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Sony Announces New PS3 for Japan

Slimline model arrives simultaneous with rest of the world; no current plans for price cut.

 
The new hardware. Looks like those leaked image from a few months back were real!

The new slimline PlayStation 3 went from rumor to reality yesterday at a Sony Computer Entertainment press conference ahead of the Gamescom gaming event in Germany. Following announcement of the redesigned hardware by SCE CEO Kaz Hirai, Sony's Japanese offices opened for business today and delivered specifics on the Japanese plans for the system.

The new model PlayStation 3 is known just as the PlayStation 3 -- there's no "Slim" in the name, and it's not written as PSthree like the slimline version of the original PlayStation.

A worldwide release for a Charcoal Black version of the system, model number CECH-2000A, is planned for early September. Sony lists European and North American dates for September 1. Japan will follow on September 3. Pricing is set, respectively, at €299, $299, and ¥29,980.

For the Japanese market, the price represents a savings of ¥10,000 over the current 80 gigabyte model's ¥39,800 price. Overseas, Sony will be dropping the price of current models in coming days to match the slimline pricing. Sony's official statement does not mention a similar price cut for Japan.

The contents of the package won't be changing much from current PS3 units, it seems. In addition to the PS3 system, the package will include a single Dual Shock 3, a power cable, an AV cable, and a USB cable. No luck for those hoping for included HD cables.

In addition to sporting a slim look, with 2/3 the size and weight compared to the original 60 gigabyte model, the new version of the system cuts power consumption also by 1/3. Sony also says that it has cut fan noise down, making the system quieter.

The new slim form factor has one major impact on buyers. Those who prefer to keep their system vertical will need to purchase a vertical stand. Model number CECH-ZS1, the vertical stand will be available opposite the hardware release at ¥2,000.

In terms of other specifications, the system appears to be mostly unchanged from the current 80 gigabyte model, aside from a jump in hard disc space to 120 gigabytes. Notably, the system will not be backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 games.

PS3 slim owners can look forward to one added bit of convenience. The new model supports Bravia Link, which lets it link up with Bravia televisions. Once connected, users can control the PS3's XMB through the television remote and also synchronize power on and off.

Missing from the PS3 slim is the ability to install other operating systems. This has been removed in order to focus the system on entertainment contents, Sony states.

Sony is making a few changes to other areas of its PlayStation 3 product line to coincide with the release of the new model. The system's English language branding has been changed from "PLAYSTATION 3" to "PlayStation 3," putting it in line with past PlayStation family products. Additionally, the system has been given a new "PS3" logo.

Sony's new PS3 branding.

PS3 owners new and all will also have access to Version 3.00 of the system's firmware starting on September 1. Among the new features for the firmware are a What's New area of the XMB interface showing the latest PlayStation Network contents.

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