Most game industry observers expect Sony to reveal a more powerful PlayStation 4 next month in New York City, but now it looks like the company may have more than one piece of new hardware to reveal during its September 7 event.
The rumored PlayStation 4 Slim looks like it is real after the tech experts from the YouTube channel Digital Foundry found one. While you might still think this is some 3D-printed user modification, this device is starting to look more realistic. This updated box is, of course, more compact, but it also has a handsome matte finish and physical power and eject buttons. It also, likely, features some improved innards that use AMD’s new Polaris 14nm chip architecture. That will make the system more power efficient and less expensive to manufacture going forward.
The images of the device first popped up on Twitter over the weekend when someone found the device on the U.K. classifieds website Gumtree. The seller of the Slim claims to own a shop and that the device is coming in three weeks. We’ve reached out to Sony for a statement on this leak, and we’ll update this post with any comment.
— shortman82 (@shortmaneighty2) August 21, 2016
While we wait for an official confirmation from Sony, which is probably coming during the company’s upcoming event September 7 in NYC, we can point out that the PS Slim makes sense. The company has already confirmed that the code-named Neo exists, and that system is coming to give Sony Interactive Entertainment to slot into the high end of the market. That means you can expect something around $400. The Slim could phase out the original PS4 at the $250 to $350 range, while helping to protect and amplify Sony’s profit margins.
The Wall Street Journal had a separate report on the Slim, and it claims SIE wants the device to appeal to more casual players. With the Neo setting an anchor price at around $400, something that plays all the same games and is compatible with the upcoming PlayStation VR headset and virtual reality software could appeal to people who just want something that can play most triple-A releases.
Finally, the launch window that the alleged U.K. shop owner claimed of three weeks from now — around September 11 — fits with a few other pieces. That’s right after the September 7 event. It’s a month before the launch of the PSVR. And it is also a week before the price of the PlayStation Plus service increases in price from $50 to $60 annually. Sony could launch the Slim with a 7 day trial that ends right before the price hike, and that could convince a larger number of new owners to pay the “discounted” price while they still can.
We’ll find out what Sony’s plans are soon, but we can clearly see that the company is dedicated to the PlayStation brand. The company’s gaming division is one of its only profitable enterprises, and increasing margins, average sales prices, and market share all seem like goals of these most recent rumors.