At GamesCom today Sony made the big annoucements everybody already knew. A new Playstation 3 was to be released imminently at a slimmed down size and a slimmed price point of $299 (£249 or €299 depending on where you live). Not ones to hang around, Sony say you can find yourself a not so shiny PS3 Slim as soon as September. Exciting times, but what does this mean for Sony and what does it mean for you?
Get the party started – Having finally gotten to the typical console launch price of $299 Sony can finally get their groove on. That they’re still here owes a lot to their main competitors inability to turn the screw when they were really down but a slimmed down PS3 is finally a realistic competitor to Microsoft’s staple configuration and that’s good for everyone.
Re-invigorate Japan – The decline of the Japanese video game market in 2009 has been sad to see. Formerly the 2nd largest market in the world, it’s fall cannot just be attributed to the global recession. An American console on Eastern shores can only do so much. What Japan needs is a strong Sony. Undoubtedly chastened by it’s failure on home soil, a redesign presents a much needed opportunity for a relaunch more than a price cut ever could. For the Japanese consumer, size does matter. A smaller unit combined with a release as big as they come in terms of Final Fantasy XIII will hopefully give gaming in Japan just the fillip it needs. Japanese developers are some of the best in the world and they deserve the fruits of their labours to be successful at home.
Be much smaller – More so than the leaked pictures would have had you believe. It’s total volume, weight & power consumption has been reduced by a third. Given the original PS3 made the original Xbox look like a feather this is a good thing. You can forget putting anything on top of it though, they’ve kept the curved design.
Surprise anyone – Sony’s recent track record in keeping announcements a secret is awful. If it’s not loose lipped executives or retail flyers it’s leaked pictures. Megaton announcements used to be a staple of Sony conferences. Now we’re just left with the graphs.
Emulate PS2 games – Contrary to earlier rumours, the PS3 Slim will not have full PS2 emulation. If playing your old PS2 games on a PS3 is important to you, best stick to your existing older model or find one on eBay. For what it’s worth, the ability to install Linux has also been removed. Not that anyone used it.
Win the console ‘war’ – No doubt manning the battalions on Internet forums around the world, a large price cut is a rallying cry loud and clear. Trends that have been established over the past three years however, will not be reversed overnight. Sony may well now be here to party but it’s still the most expensive machine on the market and that won’t mean Nintendo or Microsoft will stop dancing. If they want to make the most of this momentum, Sony have to throw their not inconsiderable talents into compelling software and more of it.
Chris combines writing full time for Couch Campus with a job working for a media regulator where he specializes in games and the games industry. He also moderates at Gamersyde and can be followed on Twitter.