PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (2023)

By Marshall Honorof

last updated

Tom’s Guide compares the PS5 and Xbox Series X exclusive lineups so far

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (1)

We’re almost two years into the life cycles of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and simply finding a console is still something of a challenge. However, if you do manage to track down a system, the next big challenge might be finding an exclusive game to play. While exclusive games more or less defined the last two console generations, these days, even just nailing down what counts as an “exclusive” can be pretty slippery.

Still, since exclusive games can be a big factor in purchasing one console or the other, Tom’s Guide wanted to at least attempt a comparison between the two. In the competition of PS5 vs. Xbox Series X, who has the best exclusive games? To find out, we’ll first need to define what an “exclusive game” even means in the current gaming sphere.

Exclusive parameters

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (2)

First things first: We’re going to use the term “exclusive” a little more loosely than we might have in the PS3/Xbox 360 days. If you take “exclusive” to mean “available on one, and only one, console,” then the current console generation has precisely five exclusive games, all of which are on PS5. That wouldn’t make for a particularly interesting or insightful comparison.

(Video) Comparing PS5 & XSX Console Exclusives 2022 - 2024

After conferring with the rest of the Tom’s Guide staff, here is what we came up with, for the purposes of this article:

A “PS5 exclusive” is defined as “any new game (not a remaster) from a major publisher that has come out since the PS5 launch, which is not available on Xbox, and has a PS5-optimized version.” Under this definition, something like Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a PS5 exclusive; something like Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is not.

An “Xbox Series X/S exclusive” is defined as “any new game (not a remaster) from a major publisher that has come out since the Xbox Series X/S launch, which is not available on PlayStation, and has an Xbox Series X/S-optimized version.” Under this definition, something like Halo Infinite is an Xbox Series X/S exclusive; something like Gears 5 is not.

Bear in mind that many of PS5 exclusives have PC versions; all of the Xbox exclusives have PC versions. Again, the state of exclusives in 2022 is quite different than it was even three or four years ago.

We are aware that these are imperfect definitions, and don’t really account for certain edge cases. (Is Demon’s Souls more of a remake or a remaster? Does Microsoft Flight Simulator count if the PC version came out before the Xbox Series X one?) But it’s at least a working definition, and lets us try some apples-to-apples comparisons. Now, let’s dive in.

PS5 exclusives

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (3)

Based on our definition above, the PS5 has 12 major exclusive games:

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Deathloop
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Destruction AllStars
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
  • Ghostwire: Tokyo
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Returnal
  • Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure

In terms of metrics, Tom’s Guide has reviewed 10 of these games. Their score averages out to 4 out of 5 on our review scale, which we would consider “great.” On Metacritic, their score averages out to 80 out of 100, which is considered “generally favorable reviews.”

Granted, review scores aren’t everything, so take these for what they’re worth. But it’s good to have a numerical metric as a baseline.

In terms of overall quality, it’s hard to argue with the PS5’s output so far. Destruction AllStars was a bit of a dud, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure is probably not a kids’ game for the ages. But just about everything else on the list is a best-in-class experience, from the intricate clockwork world of Deathloop, to the instantaneous dimension-hopping in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

There’s a fair amount of variety here, with everything from first-person shooters to vehicular combat sims. Third-person action/adventure skews a bit heavy, admittedly, with five titles following similar formulas. But that’s not a majority, let alone an overwhelming one.

Overall, Sony has had a strong showing so far — even if relatively few of these games are truly “PS5 or bust.”

Something that might tip the balance is the upcoming God of War Ragnarok, and it seems a pretty hefty game too after the game length may have been leaked.

Xbox Series X/S exclusives

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (4)

(Video) PS5 vs Xbox Exclusives in 2021 | Who Really Had More?

Based on our definition above, the Xbox Series X/S has three major exclusive games:

  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Halo Infinite
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator

In terms of metrics, Tom’s Guide has reviewed all three of these games. Their score averages out to 4 out of 5 on our review scale, which we would consider “great.” On Metacritic, their score averages out to 88 out of 100, which is considered “generally favorable reviews.”

What struck me while researching Xbox Series X/S exclusives is just how few of them there are — at least from major publishers. (The indie scene is quite different, but there are thousands of indie games available on PC, Xbox and Switch — comparing availability among all of the platforms would be a whole project in and of itself.) Many “optimized for Xbox Series X/S” games came out years ago, and Microsoft seems more committed to building up its ecosystem than releasing console exclusives.

With such a small sample size, it seems difficult to draw meaningful conclusions about Xbox Series X exclusives in general. We can at least say that Forza Horizon 5 and Microsoft Flight Simulator are excellent games, and Halo Infinite is a pretty darn good one. There’s also a lot of variety on display here: an open-world racing game, a first-person shooter and an old-school flight sim.

Experimental limitations

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (5)

As mentioned above, this piece is focused on titles from major publishers, which is what gamers usually think of when they think of “exclusives.” The complete picture is significantly more complex than that, once you take indies into account. The PlayStation has traditionally had a mercurial relationship with indie titles, whereas Microsoft went all-in on indie publishing years ago. If you want low-cost, low-budget titles and don’t feel like shelling out for a PC, the Xbox (or the Switch) is the place to go.

The “optimized for Xbox Series X/S” program also complicates matters. This program gives backwards-compatible titles a huge boost on Xbox. Certain games, such as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, have PS4 editions, but not PS5 editions, making the Xbox version seem more compelling, too.

By the same token, it’s important to remember that few PS5 exclusives are actually, well, exclusive to the PS5. Fewer than half of the games on the list absolutely, positively require a PS5 to play, and Sony plans to support the PS4, in some capacity, through at least 2024.

