At a pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference earlier today, Sony announced the new slim PS3. The new design is half the size and weight of the original PS3 and 25% lighter and thinner than the current system. The redesigned PS3 also features for the first time a sliding door panel to top load discs instead of the slot loading disc drive.
Coming in both black and white colors, the pricing is said to be the same as the currently available system, albeit with increases to storage size from the current 160GB and 320GB models to the new 250GB and 500GB systems. The 250GB will be priced at $269 and come bundled with a Game of the Year edition of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and downloadable content for Dust 514, set for a North American release on September 25. The 500 GB model, priced at $299, is bundled with Assassin’s Creed III and will hit store shelves on October 30. Europe will also be obtaining a 12GB flash memory model priced at €229 on October 12.
In addition to this news, Sony also announced that the PlayStation Plus service will be coming to the Vita offering a similar service to that of the PlayStation 3. Customers that are already a PlayStation Plus member on their PS3 will be able to enjoy the service on their Vita at no additional cost. PlayStation Plus for the Vita includes an extra 1GB of online storage, access to the included instant games selection, automatic downloading of updates, and discounts on a number of games and DLC.
Analysis: I have to say I’m a little puzzled by the creation of another, slimmer version of the PS3 this late in the console’s cycle. It reads to me like Sony’s clutching at straws as they try to milk this generation for all it’s worth before it comes to an end. The system and price point is clearly a sign of Sony trying to increase the profits for the system, and although I appreciate the additional memory, many expressed a want for a small price cut. I can’t say I’m too big of a fan of the design itself, either, and thankfully, my PS3 is still chugging along nicely and won’t need to be replaced anytime soon. Despite this, I expect the new models to perform quite well for Sony, considering the high quality titles that both models have been bundled with and the mixed reception to the Wii U.
More puzzling still is the European 12GB model itself. The fact it has such a high price point for so little storage memory and that it won’t hit store shelves in North America is confusing, considering a number of people have expressed interest in a smaller, flash memory model. And before I forget, I’m still waiting on my backwards compatibility, Sony, like pretty much ever other Sony console owner.
Moving on, I am a big fan of PlayStation Plus as it’s one of the few things Sony has really nailed and understands the nuances of it. Extending the service to the Vita, with existing PS3 subscribers not having to pay any additional cost, is a move I’m all for and something everyone who owns a Vita and PS3 should capitalize on.