Sony has made some pretty big reveals at tech showcase CES this year—a mixed-reality headset, a first look at the Gravity Rush movie, and a car that you can control with a DualSense—so it makes the desultory offerings of new PS5 Slim colorways all the more disappointing. Red, blue and silver you say?! Whatever next: black?
Er, yes, there’s also black. Sony’s significantly smaller PlayStation 5 Slim was announced in October 2023, and released in November, with a promise of more colorful options for the side panels to come. Three of those were shown at CES, as spotted by The Verge, and they’re not exactly groundbreaking choices.
OK, let’s be reasonably reasonable: they’re a good red, blue and silver. Each has the look of a shiny new car, rather than the awful plasticky Lego colors that consoles usually receive, and much better than the thicc PS5’s options. The colors’ official names are Volcanic Red, Cobalt Blue, and Sterling Silver, and if you ask for them by those names in your local store, the staff are allowed to stare at you, unblinking, for up to a full minute.
While the default white PS5 Slim has a mix of glossy and matte panels, these new panels are all matte, and will cost you $55 for the privilege. That does seem an awful lot of money for purely aesthetic casing, and presumably we’ll see a lot more interesting variety available from cheaper third-party panels soon enough.
The bigger issue, to me, is it speaks of entirely the wrong attitude toward this piece of hardware by Sony. Yes, of course they want to woo the classy crowds, the people who just buy CoD and FC2X (née FIFA) every year, and want something that doesn’t look stupid next to the TV. But, at the same time, the PlayStation, it’s a toy. It’s for playing on. Why can’t we also have the option for a bit of joy? A splashy mix of bright colors, a kitschy flower pattern, the cover from Bat Out Of Hell?
OK, maybe not Meat Loaf, and certainly not wood veneer, but something that suggests Sony recognizes people use PS5s to have fun. Or even better, go in Microsoft’s recent excellent direction, and let me pick a bunch of ludicrously clashing panel sections, to make something as hideous as my wonderful Xbox controller.
The Slim’s announcement blog mentioned, “Additional colors will be released in the future,” but given the lifeless choices for the first round, it’s hard to hold out much hope for more than the addition of purple, light-blue and some bloody camouflage design. I mean, that’s what the regular PS5 has received.