By now, you would have surely heard of Sony’s new PlayStation 3 Slim. Announced earlier this week at the Gamescon convention in Colonge, Germany, the PS3 Slim sports a 120GB hard drive, and will retail for US$299. The Slim is scheduled for a worldwide release on September 1.
Existing ‘Fat’ versions of the PS3 will undergo a price cut, with the 80GB version dropping to US$299 (was previously US$399), and the 160GB version at US$399 (was previously US$499).
Is there a point to purchasing the Fat PS3 anyway, despite the price drop? For the same price, the PS3 Slim has a bigger hard drive capacity, and in the words of Sony Entertainment president Kazuo Hirai, is “33% smaller and 36% lighter, and consumes 34% less power”.
All this news about cheaper PS3s is fine and dandy, but what does it all mean for us local gamers here in Singapore?
“About time,” says Julius Arifin (a.k.a. DKellis), a local anime/video games blogger in response to the price drop. The PS3 was notoriously expensive during its early years – the retail prices for parallel imports around the launch period of the PS3 was approximately SG$1200 for an export set. A ridiculously unheard of price for a console.
A quick trip to the websites of popular local game retailers Qisahn and GameScore, indicates that the price hike for the current Fat PS3s has not been implemented yet. It seems likely that the prices for the Fat PS3 will only drop from September 1 onwards, in order to match that of the Slim’s release.
And that’s assuming if the Slim is released here on September 1 together with the rest of the world. Given the proximity of COMEX 2009, which starts on September 10, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony Singapore decides to delay the official local release of the Slim by then in order to attract more customers.
Again, this is also assuming that Sony Singapore doesn’t attempt to milk the PS3 console for what it’s worth by charging it at inflated prices, just like what other local distributors have done before (I’m referring to you, Maxsoft).
This CNET Asia article posted by one of our forum members, AceL, assures us otherwise: “We’ve already received news that the PS3 Slim will be arriving in Asia come September / October. What remains is the streamlined model’s pricing for our region, though it should not deviate much from the stateside US$299 tab”.
Translated to Singapore money: around SG$430 given the current exchange rate. A reasonable and attractive price for what the Slim is offering, to be honest.
Which brings us to the unfortunate issue currently plaguing the PS3 system: lack of games. Other than Metal Gear Solid 4, I can’t think of any other PS3 game that isn’t already on another console platform (360 or the Wii), or hasn’t been ported over to the PC (and vice versa). Final Fantasy, once the PlayStation’s signature mascot-series, is no longer a Sony exclusive: FFXIII is due for simultaneous release on the 360, while FFXIV, an MMORPG, will have a PC version to accompany the PS3 release.
“There are no games on the PS3. I’m sticking with my PS2,” DKellis said.
Indeed, one disappointing fact about the PS3 Slim is that it offers no backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 games. The large, diverse library of PS2 games, despite their rarity now, would have been a mitigating factor to compensate for the PS3’s mediocre game catalogue.
Aaron80, a local gamer, sums it all up nicely: “I’ll probably buy it just for the Blu-ray player.”
This writer will probably buy it just to fulfilll his BlazBlue / King of Fighters XII obsession, and to give his Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 a new machine to mate with besides his PC.
Got any thoughts on the PS3 Slim? Will it swing the non-adopters of the PS3 to Sony’s favour? Post your comments on this article’s comment page, or direct your posts to this message thread started in the GameSync forums.