I’m not surprised to see Sony come up with a smaller version of the PlayStation 3. The original Slim is comparable to the standard Xbox 360 in size, and Sony needed to do something to spark competition against Nintendo’s Wii U. However, the whole thing is shrouded in a sense of disappointment.
The Super Slim PS3 could have been something of interest to Sony fans or those yet to dabble in the PlayStation 3 market, but in the end, it's left floating in the wilderness. Who is it actually for?
The Original PS3 Slim Was Too Big
First off, it’s somewhat concerning that a console is being revised for the second time just five years after its (Australian) launch. Nintendo did it with the DS, but size and weight are more prominent with handhelds.
The PlayStation 3 “Slim” is lighter and smaller than the original PlayStation 3, but longer, and actually looks bigger than a launch Xbox 360. It isn’t small at all, giving birth to the Super Slim later this month.
However, why didn’t Sony just wait a year or two and release this -- or something comparable -- as the PS3 Slim? Why did we need the 2009 redesign if they were planning to do it again in 2012?
It’s Way Too Expensive
Sony has squandered the perfect opportunity for a PlayStation 3 price drop. Nintendo has just announced a release schedule for its new console, and Sony could have undercut it just days later with a new model. Unfortunately, the new-look PS3 is only marginally cheaper than the Wii U.
The two models of the PS3 Super Slim will sell for $300 (12GB) and $400 (500GB) in Australia, compared to $348 and $428 for the Wii U in November. They will cost USD $250 (250GB) and $300 (500GB) in the US (Wii U is $300 and $350).
The 12GB model would have been perfect as an entry level machine for gamers yet to delve into the PlayStation 3 market because of price. The PS3 has always been the most expensive console; it needed to be at least $50, if not $100, cheaper in Australia, especially when you factor in the optional 250GB HDD that Sony wants you to buy.
The Top Loading Design Isn’t Amazing
I thought we unanimously agreed that top loading isn’t cool? It seems a strange choice for Sony, and was a clear weakness of the PS2 Slim when you inevitably stepped on it. However, the petite PS2 didn’t have anywhere else to hide it. We can only assume this is the case with the PS3 Super Slim as well, but the overall design isn’t fantastic.
Now, that isn’t to say it’s bad, but I doubt anyone would argue that it’s the best looking of the three PS3 designs. That’s a problem when its entire existence is based on being a better looking version of something that already exists twice. It doesn’t have any new functionality, and only exists to look prettier -- it doesn’t really.
Wii U Competition Squandered
The Super Slim PS3 has been released to combat Nintendo’s Wii U. It’s as clear as day; Sony wanted to ensure the PlayStation 3 is still relevant against Nintendo’s console that is unsure as to which generation it is trying to assimilate with.
Nintendo’s obvious competition will be the PlayStation 4. In fact, it’s likely to blow the Wii U out of the water and we will laugh and then laugh again about that time we mentioned them both in the same sentence. However, that could be anywhere from 6 months to four years away. Sony wanted to do something to flex its muscle now, but that moves us to the last point: who is it actually for?
Who is the Target Market?
I’m not sure who Sony is actually targeting with this new model. First and foremost, why is there such a discrepancy between the storage space in each region? Is Sony only willing to risk the 12GB experiment in Australia and Europe? If they had a plan for it, shouldn’t this be more global?
It would have made a great entry level model for newcomers, perhaps even the casual audience that flocked to the PS2 towards the end of its illustrious lifespan and made Sony bucket loads of money. I can only assume that was the plan, considering there is an optional 250GB HDD sold alongside it, maybe. It’s like Sony doesn’t even know what it’s trying to do.
It would have been a great entry console, if it were considerably cheaper. Both models need 30 percent price cuts. Perhaps Sony expected the Wii U to be more expensive, leaving the PS3 awkwardly priced? Or maybe the PS4 is a long, long, long, LONG while away, and Sony still needs to squeeze money out of its current generation for years to come?
By Ben Salter