Microsoft believes that Sony PlayStation will release a PS5 Slim model, later this year. New court documents from the ongoing trial between Xbox parent company Microsoft and the US FTC indicate that the tech giant expects rival Sony to unveil the long-rumoured less-expensive PS5 model at a price tag of $399.99 (about Rs. 32,825). As per IGN, the paragraph was Microsoft's attempt at convincing the judge to consider the Nintendo Switch in the same market as PlayStation and Xbox, when it boils down to price. The idea is to present itself as the underdog in the console market, so it successfully acquires Activision Blizzard without posing a threat to the game industry.
“In fact, the entry-level versions of the current Xbox and Switch are offered at the same price point ($299.99), and the Xbox Series S is sold for $50 less than the Switch OLED model ($349.99),” Microsoft said in the document (via IGN). “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.” Of course, no source is mentioned, but a report from September, last year, suggested that Sony was looking to launch a “slimmer and lighter” version of the PS5 console, poised to come with identical hardware as the existing models, albeit with a new chassis and a detachable disc drive. It's understood that the Sony-approved external drive will be available to purchase separately, so if it malfunctions, you don't have to buy an entirely new unit. Even if you send the drive for RMA, you should be able to play games digitally.
As mentioned before, Microsoft is trying to portray itself as the underdog here, having previously claimed that it's been losing the console wars since 2001 and that it had given up on this generation's competition in terms of hardware sales, instead focusing on the software and Xbox Game Pass. According to VGChartz, a third-party video game tracking site, Xbox Series S/X consoles have sold 21.3 million units since launch. In contrast, the PS5 and Nintendo Switch have sold 35.8 million and 36.2 million units, respectively, during that period — as of April 2023. These statistics align in favour of Microsoft, though further down the document, it goes on to highlight another major PlayStation console release.
“Sony is also anticipated to release a handheld version of PlayStation 5 later this year for under $300,” the document reads. This is, of course, in reference to Project Q, announced earlier this year during the PlayStation Showcase event, a handheld gaming device that lets you stream games from your PS5 console via Remote Play or Wi-Fi. The device comes equipped with an 8-inch 1080p LCD screen in the centre, supported on either side by a button layout and analogue sticks that are reminiscent of the PS5 DualSense controller.
Circling back to the PS5 Slim debate, it doesn't come as a surprise for Sony to plan one model since the company has released slim versions for its previous consoles. Meanwhile, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer claimed last month that he “doesn't feel an imperative” to release a mid-generation Xbox upgrade three years into its launch cycle. “That's not the feedback we're getting right now. Right now, we're pretty set on the hardware we have,” he said in the interview.
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