Tech experts reveal why some games run better on PS5 despite Xbox Series X being more powerful

It’s a widely accepted fact that Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is the most powerful console ever made, but why do some games run better on Sony’s PlayStation 5? That’s a question that’s finally been answered by the tech experts at Digital Foundry.

Both Microsoft and Sony launched the next generation of consoles at the same time in November 2020, and while the less powerful Xbox Series S obviously struggles on the performance front, the Xbox Series X is a technological monster; it’s capable of hitting 12 teraflops of GPU performance, while the PS5 is capable of hitting 10.28 teraflops.

Xbox execs have said that they wanted to avoid repeating the narrative established last generation, where the Xbox One was significantly less powerful compared to the PlayStation 4, resulting in a mismatch when it came to cross-platform gaming performance. And so Microsoft went all-in with the Xbox Series X, making sure it could confidently call it the “world’s most powerful console” in marketing.

But now, as we approach the fourth anniversary of each console, has that power difference been reflected in the games we play? It turns out that some games run better on PS5 than on Xbox Series X. But how can that be?

According to Digital Foundry’s conversations with developers, “the combination of a more efficient GPU compiler, lower-level APIs, and higher clock speeds allows PS5 to match or even surpass Xbox Series X results in some scenarios.”

One example of this is FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, which runs faster on PS5 than on Xbox Series X. Digital Foundry’s analysis of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC shows a surprising frame rate difference in favor of the PS5, which is seemingly the less capable machine.

However, as Digital Foundry points out, the approach Microsoft has taken for Xbox Series X still has value, as it has something in common with PC development that helps game creators. “Additionally, there are situations where the Xbox ecosystem and feature set pay dividends,” Digital Foundry explains. “For example, while Elden Ring may run faster on PS5, Sony’s limited implementation of variable refresh rate support means we’d rather play it on Xbox Series X – it’s a smoother, more consistent experience.”

So what happens next? There’s been a lot of talk about Sony possibly being ready to release a PS5 Pro later this year, and Microsoft possibly being ready to release an Xbox handheld console. Digital Foundry expects the PS5 Pro to “build on the same strengths that made the PS5 competitive and go even further – PSSR’s machine learning-based scaling should act as a sort of effective ‘multiplier’ on its increased GPU performance.”

And then? We’ll no doubt have to do all this again when Microsoft launches its next-gen Xbox and Sony launches the inevitable PS6.

Wesley is IGN’s UK News Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can contact Wesley at or confidentially at

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