Another point to consider is that Microsoft is purposely not pursuing exclusives to the same degree as Sony this generation. Microsoft has focused on building up a comprehensive ecosystem, which plays nicely with PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS and non-gaming PCs. Xbox Game Pass ties all these disparate platforms together. Exclusive titles are a useful point of comparison, but it’s fair to say that they’re a much more important part of Sony’s strategy than Microsoft’s, at least for now.

Things could change in the future, however, as Microsoft has a bevy of exclusives planned for the next few years, including Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga, State of Decay 3, Fable 4, Starfield, The Outer Worlds 2, Avowed and more. Then again, PlayStation will have God of War: Ragnarök, Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI, to name a few.

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives: Outlook

PS5 exclusives vs. Xbox exclusives — which games are better? (6)

At present, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have excellent exclusive titles. But there’s no denying that PS5 has a lot more of them: about four times as many, if you use our definitions. Then again, it’s worth remembering that this seems to be in line with Microsoft’s “play anything, anywhere” strategy.

As such, if you want to play titles that you can’t experience anywhere else, the PS5 is your best bet. If you want the best system for multiplatform releases, you might want to go with an Xbox Series X instead.

Of course, you could always invest in one of the best gaming PCs and get the best of both worlds — but that’s a lot more expensive.

Recently, Xbox head Phil Spencer said it's been too long since we've had an Xbox Series X exclusive.

(Video) RANT!! XBOX EXCLUSIVES VS PS5 EXCLUSIVES GAMES

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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.

(Video) PS5 vs Series X: Who Has the Most Upcoming Exclusives? - Next-Gen Console Watch

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FAQs

Does Xbox or PS5 have better exclusives? ›

At present, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have excellent exclusive titles. But there's no denying that PS5 has a lot more of them: about four times as many, if you use our definitions. Then again, it's worth remembering that this seems to be in line with Microsoft's “play anything, anywhere” strategy.

Does Xbox or PlayStation have better games? ›

Both systems have a lot of great games, but Sony's system has more hit games that you can only play on a console.

Which console has best graphics? ›

Best Graphics: Microsoft Xbox Series X

The Xbox Series X is the most powerful home console ever created, powering up to 12 teraflops of graphical performance for hyper-detailed native 4K games at up to 120 frames per second on supported screens.

Why is PS5 more successful than Xbox? ›

While the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are similar in terms of quality and performance, the PS5's exclusive games and gameplay-focused features make it more enticing for buyers who want an immersive experience and don't want to miss major releases.

Does Xbox have better graphics than PS5? ›

Ultimately, in action, there's very little to choose between the two consoles in terms of gaming performance. Play the same game on both consoles and graphical fidelity and performance are near identical, and they both load titles in the blink of an eye.

Is Xbox more successful than PlayStation? ›

PlayStation has sold over 102 million units worldwide since its creation! This is a little bit more than the Xbox, which has sold about 84 million units worldwide since 2001. The PlayStation has outsold every other console in history, so you could say that it is also considered one of the best gaming consoles.

What does PS5 have that Xbox doesn t? ›

The only big advantage the PS5 has over the Xbox Series X is the presence of a USB-C port — which is a big deal, especially as more accessories get USB-C adapters. But even if the Xbox Series X design is much more conservative, it's also much more sensible overall.

Which console is the strongest? ›

Against. Microsoft has got a really impressive hand to play this console generation, too, though, and the Xbox Series X is its new flagship. It's the most powerful console ever, too. An SSD and huge power mean it's right up there with the PS5, and the prices are similar too.

Who has better graphics Xbox or PlayStation? ›

Overall, the Xbox One X is certainly capable of much better graphics and much greater visual customization than the PS4 Pro thanks to its greater power.

What is the most successful game console? ›

Sony's PlayStation 2 is the best-selling game system overall with over 155 million units worldwide.

Do developers prefer Xbox or PS5? ›

PS5 once again came out on top when it comes to developer's future projects, as 30% plan to develop on the Sony console - but Xbox isn't too far behind with 25%.

Who is winning the console wars? ›

It makes sense that the PS4 and Xbox One still take the top spot despite the release of next-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox One.

Is PS5 better than Xbox series? ›

The Xbox Series X has a more powerful GPU, capable of 12 teraflops of computing power compared to 10.3 teraflops on PS5. The Xbox Series X also has a slightly faster CPU at 3.8GHz than the PS5's 3.5GHz CPU. Other than that, though, the systems are a close match when it comes to power.

Who has better exclusives PS4 or Xbox? ›

Both the PS4 and Xbox One now have substantial games libraries. The PS4 has just over 2,000, of which over 299 are PS4 exclusives, while the Xbox One has about nearly 2,000 games – with less half the number of exclusives the PS4 has.

Is PS5 as good as Xbox? ›

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are capable of 4K gaming at up to 120 frames per second, support ray tracing, and boast super-fast load times. It means both consoles are incredibly powerful and similar in many aspects, which can make choosing one more challenging.

Is PS5 hotter than Xbox? ›

The APU on the Xbox runs hotter, despite the lower power consumption and the lower ambient temperature during our tests, primarily because of the more relaxed fan speed profile and secondly because it uses plain thermal paste, while the PS5 uses a more exotic solution, liquid metal.

Do developers prefer Xbox or PS5? ›

PS5 once again came out on top when it comes to developer's future projects, as 30% plan to develop on the Sony console - but Xbox isn't too far behind with 25%.

What is the most powerful console? ›

Product Snapshot. The Xbox Series X succeeds the Xbox One X as the most powerful console in production. Despite being similar in specs to the PS5, Sony and Microsoft have taken very different approaches to how they're marketing their hardware.

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