So Xbox Series X Will Have 12 Teraflops: What About PS5?

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft seems a bit strident this time around. For a few months, Microsoft and Sony have been playing a game of chicken, or leapfrog, or whichever childhood game we want to use to say that they’ve been alternating releasing more information about the Xbox Series X and PS5, respectively. Microsoft is the upstart, in a way. It’s a strange way to think about one of the largest tech companies in the world, but PlayStation dominates this space right now, and that’s why Microsoft has to get out front to demand attention.

That’s why there’s more Xbox Series X information out there right now: we know what the new console will look like, we know what its major launch title will be, and now we know something about how powerful it is. The company confirmed this morning that the console will have 12 Teraflops, making it about twice as powerful as the Xbox One X. Eyes now turn, as they do, to Sony.

The competition is hanging back. Sony tipped part of this strategy in an investor call when it indicated that it may be waiting for Microsoft to confirm an Xbox Series X price before announcing that of the PS5, and from the outside it seems this philosophy applies to other aspects of the reveal strategy as well. Now that Microsoft has announced part of its own specs, Sony can use that information as it will.

We’ve had a number of leaks about just how powerful the PS5 will be, but none of that is worth much without official confirmation. The most recent number I’ve seen was 12.6, in a leak that also pegged Xbox Series X slightly lower at 11.8. That leak also said that Series X could still get over 12 in a final build, so this official word does not disprove it. It doesn’t prove it either, because that 12 number was guessable.

In this case, a Teraflop is two things: it’s an acronym for “Floating Point Operations Per Second”, and a kind of shorthand for total computing power. It’s also marketing. Whichever company can lay claim to more of them will be talking that up, even if the real situation may be more complex than that. For more information on this and other tech topics, always go to Digital Foundry.

Nobody is expecting striking differentials on anything this generation. Both companies are likely targeting similar specs, and that things will look a little like what Xbox One and PS4 would have looked like if Xbox One didn’t launch $100 more expensive because of a depth-sensing camera. That doesn’t mean that we won’t see a lot of jockeying around this sort of thing, however. Price was Xbox One’s biggest problem, but PS4’s slight power edge certainly factored in too.

This is where we’re at with this dramatically extended season of console reveals that arguably started back in April with an article in Wired. Microsoft has given us a fair amount of information about the Xbox Series X, and people are getting antsy for more information from Sony. Sony now has that information in hand, and it can figure out how best to message whatever it’s going to reveal in its next round. The company is still in an enviable position as the current market leader and the holder of a whole bunch of valuable IP: a small glimpse of the next God of War game could easily steal the internet’s attention for a week at least.

I would expect something from Sony soon. either an announcement for a full reveal, or a smaller drop of information along the lines of what Microsoft has been doing. At the end of the day a lot of this is still just rehearsal for the major marketing blitz that we’ll see in late summer and early fall, but Xbox One taught us just what kind of an impact early inertia can have.

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