Do you want a slimmer and cheaper version of the PS5? How about a handheld device that can stream PS5 games from your console? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you might be in luck. According to Microsoft, Sony is planning to release both of these devices later this year. But why does Microsoft think so, and what does it mean for the console market and the FTC case? In this article, we will explore these questions and more.
What is PS5 Slim and How Does It Differ from PS5?
PS5 Slim is the rumored name of a revised model of the PS5 that will have a detachable disc drive and will be sold separately or in a bundle. According to Insider Gaming, Sony is preparing for a PS5 Slim launch in September 2023, and may replace the launch model with the slimmer version. This would allow people to choose whether they want a disc drive or not, and to add one later if needed.
PS5 Slim is expected to have the same performance and features as the PS5, except for the disc drive. It is also expected to have a lower price point, around $399.99, which is the same as the PS5 Digital Edition. The PS5 Digital Edition is a disc-less version of the PS5 that was released alongside the PS5 with disc drive in November 2020. The PS5 with disc drive costs $499.99.
Here is a table that compares the features and prices of PS5 Slim, PS5 Digital Edition, and PS5 with disc drive:
|Feature||PS5 Slim||PS5 Digital Edition||PS5 with disc drive|
|CPU||AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)||AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)||AMD Zen 2-based CPU with 8 cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)|
|GPU||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)||10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6/256-bit||16GB GDDR6/256-bit||16GB GDDR6/256-bit|
|Internal storage||Custom 825GB SSD||Custom 825GB SSD||Custom 825GB SSD|
|IO throughput||5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)||5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)||5.5GB/s (raw), typical 8-9GB/s (compressed)|
|Expandable storage||NVMe SSD slot + detachable disc drive slot||NVMe SSD slot||NVMe SSD slot|
|External storage||USB HDD support + detachable disc drive support||USB HDD support||USB HDD support|
|Optical drive||Optional Blu-ray drive (sold separately or in bundle)||None||Ultra HD Blu-ray (66G/100G) ~10xCAV|
What is Project Q and How Does It Work?
Project Q is the codename of a handheld device that Sony is developing that can stream PS5 games over Wi-Fi from a PS5 console. According to Bloomberg, Sony is planning to launch Project Q in December 2023, and it will have a similar design and features as the Nintendo Switch OLED model.
Project Q will have a touchscreen display, detachable controllers, a kickstand, a headphone jack, and speakers. It will also have a built-in microphone and camera for voice and video chat. Project Q will not have its own internal storage or battery, but it will use a cloud service to access games and save data from the PS5 console.
Project Q will be able to stream PS5 games at up to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second, depending on the Wi-Fi connection quality and distance from the console. Project Q will also support remote play over the internet, allowing users to access their PS5 games from anywhere with a stable Wi-Fi connection.
Project Q is expected to cost under $300, which is lower than the Nintendo Switch OLED model ($349.99) and the Valve Steam Deck ($399-$649). However, Project Q will require a PS5 console and a PS Plus subscription to stream games, which will add to the overall cost.
Why Does Microsoft Think Sony Will Release These Devices This Year?
Microsoft’s prediction of Sony’s planned PlayStation hardware is based on documents filed in the FTC v. Microsoft case, which is about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the FTC’s definition of the console market. The FTC argues that Microsoft and Sony are the only two players in the high-end console market, and that Nintendo should be excluded because its Switch devices are cheaper and less powerful. Microsoft disagrees, and claims that Nintendo is a direct competitor, and that both Xbox and PlayStation offer cheaper versions of their consoles with prices on par with the Switch.
In its findings of fact and conclusion of law document, Microsoft says: “Xbox Series S is sold for $50 less than the Switch OLED model. Sony offers a lower-cost Digital Edition for $399.99, and plans to launch a PlayStation 5 Slim this year at the same affordable price.” Microsoft also notes that: “Sony is expected to introduce a portable version of PlayStation 5 this year for less than $300.”
Microsoft does not cite any third-party sources for the PS5 Slim and Project Q timing or pricing in its document. It is possible that Microsoft has some insider information or analysis on Sony’s plans, or that it is making an educated guess based on the market trends and rumors. It is also possible that Microsoft is exaggerating or misrepresenting Sony’s plans to make its case stronger against the FTC.
What Does This Mean for the Console Market and the FTC Case?
If Microsoft’s prediction of Sony’s planned PlayStation hardware is accurate, it could have significant implications for the console market and the FTC case. For the console market, it could mean more competition and innovation, as well as more choices and options for consumers. For the FTC case, it could mean more challenges and complications, as well as more evidence and arguments for both sides.
For the console market, PS5 Slim and Project Q could increase Sony’s sales and market share, as well as attract new customers who are looking for cheaper or portable alternatives to the PS5. PS5 Slim could also put pressure on Microsoft to lower the price of its Xbox Series X ($499.99) or to release a revised model with a detachable disc drive. Project Q could also challenge Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld market, as well as compete with Valve’s Steam Deck, which is a handheld device that can run PC games.
For the FTC case, PS5 Slim and Project Q could support Microsoft’s argument that Nintendo is a direct competitor in the console market, and that both Xbox and PlayStation offer cheaper versions of their consoles with prices on par with the Switch. However, they could also undermine Microsoft’s argument that Activision Blizzard is not a significant player in the console market, and that its acquisition would not harm competition or consumers. The FTC could argue that Activision Blizzard’s games are popular on both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and that its acquisition would give Microsoft an unfair advantage over Sony.
In conclusion, Microsoft thinks that Sony will release a PS5 Slim model and a handheld device later this year, based on documents filed in the FTC v. Microsoft case. These devices could have a major impact on the console market and the FTC case, depending on their features, prices, and availability. However, these devices are still unconfirmed and unannounced by Sony, so we will have to wait and see if they are real or not.
What do you think of Microsoft’s prediction? Do you want a PS5 Slim or a handheld device? How do you think they will affect the console market and the FTC case? Let us know in the comments below!