Report: PlayStation 4 'slim' surfaces in online ad

What is this slimmer, matte black PlayStation 4 console that’s up for sale online?

Seller Adam is offering what appears to be a boxed-for-retail PlayStation 4 that looks distinctly different from any version of the console that’s been sold to date. The listing on Gumtree, a U.K. site for classified ads,  refers to the hardware as a “slim line model” and carries a £295 ($385) asking price.

Before you cry hoax — a reasonable conclusion, to be sure — consider this: on Sept. 7, Sony is hosting a “PlayStation Meeting” in New York City. The last event bearing that name, held in 2013, featured the reveal of the PS4.

It has been widely speculated that the Sept. 7 event will focus on the 4K gaming-enabled PS4, codenamed “Neo.” That may well be the case, but it is also conceivable that Sony will be revealing — and perhaps releasing, there and then — this slimmed-down version of the original console.

A stealth retail release would explain the sudden availability of refreshed hardware with only a few weeks to go until PlayStation Meeting. The Gumtree seller’s console is smaller in size than the original. It’s also matte black, a change from the standard PS4’s glossy shell.

Images obtained from the seller by Polygon also reveal that the slimmer PS4 seemingly eliminates the optical audio port. That minor tweak suggests another possible announcement for Sept. 7: a price drop.

Historically, mid-generation hardware updates slim down the asking price as well as the console itself. A new PS4 currently retails for $349 from most retailers; a move to $299 at this point in the console’s life cycle would definitely make sense.

It’s worth noting that the box this PS4 is packaged in bears a logo for PEGI, the European equivalent to the U.S.-based Entertainment Software Ratings Board. That doesn’t mean the console — if it’s real — isn’t coming out in the U.S., it just further reinforces how tenuous any speculation is.

Speculation is all it will continue to be until Sony chooses to say something. That’s not likely to happen until Sept. 7, but you may want to hold off on purchasing a new PS4 if that was in your imminent plans.

You know … just in case.

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