Microsoft Reveals Sony's Secret PS5 Slim Game Console Launch And Price Details

Sony PlayStation 5 consoles on a gray background.
Sony has never gone on record saying it plans to release a PlayStation 5 Slim console at any point, though we've been around long enough to know a thinner iteration is inevitably on the horizon, given past trends. A couple of the main questions are, when will it launch and how much will it cost? Well, it appears Microsoft has the answers to both.

In case you somehow missed it, Microsoft and Sony have very different opinions about the former's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and what effect a merger would have on the market at large. The FTC shares Sony's concerns and subsequently filed a lawsuit to block the deal. As part of that ongoing legal process, inside info that the public would normally not be privy to has come to light. One of those details pertains to the PS5 Slim.

"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," Microsoft wrote in a document related to the FTC case.

Closeup of the PS5's DualSense controller.

The PS5 came out in November 2020 with two base models—a disc-less, all-digital version and one with a built-in Blu-ray drive. Unlike the Xbox Series X (Blu-ray) and Xbox Series S (all-digital), there are no other major hardware differences between the regular and disc-less versions of the PS5.

There have been a couple of revisions along the way, though, including CFI-1100A (Chassis B, 2021) and CFI-1200A (2022, Chassis C) joining the original CFI-1000A (Chassis A, 2020). Same with the disc-less version, just swap the "A" for a "B" in the model designations. These have introduced minor tweaks to the internal design for better cooling and a lighter weight package, but the core hardware and features are the same across the board.

The same will likely be true of the PS5 Slim, only it will ship in a much thinner and lighter chassis. Sony could also use the launch as an opportunity to offer more built-in storage, but we'll have to wait and see.

Looking back at the previous generation, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 in November 2013, followed by a PS4 Slim right around three years later in September 2016. Likewise, the PlayStation 3 debuted in November 2006, followed by a PS3 Slim in September 2009. If sticking with the same cadence, a PS5 Slim would debut this September.

That's not the only nugget Microsoft shared in its court filing (PDF). It also stated that Sony is "anticipated to release a handheld version of the PlayStation 5 later this year for under $300," which is a reference to Project Q, a mobile PS5 game streaming console with 8-inch display, and referenced a "differentiated Pro" SKU releasing "in the near future."

It's noteworthy that Sony unveiled the PS4 Pro at the same time as the PS4 Slim. That means we could potentially see a PS5 Pro alongside a PS5 Slim this September, though the shortage of hardware during the pandemic could have also shifted Sony's release plans, whatever they might be.