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The next generation of gaming consoles have finally arrived and, at this very moment, gamers worldwide are either enjoying their new Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 — or trying anxiously to find a console online (Godspeed).

Microsoft launched its much-anticipated Xbox consoles on Tuesday, two days before its competitor’s debut this morning, wrapping up a long journey for the company from its top-secret development to the “Project Scarlett” reveal at last year’s E3 convention.

“For us, launch is the fruition of the team’s hard work over the last few years, and, now, we’re eager for our fans to play games and experience this next generation of gaming for themselves,” Cindy Walker, senior director of platform marketing at Microsoft tells VENN.

Consumers around the globe have found solace from the stress of 2020 in gaming, using their favorite titles to escape reality and interact with friends from a safe distance. Earlier this week, the NPD Group reported total U.S. consumer spending on video games hit $11.2 billion last quarter, a 24 percent increase year-over-year.

“Gaming for Xbox has always meant creating connections through play — and those opportunities are more important than ever lately,” Walker says. “And while building a new console generation is always difficult, watching the team rally together despite these unprecedented times to deliver a best-in-class experience for our fans is a true testament to the team and our focus on the players.”

PlayStation 5 made its debut this morning, with Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan calling it a “historic moment.”

“I’m thrilled for the new worlds that players will begin to experience today, and I’m equally excited for the lineup of games still to come for PS5 that will continue to propel the gameplay experience forward,” Ryan said in a press release. “We are humbled to work with a talented community of world-class game developers. Their creativity will bring limitless possibilities to what the future of gaming can look like on PS5.”

PS5 launches with a few more exclusives than its competition, but both consoles offer boosted performance for new releases such as Ubisoft’s action adventure title Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.

“We’re excited to leverage the cutting-edge features and power of the new machines so that players can experience the depth and immersion of our open world in unprecedented ways,” says Julien Laferrière, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla producer. “We’re always excited about new hardware because it gives us an ever-greater ability to express our creative vision in the games we create.”

Of course, next-gen console launch week wouldn’t be complete without a good old-fashioned rivalry. Games and esports analytics firm Newzoo predicts that overall, Sony will move more units because it has a larger user base, a better day-one offering, and exclusive, next-gen titles on launch.

Then again, this year has yielded more than its fair share of surprises.

“Typically, spending on game software goes down after a console purchase because people just invested more of their gaming budget on hardware and there’s less software for the new consoles to be bought,” Tom Wijman, Newzoo’s market lead of games, says. “That spending pattern then switches up again after a couple of years. It should’ve already gone down in anticipation of the next generation but COVID-19 turned that trend on its head. However, I do expect the following years to stick roughly to the trend we anticipated in the first place.”

This news doesn’t upset Microsoft, however. According to Phil Spencer, Xbox isn’t focused on sales of the Xbox Series X and Series S, but rather “how many players [they] see, as well as how often they play.”

Still on the fence about which console is right for you? Check out our first impressions on Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and just for fun, choose which one you would date.

Playstation 5 photos courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., Xbox Series X photos courtesy of Microsoft.