Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Shawn Layden shows off a new PlayStation 3 during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan.
If you're named "The Biggest Loser" on television, it means you've gotten a lot slimmer. Congratulations. If you're given that title in the video game console industry, it's not so good. It's where entertainment giant Sony finds itself these days, and it's response is .. to get slimmer.
Sony is calling its soon-to-be-released PS3 update "Slim." It's not just dropping inches, it's dropping the price. $100 has been sliced off the previous price, so the new model will cost you $299. Not bad. It now matches its console rival from Microsoft, the XBox 360, but it's still more expensive than the more popular NIntendo Wii.
Sony needs to do something. It's facing a double-whammy in that the PS3 has trailed the other guys in sales, and the gaming industry as a whole is getting slammed. The PS3 has its devotees, and they have a lot to choose from (great gaming graphics, Blue-Ray DVD player, now 120 GB of storage, etc) at a nice price, but the much-simpler Wii continues to be the sales king (doubling PS3 sales so far this year), and the XBox is also ahead.
Our take? Sony is doing the right thing. A price competitive to the Wii could make people realize that, for about the same money, they can get a console that does a lot more (and, let's be honest, your games will look a lot better). It's also good for the game developers. Their titles should move faster, as PS3 sales get a quick boost. The question is, did Sony do this in time? Can it battle through the recession with a good product at a better price? Can it make inroads against both the XBox and the Wii?
Once again, the game gets more interesting, and consumers are the biggest winners.