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Sony may announce two new PS4 consoles, new slim design leaks on auction site

Sony’s PlayStation 4 refresh is scheduled to debut on September 7, but fresh rumors suggest the company may debut more than one new product. A UK auction site has published photos of a “Slim” variant of the standard PlayStation 4, with a smaller footprint, simpler design, and lower price tag.

Sony and Microsoft both offered multiple SKUs last generation, but neither company has indicated whether they would continue to manufacture their older, non-refreshed hardware once newer SKUs were available. This PS4 Slim will supposedly launch at a lower price than the PS4’s current list price of $350. While the new unit was spotted on a UK auction site, Eurogamer visited the individual and filmed the console booting into the PlayStation OS.

Sony trimmed the PS3’s price throughout its life by also trimming features and reducing functionality and it appears to have done so with the PS4 as well. The dedicated optical port is missing, and it’s not clear if the hard drive is user-replaceable on this model. Of course, Sony may have moved those features to the new PlayStation 4 Neo rather than killing them altogether — the company will want to retain some premium features to encourage current PS4 owners to upgrade.

PS4Slim-vs-Regular

Microsoft’s decision to push a new console, the Xbox One S, made a certain kind of sense. With the Xbox Scorpio not arriving until Christmas 2017, the Xbox One S is meant to put some kind of competition out for the PS4 Neo as well as give existing Xbox One users the option to use HDR or 4K video output. There are also some small performance improvements — nothing huge, but you may notice the difference depending on which games you play.

Sony’s decision to introduce a less expensive PS4 at the same time it launches the higher-end Neo could be linked to the company’s plans for PlayStation VR. With an expected launch price of $400, a standard PS4 + PSVR would run you $750 — $850 if you need the PlayStation camera and and Move controllers. By introducing a lower-cost PS4 Slim, Sony can bring the price of that bundle down a bit, while simultaneously capturing potential new customers who don’t care about VR but want a PS4 for less. The fact that this slim console retains the camera port, but gets rid of the optical outputs and potentially the removable hard drive, seems to indicate Sony doesn’t want to jettison VR functionality.

The PlayStation 4 Neo is expected to significantly boost the platform’s performance. But we don’t know what kind of improvements, if any, Sony has in mind for the PS4 Slim. It’s theoretically possible the PS4 Slim is meant to defray criticism if the Neo comes in higher than $400. Sony hasn’t said how much the new platform will cost, but a less expensive basic PS4 would help insulate the company from any sales slowdown if the Neo is higher than the PS4’s original $400 price.

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