It’d be fairly weird if Sony didn’t announce a PlayStation 5 Slim in the coming months. The console will be three years old by then, and that’s generally the pattern. But it’d definitely be very weird if instead, Microsoft were the company to reveal it. Which might be what just happened.
According to court documents, released as part of the FTC trial regarding Microsoft’s apparently eternal acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the Beast of Redmond is expecting Sony to release a PS5 Slim “later this year,” and even names a price: $399.99.
In a section of the document tantalizingly subtitled “The Console Market Must Include Nintendo,” Microsoft is taking issue with the FTC’s position that Xbox and PlayStation are in a two-horse race because “they are offered at a similar price.” This, they say, is “unpersuasive,” on the basis of previous Supreme Court rulings (uh-oh), but also that the FTC’s analysis “considers only the high-end models of Xbox (Series X) and PlayStation (standard edition), thereby ignoring the differentiation within Xbox’s console lines.” They make the point that a Series S and a Switch cost the same, and their budget model is fifty bucks less than a Switch OLED.
But then, with a canny dismissiveness, they throw in at the end of the paragraph:
PlayStation likewise sells a less expensive Digital Edition for $399.99, and is expected to release a PlayStation 5 Slim later this year at the same reduced price point.
The line comes with a footnote adding, “Sony is also anticipated to release a handheld version of the PlayStation 5 later this year for under $300.”
This would be Sony’s Project Q, for which they’ve revealed almost nothing, let alone a street date or price!
A short while later, Microsoft also throws in the reveal of a PS5 Pro for good measure.
PlayStation, meanwhile, currently offers two different versions of the PlayStation 5—one with a Blu-Ray player for physical media (Standard) and one without (Digital)—and is anticipated to release further differentiated Pro and Slim models in the near future.
While anyone making an educated guess might expect at least an announcement of newer models of the PS5 this year, it’s Microsoft’s naming a price that makes the remarks seem so emphatic—egregious even.
We have of course contacted Sony to ask if they’d like to confirm Microsoft’s announcement of their next consoles.