The new slim model PlayStation 4 is already [out in the wild],( and one thing is painfully clear — if the console wars were decided on a gladiatorial match for industrial design, Microsoft’s Xbox One S would eviscerate the PS4 slim without contest.

This is arguably because Andrew Kim, who runs the equally sensual aesthete blog Minimally Minimal, was a member of the trimmer Xbox’s design team; they replaced the original Xbox One’s chunky black VCR form factor with something smaller, sharper and more modern — dialing back the black as a complement to make the dominant white really pop.

I’d further speculate the whole aesthetic is both pleasing to a retro-contemporary savvy audience and more thematically in line with the circular Xbox logo color, with size, color, and patterns respectively acting as inverses of the visual choices for the original 2014 hardware. That said, it’s not like I went to school for this stuff.

Despite the geometry and size differences, the Xbox and PS4 consoles looked, more or less, like they were cut from the same cloth that most game consoles have been. That is to say, the black plastic sci-fi future. Sony handily won that round, and now that it’s been revealed what the PS4 slim (reportedly) looks like, it’s safe to say its fatter predecessor is still a much sexier machine, if one whose look is more expected. The slim is another matter entirely.

First, it doesn’t appear to be much smaller than the older, wider PS4 unit, nor has the design changed too much. Rather than a bold new re-direct, the slim basically looks like a slightly more “budget” PS4 which, when taking into account the loss of the optical audio port needed for surround sound, it functionally is.

With its rounded edges and push buttons, the slim also seems like what you’d get if the PS4 ate a PSone — not the chunky classic PlayStation, but the cuddly re-release that happened circa 2000. It’s not the ugliest box in the world, but compared to the launch hardware, the whole thing comes off a bit chintzy.

Assuming what people have got their hands on is indeed the final hardware — and there’s no earthly reason to think that isn’t the case — it’s too late for the slim, at least barring a third re-design as happened with the PS3.

The PSone came out in 2000 and it was adorable.
The PSone came out in 2000 and it was adorable.

Still, even if Sony may be able to keep the upper hand in power, if Andrew Kim is helping out with Scorpio, Sony’s visual architects are probably in for a bad miss.

Photos via Microsoft, Neogaf, Venom Fox, Sony

Steve Haske is a Seattle-based writer and sometimes a creator of stupid art. His work can be found on VICE and Playboy. Iain Glen is his Virgil.