As part of its ongoing legal battle with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has made some claims about Sony’s future plans. In a court filing, Microsoft said that Sony is expected to release both a PlayStation 5 Slim and a handheld version of the PS5 before the end of this year.
The mention of these upcoming consoles surfaced in a paragraph of the court filing, where Microsoft sought to establish that Nintendo’s Switch should not be considered a separate market from Xbox and PlayStation based on price. Microsoft is eager to assert its position as the underdog in the console market.
According to Microsoft’s argument, the Xbox Series S is priced $50 lower than Nintendo’s OLED model in the US, while Sony’s PS5 Digital Edition is just $50 more. In this context, Microsoft references the rumored Sony machines, stating that Sony is “expected to release a PlayStation 5 Slim later this year at the same reduced price point.”
This claim lacks an official source, but it aligns with a previous report from Insider Gaming in 2022, which suggested that Sony was planning to release a slimmer and lighter version of the PS5 in 2023, featuring a detachable disc drive. While the details remain unconfirmed, the report indicated a September launch for the alleged PS5 Slim, describing it as nearly identical to the existing PS5.
In addition to the PlayStation 5 Slim, Microsoft’s court document suggests that Sony is also anticipated to release a handheld version of the PS5 later this year, priced below $300. This could be a reference to Sony’s previously announced Project Q, an upcoming handheld device capable of streaming PS5 games, although no official price has been revealed yet.
However, it is important to approach Microsoft’s claims with caution, as they may simply be conjecture aimed at reinforcing their arguments against the FTC. The outcome of the case, which will determine whether the FTC can block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal, is expected to be announced later this week.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is preparing to appeal against the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block its Activision Blizzard acquisition in the UK. The appeal is scheduled to begin later this month, further intensifying the legal battles surrounding the gaming industry’s major acquisitions.