10 reasons why the PS3 Slim will save Sony

The ten most compelling reasons to buy a PlayStation 3 Slim
  • (PC World (US online))
  • — 22 August, 2009 03:33

In a recent PC World article, one of my colleagues suggested that the "Slimmed PS3 Won't Save Sony." Let's play devil's advocate and consider the alternative, which is that it will, with an appended "and then some." Sony just slashed the price of its flagship console by $200, a full 25% drop, significant by any measure. For 500 bones, you can have a Blu-ray playback device with integrated wireless, 1080p HDMI output, a 120GB upgradeable (within warranty) hard drive, and free online multiplayer et al. support. Not too shabby.

Sony's has its work cut out, to be sure, but the PS3 Slim knocks the legs out from under the "boutique pricing" caveat. In fact I think the Slim puts Sony back in the game with bells on, whether Microsoft pulls the trigger on a 360 Elite price drop or not.

Here's why.

The five-month decline in video game sales is predicted to be in reverse as I type this. According to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter's August 10th game sales report, "Beginning in August, we expect a return to monthly software sales growth, with September likely to come in at +30% or higher... We believe that July marks the last month of negative double-digit sales declines, and that video game software sales will rebound in August, with modest upside expected...and expect share prices to recover as investor concerns abate." So the market as a barrier, and the PS3's previous "boutique" price in said market, are probably off the table as attenuating factors if we place stock in Pachter's upbeat forecast.

The PS3 is holding its own internationally. In monthly NPD Group retail sales the PlayStation 3 has been "at the bottom of the heap" for some time, but things aren't as bleak as that sounds. In Japan, Sony's got Microsoft by over two million units. In Europe, they're only behind by roughly a million units. Their weak spot's the US, where they're down by nearly nine million units. To catch up to Microsoft by this time next year, they'd need to sell roughly 750,000 units a month on top of breakeven monthly unit sales with the Xbox 360. Obviously not going to happen. But whether we see Microsoft's lead dwindle or grow at this point really depends on consumer reactions to a $300 Xbox 360 Elite. If Microsoft antes up (as expected) the looming holiday season will be definitive in establishing the shape of things between now and generation-twilight (around 2013).

Sony's PS3 "cost to build" had, as of July 2009, dropped by roughly 70 points since the system launched in 2006. GameSpot's estimates are that it costs Sony around $252.10 per unit (down from original launch cost estimates of $840.35 per unit). If that's roughly accurate -- packaging, transportation, and miscellaneous costs notwithstanding -- there's every reason to believe the $100 price drop won't snap Sony's back. If the Slim sells well, it should be a bottom-line booster, as opposed to a Pyrrhic sales generator.

The PS3's system failure rate is virtually nonexistent compared to the Xbox 360's. Forgetting the questionable Game Informer reader survey which pegged Xbox 360 failures at 54% and working off more forgiving retailer estimates, which place Xbox 360 failures at around 33%, that's still a virtually unprecedented failure rate for a game console. To Microsoft's credit, they've taken full ownership of the issue, but if you hate sending units in for repair or debating with a support rep about warranty stipulations, Sony's got Microsoft beat by miles on this point.

The PS3 Slim is backward compatible. Sure, the "emotion engine" chip that handled PS2 compatibility in the original 60GB model was yanked, but the PS3 still services Sony's entire back catalogue of PlayStation One games, including: Final Fantasy's 7 through 9, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid, Vagrant Story, Chrono Chross, Xenogears, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Gran Turismo's 1 and 2, Colony Wars, Rayman 2, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Grandia, and hundreds (or is that thousands?) more. Should they reinstate the software compatibility option temporarily introduced in European PS3s? I've long thought so -- even if the compatibility catalogue (like Microsoft's) is limited -- but dismissing the PS1's library completely misses what remains for at least some gamers a major selling point.

Losing the option to install other operating system's is irrelevant. There's a minority (not a particularly vocal one) that might tell you otherwise, but the option to throw stuff like Linux onto a PS3 was never really official anyway. And for the mainstream consumer, that sort of "fool-around-with" factor is beneficially nil.

The new design takes up less cabinet space and drops your Windex bill. Okay, you probably shouldn't be using an ammonia-based cleaner anywhere near your PS3, but glossy finishes on touchable technology are the devil. In addition to dropping the space and weight footprints by 33 and 36 percent respectively, the Slim has a predominantly matte finish (like the PS2's) keeping unsightly fingerprints and finger-oil-smudging out of the visibility spectrum.

The PS3 Slim's "Cell" processor is sized just 45nm, a drop from the original's sizzling 60nm. Sony says this reduces the power consumption from 280 to 250 watts, or 11 percent. The result? Less heat, obviously, which means less fan activity and lower overall decibel levels. Assuming you're not torturing your PS3 by sealing it away in a thick wooden cabinet, heat levels and fan noise that were already reasonably low should now be virtually whisper quiet.

