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Sony Begins PS3 Slimline Assault on Japan

Retail displays pop up around Tokyo. Standard model price remains unchanged.


It took a couple of days, but Sony has at last started its promotional campaign for the PlayStation 3 hardware revision in Japan.

Walking around the busy Shibuya area today, I saw massive retail displays at major shops like Bic Camera and Tsutaya. Here's a sampling.

The Tsutaya displays promote the system as being thinner, lighter, and 10,000 yen cheaper. Bic's posters show comparison pics with the current model and make particular note of one feature: BraviaLink (this is mentioned in the red just below the system shots).

It shouldn't come as a surprise to see the retail assault begin today. Yesterday, Messe Sanoh manager Kazuyuki Inakoshi revealed that Sony had provided shipment figures for his shop. Other retailers have chimed in on their blogs, stating that they too have been given shipment numbers and can now take pre-orders. One retailer was surprised with how quickly Sony shared the information this time.

In his blog post at Famitsu.com yesterday, Inakoshi extrapolated from his shipment figure that Sony would be shipping a total of 200,000 units to domestic retailers on day one. Another retailer gave this same estimate and said that he was surprised with the large scale of the launch. He expects strong performance with the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XIII, the lower price point, and "that announcement" at Tokyo Game Show (I'm not sure what's being referred to here -- it may be just a general statement about a number of different things being announced, or maybe there is some super big PS3 announcement on the way).

Even outside of retail, the PS3 slim made somewhat of a public debut today. As reported at Impress Watch, Namco Bandai's Hirobumi Inagaki, producer of the upcoming Gundam Senki, showed off the packaging for the Gundam Senki PS3 slim bundle at a stage event during the opening day of the weekend Gundam Big Expo in Odaiba. The game's kiosks were presumably using standard PS3 systems, but this does seem like some good exposure for the system.

There's just one problem with Sony's strategy in Japan. You can see it here:

This Tsutaya display promotes pre-orders for the new ¥29,980 slimline system, along side the current ¥39,979 system (marked down ¥1 from the MSRP for some reason). Bic, Tsutaya, and a couple of other retailers I checked in the Shibuya area haven't dropped the price of their current models yet, nor have they announced special bundles to get the older hardware moving. The closest thing I could find to a price drop was at Tsutaya, where used 80 gig systems were slashed over night by ¥3,000 to ¥26,980.

While the current model PS3 appears to be sold out in many retailers, so much so that the system has taken a hit in recent Media Create sales charts, there's enough stock that I've personally had no trouble finding the system wherever I go. I imagine there will be some deals to be had on these systems in the coming weeks leading up to the big September 3 launch.

If not, we might end up with more pics like this:

According to Hachimaki, that pic was taken around the PS3's original launch day by a reseller who was unable to sell his newly bought systems.

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