PLAYSTATION 5 BUYING GUIDE

PlayStation is a powerhouse video game brand with innovative consoles and some of the best games ever released, which are available exclusively on the PlayStation platform. Simply stated, if you want to play the best of the best, you need to own a PlayStation console.

As with any tech platform, though, getting started with it can be daunting. And considering that competition in the gaming industry is fierce, it’s important that you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision. 

THE HARDWARE

Sony’s new video game console is one of the most significant steps forward for the brand after nearly 26 years. The PS5 delivers a new design, a new way to react, and its game-changing controller represents a new way to play. Like Microsoft, Sony is offering two next-gen console SKUs. But unlike Microsoft, Sony’s versions are technically identical – the main difference being the presence (or lack thereof) of an optical disc drive.

So which one should you choose?

PS5 vs PS5 Digital?

The Case for the Standard PS5

The standard PS5 is a great choice for gamers, but especially so if you don’t have the best internet, love to collect physical copies of games, want to watch Ultra HD Blu-ray discs without having to buy a separate player, or primarily purchased physical versions of PS4 games and don’t plan on keeping your PS4 console.

The last point is important, because losing the disc drive means you can no longer use your previous PS4 discs. That factor alone can make up the price difference.

The Case for the PS5 Digital

If you have good internet and plan on buying digital copies of games, the PS5 Digital Edition is your best choice. Of course, because the console lacks a disc drive, that means you won’t be able to play Ultra HD Blu-ray’s or physical game discs, but Sony has confirmed that digital copies of PS4 games can be transferred to the PS5.

There are two significant downsides worth mentioning. First, if you do not have reliable, fast internet, you may be waiting quite a while for game downloads, and may run into your data cap if you’re downloading a lot of games in a short period of time. Second, not being able to purchase physical discs means you (a) won’t be able to purchase used games, and (b) won’t be able to take advantage of sales on physical editions of games.

Specifications

PS5 STANDARD

$ 499
99
  • 8X Cores @ 3.5GHZ, Custom Zen 2 CPU
  • 10.28 TFLOPS, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz Custom RDNA 2
  • 16 GB GDDR6, 256-bit
  • 448GB/s
  • 825GB Custom NVME SSD
  • 5.5GB/s (Raw), 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
  • NVMe SSD slot
  • USB external HDD support
  • 4K UHD Blu-Ray drive
  • 390mm x 104mm x 260mm

PS5 DIGITAL

$ 399
99
  • 8X Cores @ 3.5GHZ, Custom Zen 2 CPU
  • 10.28 TFLOPS, 36 CUs @ 2.23 GHz Custom RDNA 2
  • 16 GB GDDR6, 256-bit
  • 448GB/s
  • 825GB Custom NVME SSD
  • 5.5GB/s (Raw), 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
  • NVMe SSD slot
  • USB external HDD support
  • No optical disc drive
  • 390mm x 104mm x 260mm
VSG CHOICE
THE SERVICES

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus levels up your PlayStation experience, giving you access to online multiplayer, free games (two select titles each month), and exclusive discounts, for the monthly price of $5 per month.

PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now is Sony’s answer to Game Pass, giving you access to more than 800 games to enjoy on your PlayStation console or Windows PC. You can stream or download titles to your device, and your PS Now subscription includes full access to all available online multiplayer modes.

THE GAMES

There are far too many games in the PlayStation Store to go through here. But if you’re looking for something new to play, here are a few that VSG highly recommends. Alternatively, browse the PlayStation Archives for information on all PlayStation games VSG has covered.

THE REVIEWS

Chelsea Stark

Polygon

The PlayStation 5 isn’t taking any huge risks. Aside from the hardware’s unconventional design — two white fins jutting out from a sleek black tower — there isn’t really a moment where Sony has zagged on the features you’d expect from a game console in 2020. In a year of change, the PlayStation 5 is consistent. That's worth celebrating.

 

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Mike Williams

USgamer

While the exterior makes a broad, powerful statement, the day-to-day use of the PlayStation 5 feels a lot like its predecessor. What you actually gain are 4K and 60fps as clear, consistent benchmarks for many games, drastically-reduced load times, and the new haptic features of the DualSense controller. And while Sony and its third-party partners come to grips with the PS5, you’re able to play all your favorite PS4 games, some with impressive graphical improvements. This is a great foundation though, for Sony to repeat the great success the PS4 had this generation.

 

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Mat Paget

GameSpot

At launch, the PS5 is an excellent console that paves the way for a promising future where gaming experiences can evolve in interesting ways and the process of experiencing them is streamlined. Its custom SSD, unique DualSense controller, and powerful specs draw a distinct line between the last generation and the next.

 

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Jason Schreier

Bloomberg

The PlayStation 5 is an impressive machine, but even with its advancements and standout controller, it’s hard to recommend the purchase of a console this year. Whether it’s the new PlayStation or Xbox, most gamers would be better served waiting a year or two. By then, the hardware will probably be available at a discount, and there should be a decent library of games you can’t play elsewhere.

 

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Mike Minotti

Venturebeat

The PlayStation 5 is a big investment, but early adopters won’t regret their decision. Even in an era of diminishing returns, the PlayStation 5 manages to excite you. It’s not going to fundamentally change the way that you play video games. But it’s going to offer a significantly better experience, thanks to its fast loading times and stronger hardware than you had with your PlayStation 4. If the PlayStation 5 has one big negative, it’s the SSD’s small storage space. It feels kind of silly that I can only keep a handful of games installed on the drive at any given time.

 

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GameCentral

Metro UK

The PlayStation 5 is an impressive console and while many of its features, such as fast loading and the ability to run games at native 4K or 60fps, are replicated by the Xbox Series X the superior games line-up and the new features of the DualSense stand above anything Microsoft is offering so far.

 

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Sam Loveridge

GamesRadar+

The PS5 is already doing everything right. By gambling on a complete redesign of its hardware, controller, and key UI features, PlayStation has unlocked the next-generation of gaming. While the improved graphics and framerates are clearly a boon – and something we’ll no doubt see evolve over the coming years – it’s the improvements to gaming immersion that really define the generational leap. Wave goodbye to loading screens, and say hello to having more insight into your games at the touch of a button. There are quality-of-life improvements aplenty here, all wrapped up in a console that looks and feels like the future – even if not everyone will love the console design itself.

 

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