side, we have some killer exclusives but not as much value with highly priced games and no game pass.
VerdictSo, for the most important question, which one do you get? Well, even after 21,000 words I won't really pretend to have an answer. There are too many variables to consider. How invested you are in a particular ecosystem, your personal financial situation, the type of games you like, etc. That said, I have some broad recommendations -
- If you have already have a 4k TV and have/plan to buy online - The PS5 DE is the way to go. The asinine pricing of the Series S in India makes this particular situation an easy call in my opinion. Yeah games will be expensive, but if you have the budget to buy a 4k TV maybe you can afford it. If not, you could always wait and pick up the games later when they go on sale. Kind of a bummer, but you'd still be playing on better hardware and actually putting your 4k TV to good use, instead of wasting its potential on the Series S. Maybe this will change if the Series S ever comes down in price, but for now this is the easiest reco to make.
- If you don't own a 4k TV and are strapped for cash(maybe you lost your job during rona), get the Series S. The Series S gets a lot of flak from hardcore gamers but IMO it is still a great gaming machine. for those upgrading from the Xbox One/One S/PS4/PS4 Slim it will still be a huge upgrade. Don't get carried away by 4k Marketing. 1440p gaming still looks great, and if the Series S can keep its promises of 1440p 60fps or even 1080p w/ Raytracing, games will look gorgeous and play great. Game Pass is also phenomenal value, and you get to play way more games for cheaper than on the PS4.
- If neither of these statements are close to your use case, don't consider the Series S or the PS5 DE. The PS5 DE might be a tempting buy for those who own discless collections and want to save money, but that would be a mistake. You're probably going to be playing on this console for at least 5-6 years, and are going to buy many games in that time. With PS5 games priced as highly as they are, you're almost certainly going to make up the difference and more buying expensive non-regionally priced games. The PS5 might cost more, but buying physical will save you a ton of money over digital purchases.
- XSX vs PS5 is kind of a toss-up. XSX is compact and more powerful and is overall better value with Game Pass, but doesn't have many next-gen games to play at launch(most Xbox heavy hitters are landing much later). Meanwhile the PS5 has Demon's Souls and Miles Morales which comes with Spider Man Remastered. Personally I would go with an XSX in this situation because it's better value and will probably have more exclusives down the line(I don't mind waiting), but if you're eager to get on the next-gen hype train as soon as possible or are already invested in the PS ecosystem/you just love PS games that much, the PS5 is also a pretty good purchase. Definitely the hardest call to make.
- If you are much into WRPGS, go with Xbox. Microsoft has a solid lock on western RPG's this generation, with titles like Fable, Avowed, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Starfield. Given that Sony doesn't really make these sorts of games themselves and there aren't that many big WRPG devs left(CDPR and BioWare are pretty much the only ones I think?), you're better off going with Xbox if you're a fan of these sorts of games.
Closing ThoughtsPhew! This write-up turned out to be a lot longer than I had initially expected. It was quite a bit of work writing it, and I did quite a bit of research to ensure that it's as accurate as possible. I'm still human so I've probably made some mistakes still, so please feel free to correct me if you spot an error.
And of course, these are ultimately just my thoughts on the matter as someone who owns and plays on both consoles right now, as well as PC, and will probably end up getting both new consoles down the line. I've tried to keep this as unbiased as possible, but if you feel I've misrepresented something or left something out, do weigh in in the comments and help other people out.
Tl;Dr - Consoles good, console war bad.