Editorial: The PS3 Slim is Inevitable

In this week’s editorial James Bishop argues that history, logic, and plain common sense suggests, nay, states that that the PS3 Slim is a dead cert, and one that he can’t wait for. 

There’s been hype and hoopla surrounding the PS3 slim rumors, with debates going back and forth on the subject ad nauseam. There are any number of opinions as to why Sony will or will not release a Slim version of their flagship console, but when you actually take a moment to look at it logically, the PS3 Slim stops being a rumor and simply becomes an inevitability.

It may seem like Microsoft is still somewhat of a new dog on the block but in reality Sony had only entered the fight a single generation of consoles before that. The original PlayStation was and still is a beast of a console. During the peaks years after its release, the PlayStation was showing no signs of slowing down in terms of sales. According to Sony, the original PlayStation has sold 102 million units worldwide as of 2007. 

You might be asking how this relates to the PS3 Slim hype, and the answer lies in the original PlayStation. The launch of the PlayStation 2 wasn’t the only plans Sony had in store for the year 2000. In June of that year Sony announced that they would be releasing a slimmer version of their already highly successful PlayStation console, now known as the PSone. As most readers are probably aware, the PS one was not that different from the original console, other than being about a third of the size of the original PlayStation with some minimal innovation. Aesthetically? Sure, the PSone was sleeker, and much better looking.

Yet even though there wasn’t a whole lot going on for the PSone over the original, it still ended up selling more units that Christmas season than the newly-minted PlayStation 2 did. Sure, one could argue that the large library of PlayStation games already on the market made the PSone a more compelling choice, but that’s just another reason that the line of ‘slim’ consoles will continue as an interim console release.

The PSone still remains as sexy as it was when it made its debut

It’s clear that it was the critical success of the PSone that led to the decision in September 2004 to do the exact same with the PlayStation 2. What took Sony six years to do for the first PlayStation only took them four years to do for the PS2. So, considering that the PS3 launched in late 2006, is it really that far-fetched that a PS3 Slim could be on the minds of the Sony executives? Also, historically the slim versions were announced after price cuts for the regular versions, so it’s not unlikely that we’ll see that rumored price drop before the PS3 Slim hits shelves. Even if we don’t see that price cut, it’s important to remember that the PS3 has already dropped a sizeable $100 from the launch price of the 80GB console.

So, based on history, the PS3 Slim is a fairly safe bet. But it’s more than that, because the PlayStation Slim has almost become synonymous with the Sony PlayStation as a brand. It’s practically expected; when I think of PlayStation, I don’t think of the big, blocky original PlayStation, but I reflect on the slimmer, sexier PS2 Slim. That brand recognition was not garnered with ease by Sony, and throwing it all out for no obvious reason with this current generation is bordering on ludicrous.

The PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 have been the workhorses of their generations, but this generation has been a tough fight for the PS3 so far. If I had to pick a winner right now, I’d pick the 360. While the Wii is outselling both the 360 and PS3 with ease, the 360 has the goods and the support at large, and if this past E3 was any indication it will continue to grow from strength to strength at what it does best, while tying in new features and ideas over time. So, why would Sony combat this new juggernaut without one of its trump cards? Again, it doesn’t make sense for Sony to hold back on the Slim this generation.

If the biggest worry Sony has at present is a lack of interest in the PlayStation 3, then the old adage of giving the customer what they want applies. The only serious worry Sony can have regards the Slim is a fear that even with the slimmer, cheaper PS3, people would still gravitate towards the 360 Elite bundled with Halo 3 and Fable 2. That doesn’t mean the Slim won’t be coming eventually, but it could certainly mean that Sony is looking for other alternatives before releasing the Slim. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: if there was a cheaper, slimmer version of the PS3 on the market, would we buy it? My answer would be an unequivocal “I absolutely would”. Wouldn’t you?

Author: James Bishop