Sony introduced the latest iteration of their maturing PlayStation 3 console at Tokyo Game Show earlier this week. In addition to being thinner and lighter than the previous slim model, the Super Slim PS3 comes with beefier storage options. The new consoles will be available in two configurations, including a 250GB or 500GB hard drive, with both getting an option of a “charcoal black” or “classic white” finish.
The 250GB Super Slim PS3 will be available in the US starting September 25th, bundled with Uncharted 3: Game of the Year Edition and a voucher for $30 worth of downloadable content for Dust 514, for $270. Its larger sibling will set you back $300 and will come bundled with a copy of Assassin’s Creed III when it arrives on Oct. 30. Sony has not yet announced a stand-alone, non-bundled, version of the latest PS3, raising the cost of entry by $20, as the current bundleless 160GB PS3 retails for $250.
In speaking with Engadget, Sony Computer Entertainment America VP of marketing, handhelds and home consoles, John Koller, revealed there will be no “formal” price drop on the current models. Reasons cited include dwindling inventories on store shelves and consumers tiring of “weird” price fluctuations. While Sony isn’t officially dropping the price of the PS3s currently on the market, it is likely retailers will find creative ways to move their aging inventory if demand for the new consoles overshadows their current stock.
Sony also announced a 12GB solid state drive version of the Super Slim PS3. The catch? It will only be available in Europe. When asked, Mr. Koller stressed the importance of robust, out of the box storage to the North American consumer.
The seventh generation console wars have been hard fought by all of the major hardware manufacturers. With the PS3′s release trailing that of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 by several months, and getting quickly overshadowed by Nintendo’s dominant, if more casually oriented, Wii, Sony had a lot of ground to gain before they could mount a serious challenge. While the worldwide sales of the PS3 and 360 are now fairly close (64M and 67M respectively, as of March 2012), Microsoft continues to command the all-important US consumer market.
Now in its sixth year, the PS3 gets its second redesign and its first price hike. Though the extra $20 does yield about $50-60 worth of content, and 90GB worth of hard drive space, the entry-level Xbox 360 now has a $70 advantage over Sony’s offering. With the holiday season quickly approaching, consumer will ultimately decide whether or not content and storage trumps price.