The Ninth generation of video game hardware began in November 2020, with the releases of Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S and Sony's PlayStation 5. The consoles represent significant performance upgrades from the prior Xbox One and PlayStation 4, adding faster computation and graphics processors, support for real-time ray tracing graphics, output for 4K resolution, and in some cases, 8K resolution, with rendering speeds targeting 60 frames per second or higher. Internally, both console families introduced new internal solid-state drive (SSD) systems to be used as high-throughput memory and storage systems for games to reduce or eliminate loading times and support in-game streaming. The Xbox Series S and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition lack an optical drive while retaining support for the online distribution and storing of games on external USB devices.
The positioning of these consoles as high-performance computing devices places competitors such as the Nintendo Switch and cloud-gaming services such as Stadia and Amazon Luna as overlaps from the prior eighth generation of video game hardware.