PS5 Slim information: As part of the continuing legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission over the former’s proposed acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, fresh information about the probable introduction of a new PlayStation 5 model, the PlayStation 5 Slim, has been released. While the system has yet to be formally unveiled, Microsoft has provided an early indication of the device’s likely release date and pricing.
Since the release of the most recent console generation, it has been more and more typical to release various models of the same device. The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S both came out with two variants, and even the Nintendo Switch got the Switch OLED and Switch Lite. The release of any mid-generation upgrades with hardware revisions and improvements, like the PS4 Pro or Xbox One S from the previous console generation, has been conspicuously absent from any current-gen console’s lineup.
With both consoles now a few years into their respective life cycles and Xbox hinting at the launch of the PlayStation 6, both consoles may be opting instead for a wider variety of models over strict hardware improvements.
According to Microsoft’s legal docs and Game Rant, a new PS5 model, the PlayStation 5 Slim, will be released later in 2023 for $399. This price would place the system on par with the PS5 Digital Edition, which is lowered from the $499 base price of the PS5.
The name of the new model also suggests that the console will have a different form factor than the previously released models, potentially making it easier to fit in any given location.
PS5 Slim’s lower price point may imply that it is less powerful.
While the PS5 Slim’s lower pricing and presumably thinner appearance are undeniably enticing, the model’s lower price point may also signal that it will have less power than existing versions of the console. While no further details have been confirmed, and are unlikely to be until the model’s official announcement, the PS5 Slim is expected to be essentially a standard PlayStation 5 with a less bulky form factor and, unlike the PS5 Digital Edition, will most likely include a physical disc drive as well. However, given the model’s lower price compared to the default model, it’s unlikely to be a strict improvement.
Whereas the standard PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition models share the same hardware specs, with the only difference being the Digital Edition’s lack of a physical disc drive, the PS5 Slim’s lower price point suggests that the new version of the console is also giving something up in exchange for being less expensive and, presumably, less bulky.
While the model might just be an upgrade to the Digital Edition and lack a physical disc drive, it appears more plausible since shrinking down the console also means losing some of its power, making the model equivalent to the Xbox Series S.
Similar to the Series S, PS5 Slim hardware variations may cause the console to render games at a lower resolution than its base versions, thereby lowering the graphical fidelity of the console’s exclusives and higher-end games in exchange for its lower pricing. The PS5 Slim might be a decent budget alternative for fans who still want access to physical games, even though the decision to release a less powerful model may seem contradictory, especially considering the tendency of PS5 exclusives like Final Fantasy 16 to push the console to its limits.
Given the PS5 Slim’s lower pricing, as well as the technical compromises that the model may have to make due to its reportedly smaller size, the PS5 Slim appears to be a cheap alternative for the console, rather than an updated version. This would put the new model in competition with the PS5 Digital Edition for potential buyers looking to save money, giving them the option to choose between a slimmer console, presumably with a disc drive, and more power with the Digital Edition, but at the cost of losing access to physical PS5 games.
When viewed in conjunction with the recently announced Project Q, a handheld device that will allow players to stream PS5 games to it, the PlayStation 5’s many models appear to be more strongly focused on delivering a broad variety of alternatives, rather than simply opting for hardware enhancements to the release version. This would imply that PlayStation’s strategy for new models in the current generation is aimed more at purchasers who do not already possess a PS5, as new versions that do not offer additional power are inherently less tempting to existing users of the release versions.
However, while the PS5 Slim will be less expensive than the standard PS5, the reported pricing is still significantly higher than the Xbox Series S’s $299 price tag, to which the new version is expected to attract comparisons – especially if it does wind up with lower hardware specs than the standard PS5. While the PlayStation has a larger library of released exclusives than the Xbox, the release of a new model may be delayed by price point comparisons, as even the lowest PS5 model will still cost more than its competitors’ budget options.