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Microsoft tells court Sony "expected to release" PlayStation 5 Slim and 'handheld PS5' this year

As part of its Activision deal clash with FTC.

In a court filing submitted as part of its legal battle with the US Federal Trade Commission over its proposed Activision Blizzard aquisition, Microsoft has claimed Sony is "expected to release" both a PlayStation 5 Slim and a "handheld version of the PS5" before the end of this year.

Both machines were referenced during a paragraph (as spotted by IGN) intended to demonstrate that Nintendo's Switch should not - as the FTC is arguing - be considered in a separate market to Xbox and PlayStation based on price. It's a point Microsoft is determined to prove so it can more effectively assert its stated position as the underdog in the console market.

As part of its argument, Microsoft notes the Xbox Series S is $50 cheaper than Switch's OLED model in the US, with the $399.99 PS5 Digital Edition being just $50 more. It's here the company first makes reference to an unannounced Sony machine, claiming the latter is "expected to release a PlayStation 5 Slim later this year at the same reduced price point."

Newscast: This week's biggest headlines from the FTC vs Microsoft court rooom.Watch on YouTube

It's an unsourced claim whose most obvious point of reference is last year's report from Insider Gaming stating Sony was planning to release a potentially "slimmer and lighter" PS5 in 2023 with a detachable disc drive. Since then, the site has described the machine - which it says will launch this September - as being "almost identical" to the current PS5, detachable drive aside.

The PlayStation 5 Slim isn't the only new Sony console Microsoft is keen to highlight either, with the company's court document also saying Sony is "anticipated to release a handheld version of PlayStation 5 later this year for under $300." This, presumably, is a reference to Sony's actually announced Project Q, an as-yet unpriced handheld device capable of streaming PS5 games.

It is, then, probably wise to take Microsoft's claims as being nothing other than conjecture as it attempts to shore up its arguments against the FTC. A decision in the case, which will determine whether or not the FTC is successful in securing an injunction to block Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal ahead of its own internal deliberations, is expected later this week.

Over in the UK, Microsoft's appeal against the the Competition and Markets Authority's decision to block its Activision Blizzard acquisition is set to begin later this month.

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