Sony rolled into TGS this week with a shiny new PS3 remodel to show off. PS3 “Slim” 2.0, if you will. It’s lighter, smaller, has a grooved top surface and a sliding door panel to a top-loading disc tray. Oh, and it’s more expensive.
Typically whenever Sony releases a revised console/portable, the price shrinks along with the size of the system. While this latest PS3 revision costs less to manufacture, instead of lowering the base price point Sony is bundling the lowest end model with extras and raising the price rather than slashing it. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, if you ask me.
First, the specifics. Globally, the new PS3 will be available in two SKUs. A 250GB model launches in the U.S. on September 25th in a limited edition bundle featuring a copy of Uncharted 3: Game of the Year Edition, which includes all previously released DLC, and $30 worth of “bonus content” in the upcoming free-to-play MMO FPS DUST 514. This bundle will cost $269.99, which is $20 more than the current standalone 160GB PS3.
A 500GB model, launching October 30th in a limited edition bundle including a copy of Assassin’s Creed III and four exclusive levels, will cost $300. These new models will be available in charcoal black or classic white color options.
On October 12th, a third model with 12GB of flash memory will also be released only in Europe for €229. A dedicated 250GB PS3 HDD will then be sold separately for €89.99, should owners choose to upgrade storage space later on. Of course, when the HDD is attached, the 12GB of flash memory cannot be used. So yeah, this model is about as useful as the 4GB Xbox 360.
In terms of straight up value, the new bundles are great. At the lowest end, $270 for a remodeled, more efficient console, a larger hard drive, and a copy of a great game is totally worth the price. However, I can’t help but think that Sony would really hit the holiday jackpot by offering a cheaper, standalone PS3 option. Sony says the additional content in the bundle is valued at more than $70, so why not release a 250GB PS3 by itself, without the extras, for $199.99 or even $229? I think a lot more consumers would rather pay a cheaper price for the system and then buy a game or two of their choosing, rather than be forced into one software pack-in option and DLC credit for a free-to-play game most PS3 newcomers probably aren’t going to care about.
Due to the smaller form factor, a vertical stand accessory will also be needed to use the system in its vertical position. This stand will be sold separately for $14.99, which, along with the need for an HDMI cable, only hits the consumer’s wallet with more hidden cost.
Perhaps a cheaper standalone system is on the way. The bundles are labeled as “limited edition” after all, and there’s still time after October for Sony to drop a price cut bomb before Christmas. Who knows, maybe there will be a surprise for Black Friday. Hopefully so, as I really don’t see these pricier bundles moving the retail needle that much, especially with the Wii U shaping up to be a holiday season smash.