The PlayStation 5 will reach its third birthday this November, following its launch during the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020. As expected by many within the industry, it will also mark the point when Sony offers the first significant change in the PS5's hardware. Announcing two new models of the console — which have been unofficially dubbed the PS5 Slim — in early October, Sony has lifted the lid on a lighter and smaller gaming machine that won't take up quite as much space in your home.
Following months of rumors and dozens of leaks, we now have official confirmation that a new PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition are on the way. Sony has provided plenty of information about the console, detailing how they differ from the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition that first hit store shelves three years ago. With the PS5 Slim arriving shortly, here's everything we know about the console so far, including its design and improvements.
Sony has reduced the overall volume by some 30%
In addition to being one of the most advanced and powerful consoles in history, the PS5 also raised eyebrows when it first launched because of its huge size. The console is undoubtedly imposing, thanks to the fact that it towers above almost any other home entertainment device. Standing at 15.4 inches tall without its stand and an impressive four inches wide, it's big even in comparison to the Xbox Series X, which is far from a compact system itself. That poses a problem for those who have limited space in their entertainment setups or those who simply don't want a hulking piece of hardware taking up so much space.
Inevitably, the console's large size has led to calls from many gamers to have Sony produce a smaller version of the PS5. Thankfully, the new PS5 model will have a smaller form factor. In fact, Sony states that this system will see a 30% reduction in overall volume compared to the original console. Although the company didn't draw attention to exact sizes, a blog post suggests that the new model will be at least an inch shorter and almost half an inch thinner. While that might sound like a lot, a comparison image created by The Verge suggests the space savings aren't as significant as they may have initially seemed.
It is significantly lighter
Not only is the PS5 a beast in terms of size, but it also sets new standards in terms of weight. The base version weighed 4.5 kg when the system launched, while the digital edition was 3.9 kg. Considering the PS4 was just 2.8 kg at launch and then slimmed down to 2.1 kg a few years later, that makes the disc version of the PS5 almost twice as heavy as its predecessor and as massive as the bulky PS3 that launched in 2006 to widespread ridicule for its sheer size.
That weight also meant the original PS5 console could weigh between a third and half the weight of even 50-inch televisions. This poses a problem in the sense that the PS5 is definitely not easy to move and could put a strain on shelves or units where it is being kept. To address those issues, Sony has revealed the new version of the system will be lighter. The revised standard PS5 now has a mass of 3.2 kg, and the digital version weighs 2.6 kg. That's a substantial weight reduction, making the PS5 more comparable to the PS4 and lighter than the Xbox Series X.
There's a digital and disc version of the system
There's good news for those who want choice, as the new model of the PS5 will come in two varieties, just like the original: a digital-only edition and a standard version with a Blu-ray disc drive so it can install physical games. That's in contrast to the upcoming redesign of the Xbox Series X, which will seemingly only have a digital version without any disc drive. With Sony's offerings, players will have the opportunity to decide precisely how they want to purchase and play their games.
With digital game sales now far exceeding physical purchases, it makes sense that console manufacturers are producing digital-only systems. They offer several advantages for consumers, as they are often cheaper and smaller than those that need a disc drive. But they also benefit the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo by cutting out the need for brick-and-mortar stores. This allows the companies to keep a larger share of the revenue from each game sold. That's important in a world where as many as nine out of 10 game sales are digital rather than physical.
Players can hook up an attachable Blu-ray disc drive
Even those who opt for the new digital PS5 without a disc drive can still play games and video content directly from Blu-ray discs. That's thanks to a new attachable Blu-ray disc drive that can be connected to the console or removed at any time. Of course, this also means that it will cost users more, as the disc drive will be an additional purchase. However, it does mean that it only needs to be connected to the console when it is in use, allowing players to detach it and keep it in storage to save space at other times.
The new disc drive will retail for $79.99, making it an inefficient option for those who intend to continue playing physical games regularly, as the standalone attachment is much more expensive than simply purchasing the PS5 with the built-in disc drive. This is likely why the PS5 Slims have four cover panels, as that allows the detachable Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive to snap on and off.
It has a larger SSD drive for more memory
One of the biggest complaints of the PS5 is that it doesn't exactly come with a lot of internal storage. When it launched, the PS5 had a built-in SSD with a capacity of 825GB. Yet, even all of that memory was not available to players. After system files and the operating system were taken into account, the PS5 only had just over 667GB of usable storage space. That's a paltry amount in the modern era when games such as "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" have install sizes of more than 150GB, meaning that gamers might not be able to have even half a dozen games installed on the console.
There are some ways to mitigate this, and Sony also allows users to expand the available storage using internal SSDs. This isn't a perfect solution, though, as only certain types of SSDs are compatible with the PS5, and they can be expensive to purchase. So players will be happy to hear that the new look PS5 will come with an expanded internal storage of 1TB, which should provide an extra 200GB or so of memory.
