Microsoft has shared a few thoughts about Sony’s next consoles during its ongoing trial with the FTC, and it seems to believe that the PS5 Slim is releasing as early as this year, for $399.99. This would make the PS5 Slim the same price as the PS5 Digital Edition, a cheaper version of the console that lacks a disc drive. Microsoft also believes that a PS5 Pro is coming in the future.
The FTC contends that Xbox and PlayStation constitute a market of two because they are offered at a similar price. That is unpersuasive. To begin with, [t]he Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a price differential alone is insufficient to infer two separate product markets.” HDC Med., Inc. v. Minntech Corp., 474 F.3d 543, 547 (8th Cir. 2007). Equally important, the FTC’s analysis considers only the high-end models of Xbox (Series X) and PlayStation (Standard Edition), thereby ignoring the differentiation within Xbox’s console lines. In fact, the entry-level versions of the current Xbox and Switch are offered at the same price point ($299.99), and the Xbox Series S is sold for $50 less than the Switch OLED model ($349.99). PlayStation likewise sells a less expensive Digital Edition for $399.99, and is expected to release a PlayStation 5 Slim later this year at the same reduced price point.
Performance. Xbox and PlayStation are also differentiated on performance. The less expensive Xbox Series S has less GPU processing power, system memory, and internal storage and renders images at a lower resolution than the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. PlayStation, meanwhile, currently offers two different versions of the PlayStation 5—one with a Blu-Ray player for physical media (Standard) and one without (Digital)—and is anticipated to release further differentiated Pro and Slim models in the near future.