We might have known about the PlayStation Neo for some time now thanks to a series of leaks as well as a direct confirmation from Sony’s Andrew House, but more recently details have emerged about a second new piece of PlayStation hardware, the PS4 Slim.
Whereas the Neo is expected to offer 4K output and more beefy internals, the PS4 Slim is expected to be a much more traditional slim console upgrade like those seen by all previous PlayStations.
We would have previously said that this was shaping up to be a pretty standard console upgrade were it not for the recent arrival of the Xbox One S, a slim version of the Xbox One that adds an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, HDR, and 4K upscaling to the console.
A post-Xbox One S world
But that’s not all, a recent analysis performed by the folks at Digital Foundry has shown that the souped up internals of the console lead to some helpful boosts in game framerates.
It’s not a massive leap, but in several cases Microsoft’s new hardware is much better at keeping to each game’s frame-cap than its predecessor.
With the Xbox One S, Microsoft has significantly changed what people will expect from a console’s hardware refresh, which raises significant questions about what Sony will pack into its PS4 Slim.
PS4 Slim Appearance
Thanks to a series of images unearthed by NeoGaf, as well as an unboxing video that has since been removed from YouTube, we have a pretty good idea of what the PS4 Slim is going to look like.
The PS4 Slim borrows many design cues such as the slanted front and back from its bigger brother, but the biggest change is its size.
From the pictures the PS4 Slim is significantly, well, slimmer, than its predecessor, but it’s not yet clear how much width and depth the console has managed to shed compared to the original console.
The PS4 Slim has most of the same connectors as the standard PS4. It has a power port, accessory port, HDMI out and Ethernet port.
Interestingly the new console forgoes the optical port found on the standard PS4, which is a shame for anyone who relies on this port to provide audio output.
The initial leak gave us a good look at the console itself, but it was light on details of the controller. However the YouTube channel ZRZ was able to later post a video which gave us a good look at the controller.
Though the video has since been removed, screenshots of it have been widely circulated online. It appears to have seen a minor change in the form of the addition of a small transparent strip to the front of the controller which allows the existing front-facing light to shine through.
Other than that the controller appears to be more or less the same as the existing models, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for any internal changes that Sony has made.
PS4 Slim Release Date
Given that we had heard nor seen anything about the slim PlayStation 4 until recently, we would have previously assumed that a launch this year would have been out of the question.
But what we’ve seen so far suggests that the console is pretty far along in development. We’ve seen a working console, and there even appears to be a retail box that people have managed to get their hands on.
Given that the console appears to be essentially ready for store shelves we wouldn’t be surprised if it was available to consumers before the end of the year. This is just our guess though, so make sure you take it with a pinch of salt.
PS4 Slim Price
At the moment little is known about the PS4 Slim’s price.
Sony’s previous slim console versions have each been sold at a reduced price compared to the original console.
After all, as time goes on the various components used to make each console will inevitably come down in price, and Moore’s law will allow the various chips to be manufactured more easily and cheaply.
Given that the 500GB of the PS4 currently retails for around $350 / £250 / AU$400, we’d expect the PS4 Slim to at least meet this price.
Conclusion: Lots of questions, relatively few answers
At the time of writing Sony hasn’t yet confirmed the existence of the slim console, so we don’t yet have any clear idea what form the console will take.
All we know for sure is that a PS4 Slim is coming.
Sony has an event scheduled for September 7 which was previously expected to be the venue for the announcement of the PlayStation Neo, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Sony plans to announce the Slim in addition to its beefier 4K brother.