Whether this is enough to satisfy those who have been asking for a console with extra storage is unclear right now. For example, leaks for the refreshed Xbox Series X suggest it will come with the option of a 2TB internal SSD, doubling the current capacity of the console. In that regard, the PS5 will still lag behind its main competitor.
This new PS5 has four separate cover panels that can be customized
The standard PS5 that gamers are familiar with has two cover panels, completely covering each side of the console. That will no longer be the case with the refreshed version. Sony has confirmed that the new PS5 comes with "four separate cover panels" rather than two, with the panels essentially split in half on each side of the system. The manufacturer has not just separated the cover panels but also changed their design, with the "top portion in a glossy look, while the bottom remains in matte."
Thanks to the fact that this version of the PS5 is smaller and lighter, those who already have bought customized panels and want to upgrade will not be able to use the cover panels that are currently available. That means gamers who want to customize their console will have to buy new console cover panels, which will not be available until early 2024.
According to Sony, these will include "an all-matte Black colorway and the Deep Earth Collection colors in Volcanic Red, Cobalt Blue, and Sterling Silver." The custom panels will be available at a starting price of $54.99, and additional colors are planned to launch in the future.
It is set to release in November in the U.S.
Those who want to get their hands on this new PS5, either to upgrade from their current model or to try out the console for the first time, won't have to wait long. Sony announced that it will be available in the U.S. from November. No exact release date was given, although the company did reveal that it will be available from select local retailers and directly from the PlayStation Store.
Players can probably expect to find the console everywhere that the PS5 is currently available. Hopefully, that means there will be no repeat of the PS5 shortages that were common throughout the first two years of the system's lifespan and made it incredibly difficult to find in stores around the world. There's also little information about the availability of the new PS5 outside of the U.S., as Sony has only said that it will "continue to roll out globally in the following months."
There is no price reduction for the new PS5
One thing that the upcoming PS5 doesn't offer compared to the current variation is a saving in terms of cost. The PS5 model with a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive will retail for $499.99, which is exactly the same price as the PS5 that is available right now. Meanwhile, the PS5 Digital Edition will be sold for $449.99. This actually represents a significant jump in price, as the current PS5 Digital Edition is available for just $399.99. That means gamers will have to pay $50 extra going forward once the stocks of the original PS5 are depleted.
Although the PS4 Slim didn't come with a price reduction compared to the standard PS4, Sony did later upgrade the console with a 1TB hard drive that effectively doubled the internal memory of the system without increasing the price. This made the PS4 Slim a far more attractive proposition, especially for those who didn't already own any version of the console. Yet, the strategy mirrors Microsoft's price structure for its Xbox Series X refresh, with the new cylindrical system expected to retail at the same price as the original Xbox Series X.
The system doesn't come with a vertical stand
Another feature of the new model of the PS5 that may well upset some customers is that it will no longer come with a vertical stand. When the console first launched in 2020, it came with a unique stand that allowed the console to be positioned in two different orientations — horizontal or vertical. The stand was necessary due to the unusual shape and size of the PS5 and would either use friction to hold the console in place when it was laid flat or a screw to secure the system when it stands vertically.
In its announcement for the new PS5, Sony revealed that a "horizontal stand will be included with the new PS5 model" and "a new vertical stand compatible with all PS5 models will be sold separately." This stand will be priced at $29.99 and available to buy at the same time as the console in November. Without a vertical stand being included with the console out of the box, it means the PS5 Slim will only be able to be used in its horizontal orientation. That may well pose issues for those who only have space to display it vertically.
No major changes to the specs but only USB-C ports at the front
While the new PS5 does offer some improvements in terms of internal storage and a smaller size, there aren't any upgrades when it comes to the console's specifications. Gamers can expect identical components, such as the CPU, GPU, and RAM, with the same read speeds for the internal SSD. A detailed look at the specs reveals that users should not expect to see any performance or visual upgrades with the new console. For many people, the lack of changes to the specs will not make the PS5 a more enticing product.
That doesn't mean that there are not any changes whatsoever. The current PS5 has USB-C and USB-A ports on the front, but this will change with the new model, which will now have two USB-C ports at the front of the console. Those wanting to use a USB-A device will instead have to make do with a port at the rear of the system.
The console completely replaces the standard PS5 now available
This new look PS5 is not a model that is designed to be sold alongside the current version of the console. It will completely replace it, with Sony revealing that it will roll out globally in the coming months. In the blog post announcing the system, the company confirmed that "once inventory of the current PS5 model has sold out, the new PS5 will become the only model available."
This strategy is unlike those taken by Sony and Microsoft in previous years. When these companies have released new versions of consoles in the past, they have traditionally been sold as optional extras rather than as direct replacements. Both the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro were offered as more expensive alternatives, while slimmed-down models such as the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S were sold in addition to the standard systems.
In this case, considering that the new PS5 will have no real performance advantages or dramatic changes in specs, it makes sense to replace the current model. The only real downside is that those who prefer the current model will be unable to source a replacement in the future without purchasing a used console.