To no one’s surprise, Sony pulled the wrappers off its skinnied-down PlayStation 3 games console yesterday, the PS3 Slim. It’s been long expected, and comes with a much-needed price cut. But will you buy it? Here’s three reasons you will.
1. The price
Sony’s been lambasted for years in the media over the PS3’s price. Sure, it’s revolutionary and its development costs, thanks to the ridiculous processing power it contains and its Blu-ray drive, must’ve been obscenely high. But choosing to pass this burden onto the consumer has stymied sales of the console since day one. It’s way more expensive than the Wii, and even the Xbox 360 was cheaper than it…in fact, it’s the most expensive console out there.
No more. $299, ladies and gentlemen, is a bit of a magic number. It’s within the range of the cash you might spend on a good Blu-ray player anyway, it sounds affordable, and its about the same as the price the Xbox seems to be settling on. It’s also the same price that Sony’s enforced for the still on-sale low-end PlayStation 3, which has an 80GB hard drive versus the 120GB one in the new PS3 Slim. That makes the slim look even more of a good deal.
2. The Aesthetics
Aesthetics, you might think, don’t typically come into the decision about buying a console (unless you’re picky, like me, and had a sneaky feeling Sony would eventually do what it’s done with all its consoles before, and shrink the PS3.) But though the PS3 Slim is a little bigger in depth than the old PlayStation 3, in every other aspect it’s smaller–and it’s even more petite than the Xbox, interestingly. The old PS3 version was a beast, its fat, shiny black curves clashing with just about every other piece of AV gear you might have sitting beneath your HDTV…whereas the new one is skinny, and its matte surface won’t look out of place next to your audio amp. It’s also lighter, being just 7-pounds versus 11-pounds.
This size shrinkage has been possible due to more compact components, which has had another benefit–the device is both quieter and consumes less electrical power than before. While you’re not necessarily going to worry about the latter point (250W versus 270W isn’t going to affect your power bill majorly, though there is an eco-angle here) the quietness is important. The Engadget guys measured its sound output at 60dB when playing a BR movie, whereas the old console pushed out 70dB–that’s really going to affect your enjoyment of movies if you’re sensitive to extraneous noise.
3. The games
I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here, and suggest that the price drop could really seal up the PS3’s future in terms of its game archive. Everyone’s been waiting for Sony to make it cheaper, and its slack sales until now may have contributed to a not quite so stellar up-take by games writers. I’m not necessarily talking about big-hitting titles like Metal Gear Solid 4, I’m also talking about the cheaper, simpler games that make up a significant portion of PS2 titles currently. The price drop will undoubtedly push console sales upwards, and that will definitely tempt developers to write for the platform. In other words, buying a PS3 now means you’ve got a guaranteed supply of game titles on the way for perhaps ten years, or more–after all, the PS2 came out in 1999, was slimmed down in 2004, and there are still games being released for that system today.
Personally, I’ll be buying a PS3 Slim for all of the above reasons–all three synthesize together to finally tempt me to hand over the cash. It’s just the right time, particularly since this game is due out sometime soon, and I’ve long been waiting for it. It’s The Last Guardian, a PS3 exclusive title.