Editorial: Slim model puts Sony in best position since PS3 launch
- Posted September 14th, 2009 at 16:35 EDT by Michael Harradence
Let’s get this off our chest right away – Sony’s unveiling of the PlayStation 3 Slim, quite frankly, could not have come at a better time. As the company itself recently conceded, fiscal 2008 proved a decidedly stormy period for the platform holder, despite offering a substantial 2008 holiday line-up further solidified by big hitters including Killzone 2 earlier this year. Indeed, figures for North America in particular (see April, May, June & July NPD) have indicated that the electronics manufacturer has witnessed a considerable slump in its attempts to flog its latest home console as of late – a situation further exacerbated as a result of ploughing through turbulent market conditions brought on by the global economic downturn. And, while financial doom and gloom has resulted in sales lagging across the board for all three major companies, PS3 has ultimately had a tough time appealing to consumers in the face of its main rival, Xbox 360, which Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter recently attributed "due to a higher perceived value proposition."
Regardless whether or not you perceive the PS3 as an expensive piece of kit, numerous industry folk have continually called for Sony to slash the cost of its black behemoth, from publishers including the likes of Tecmo KOEI and Activision Blizzard (the latter causing a heap of controversy after threatening to ditch PS3 support if a price cut was not issued), to ubiquitous analysts too numerous to mention. Unsurprisingly, Sony obstinately adhered to its ‘no price cut policy’ whenever need arose, though for many, the prospect of a price reduction was inevitable– more so, in fact, when rumors began cropping up of a revamped slim version of the machine. Fast-forward to August 2009 at the firm’s GamesCom press event, and sure enough, our prayers are answered – a swanky new PS3 Slim for the reduced price of $299 USD, and a cost cut on the regular model until stock is depleted.
^ Let's face it, we all knew it was coming - and it's been flying off the shelves ever since.
It is with this move that, in our humble opinion (which we hope will be echoed by a substantial chunk of our readers) has put Sony’s high definition box in its strongest position since the machine’s inception back in November 2006. Aside from the obvious tweaks and changes – such as boasting a more aesthetically pleasing design and less power consumption – the platform’s revised price point puts it on equal footing with Microsoft’s high-end Xbox 360 Elite unit, and a mere $50 USD higher than the Wii. In a climate where punters are becoming increasingly price sensitive and are thus less likely to invest in high tech hardware (much less plump for a console priced significantly higher than it’s stable mates), PS3 Slim now gives Sony the shot in the arm it needs to stimulate sales and slug it out in the battle for hardware supremacy as we enter that ever crucial holiday season. Still, a console is only as good as its software, and fortunately, PS3 boasts a stellar back catalogue and an equally stunning line-up for the remainder of the year that is poised to continue into 2010.
Past gems such as LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Resistance 2 and Killzone 2 are just the tip of the iceburg in terms of the quality of titles available on Sony’s platform, many of which are now made even more tempting given the inclusion in the PS3’s vastly growing library of budget re-releases – ample pickings for cash-strapped gamers and new adopters alike. Furthermore, Sony’s black box looks set to play host to a sumptuous line-up of exclusives offerings in Q4 2009 with the likes of Naughty Dog’s stunning sequel in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 5 and From Software’s Demon’s Souls (as well as a healthy batch of multi-format entries including the likes of Tekken 6, Assassin’s Creed II and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2). Take a gander past Christmas, and the triple-A first-party onslaught continues in to 2010 with heavy hitters such as Heavy Rain from Quantic Dream, God of War III from SCE Studios Santa Monica and ... (continued on next page) ----