The PS5 Slim May Be Real, Do We Need a PS5 Pro Now?

Is another mid-gen upgrade really necessary?

The PS5 Slim May Be Real, Do We Need a PS5 Pro Now

With news coming from Microsoft’s court documents of their FTC trial, it seems that Sony is preparing a Slim version of the PlayStation 5. The competition has done industry espionage so well that they even mentioned the expected price to be around $399. Now, of course, that should be taken with a grain of salt, but it seems very realistic. At the price of the cheaper PlayStation 5 version without a Blu-Ray drive, the possible PlayStation 5 Slim might be just in time for the holidays this year, but what can we expect from it?

Well, to begin, I would be slightly surprised if the Slim has a disc drive if it even turns out to be real. Although the potentially higher price may actually indicate that the budget version of PS5 could still have it. So, what would PS5 Slim buyers need to give up then?

My first guess is the spacey “easy to fit into any room” design would be the first thing to fly out of the window. If Sony has taught us anything with their budget models so far, it’s that the design was the first thing to suffer. Cheaper plastic and a less complicated design for faster production seem like a safe guess. As for the components, there is no doubt that the performance will have to remain at the same level, but that Sony will also try to cut corners with cheaper solutions. The global chip shortage seems to be a thing of the past (never forget 2020-2021), and it has been almost three years since the PS5 went on sale, as well as 4-5 or more since it was designed, so some cheaper production scenarios are very likely.

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When I take all this into account, the Blu-Ray drive seems more and more certain in the new revision of the console. If it didn’t have it, the PS5 Slim would just be a disc-less PS5 minus the fancy design for the same asking price, only three years later. That doesn’t sound right. There is also a report that claims that the PS5 Slim could have an external Blu-Ray drive that would come bundled in or be purchased separately, which could complicate the price situation but also enable a potentially better position on the market.

But fine, while the PS5 Slim seems like a very possible scenario, the question arises, do we also need the PS5 Pro? Many fans think that a mid-gen upgrade would be logical because it happened in the last generation after a similar amount of time. Well, here I think the chances are far less for more than one reason.

Did PlayStation 4 Pro Sell? Well…

For starters, it seems that PlayStation 4 Pro didn’t sell that much. Although in 2017, when the Pro model was released, there was some boasting in the news that every fifth PS4 sold was actually a Pro model and that it sold better than the budget PS4 Slim that was released at the same time. However, very soon after the launch year, Sony stopped giving reports on sales of PS4 consoles divided by different models – the figure was always aggregated, so you can take a wild guess why is that. The last report came in March 2022 where it was stated that the PlayStation 4 system collectively sold 117.2 million copies. We will probably never know what percentage of that figure belongs to the Pro model, but if I had to take an educated guess, I wouldn’t give it more than 20% at best. That was at the time when Pro was actually needed.

How the PlayStation 4 should have looked from the beginning (Image source: PlayStation)

Different Times, Different PRO-orities

Unlike the relatively powerful PS5, the PS4 was released in 2013 with rather weak hardware. At a time when we were transitioning to 4K gaming and all those UHD Bravia TVs had to be moved, Sony needed to do something with its gaming system so that it could be more successfully tied to the promotion of new technologies they were trying to push at the time. That’s why the PS4 Pro was created: to buff up the hardware a little bit and provide the promise of cheap 4K gaming. Of course, we now know how that turned out, the 4K was more like a checkerboard upscaling gimmick, and the biggest advantage of the Pro was the actual introduction of performance modes in games.

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So, fast forward to PS5 times, with much more competent launch hardware and a slight lag of a year or two due to major shortages, the pandemic, and whatnot – the first few years of these two generations are incomparable. With a much more realistic 4K gaming now possible, the hardware can run almost everything in performance mode without a problem that also seems strong enough to push the PSVR2 games. Without any new technologies in sight, there doesn’t seem to be any strategic reason for the PS5 Pro model to come into existence anytime soon, if at all.

A Higher Price For What Exactly?

And on top of all that, we have the question of price. If the PS5 is to get a price drop, maybe the potential PS5 Pro could hit the market at the current price of the PS5 model with a Blu-Ray drive, but with the rumored Slim and its leaked price, that doesn’t seem possible at all.

On the other hand, asking $600 for the PS5 Pro, only after people barely managed to get the regular model, would definitely not go down well. Especially since even today, in the middle of 2023, the real PS5 exclusives can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Stronger hardware would undoubtedly bring more stable FPS in performance modes and more convincing 4K and RayTracing, but those changes would not be so dramatic to justify the purchase of a new, more expensive console. This was not the case even at the time of PS4 Pro, but the differences were at least more visible then – finally escaping the 30 FPS prison for the sake of 60 FPS in performance mode, and the sharper picture with make-belief 4K on the new TVs were something that could be noticed more easily.

Casual console gamers are nothing like PC tech freaks; they don’t benchmark FPS and count pixels, so to sell them a new Pro console would have to include some new tech gimmick. And I can’t think of any right now – because even the previous ones have not yet reached their full potential. I’m looking at you, 8K/4K 120 badge on the PS5 box – that really didn’t age well.

Here is your 8K 60fps game bro! (Image source: Shin’en Multimedia / The Touryst)

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PlayStation 6 – A Safer Bet

A more realistic scenario is that we will get a PlayStation 6 after some six to seven years of the PlayStation 5’s lifespan, rather than a Pro, but I could be wrong. Sony has done less logical things before, like who on earth is Project Q for? But take it from the rival Microsoft, which started this whole rumor mill about new PlayStation 5 revisions – Xbox chief Phil Spencer stated that the desire for new consoles is not the feedback they are getting right now and that the Xbox division is pretty set on the hardware that they currently have. Does Sony think the same? Time will tell.

I personally have nothing against new consoles, as I like to early adopt and collect them, but I want to believe that Sony was serious when they claimed that they “believe in generations”. With the line becoming increasingly blurred between generations due to similar hardware, all the cross-gen games, and a very small number of true next-gen exclusives, I think the PS5 Pro is the last thing that we need right now.

About the Author

Nikola "Nick" Jovanovic

Nick has been a Prima Games Staff Writer since May 2022, an old-school gamer, and a gamer journalist with over 25 years of expertise. Our resident micro-influencer from Serbia! When he's not driving through Belgrade, he's probably racing in Gran Turismo or Forza, playing some strange JRPG games or just watching pro wrestling.