It's all about the games, and Sony's fall and holiday 2009 exclusives lineup looks as smart as Microsoft and Nintendo's. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Demon's Souls and Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time for starters. What's more, all those gamers who've never owned a PS3 have Sony's existing exclusives catalogue to sample, so you have to factor stuff like LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid 4, Killzone 2, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Resistance: Fall of Man, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, Flower, Wipeout HD, MLB 09: The Show, Valkyria Chronicles, and inFAMOUS when weighing the system's value. Looking forward to 2010, add: White Knight Chronicles, MAG, Gran Turismo 5, Heavy Rain, The Last Guardian, God of War III, and ModNation Racers.

The PlayStation Network has as many bells and whistles as Xbox LIVE, depending on your vantage. Online multiplayer, game demos, PlayStation Home, Pulse, and the garnish on top? All 100% free. Whereas you'll pay $99.95 a year for Xbox LIVE. It's easy to overlook the cost of Xbox LIVE Gold at the outset, but add it up over the years, and you're looking at the cost of a second system-plus.

And finish. Just remember: No dog in this fight. All three systems have standout games and distinctive features. Cross your fingers they succeed, because Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are at this point beholden to millions of gamers, any way you slice it.

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Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)

Comments

Josh

1

PS3 fail

Even at $500, the value is shabby at best and pales in comparisson to the xbox 360. Price is the name of the game and all the blue ray in world won't save sony or pull the wii owners away. The graphics are nice, the output is great, but it only appeals to hardcore gamers with loads of cash which are definitely in the minority and are shrinking.

With nintendo's fanbase and family appeal, and with the 360 being the cheapest of them all with the most games, sony will continue to lose market share.

Also, the value, content, and future of XBox Live is far greater than sony's free version will ever be. Plus, with so many fewer subscribers, its a no brainer.

Anonymous

2

Um, at most it costs $50 for Xbox Live. If you know someone at Microsoft, it's half that. As much as I hate how the hardware fails, when Microsoft says "we're going to have 'x' in our system" they deliver, and Sony does not. They don't listen to customers, they're phasing out the PS2, and eventually if you want to play that stack of PS2 games you loved, you're going to have to buy a new copy from PSN. I wanted to hate the 360 and love PS3, but Sony dropped the ball on this gen.

just some dude

3

I have a question

I have a sincere question. I had a 360. 3 died on me in a year and a half. At the time I paid $500. If I pay $500 for something, it's important that it doesn't die on me over and over. I feel like the company ripped me off. I don't see a game console as any different than any other product. How can the enormous news of the RRoD not turn people away from the 360? I understand a 360 is not a stove. I know people love certain games like Halo 3 and need the 360 to play those games. But when a product they play those games on dies over and over and over again, why do they put up with it? I couldn't. I got a ps3 and am very happy with it. I thought "the 360 I play these games on is breaking down all the time and will keep breaking down because of the track record. Why am I spending all this money on all these games when the machine the games are played on is very unreliable?" It didn't make sense to me. I spend a lot of time playing a lot of games on the ps3. I only have 2 blu ray movies. I've had it a year with no problems at all. I'm not here to say the 360 sucks and praise the ps3. I'm just confused how a product with a terrible reliability record that made headline news can succeed as much as the 360 has. Yes, I bought a 360 myself but later gave it up and went to the ps3.

I've heard a lot of people say once the ps3 comes down $100 I'll get one. Talk is cheap though. Only time will tell if they act on it. In the end, I think Microsoft and Sony will be happy with their sales. The ps3 to me is a wonderful game system with much to offer. I basically only use it for games. I have already played a lot of very good games on it and am having a hard time trying to choose which games to get in the near future because there are so many good ones coming out for it and ones I haven't played yet.

I understand how the price for the ps3 put people off from buying it. But why didn't the RRoD put people off from buying a 360? For all I know, maybe it did. Maybe Microsoft would have sold more if not for the RRoD.

just some dude

4

whatever

Looks like the ps3 being the same price as the 360 now, which happens to include a FREE blu ray player(a good one too), is scaring the 360 owners. Funny, if the ps3 was $50 they'd still find a way to say the 360 is a better deal.

just some dude

5

Ask me if I care

I had a 360, it died on me 3 times in a year and a half. Let me guess...you'll say I had it in an enclosed area? Threw it against a wall too many times? Submerged it in water to see if it floated? Threw it off a 20 story building and drove a truck over it? Cooked it in a microwave? Sorry...none of the above. Although there were 3 specific times I wanted to throw it against a wall, but didn't.

I dumped my 360 for a ps3. Best move I made. I've had the ps3 for a year. Works like a charm. Not one problem. You say it works good because I have no games to play on it so it doesn't get used? Sorry, I have quite a few games and I actually play games more on the ps3 than I played the 360, and for longer periods of time. Didn't take me long to learn if I played the 360 for more than 30 minutes it might blow up. Yeah, I'm being sarcastic but you get the point. I run Folding@Home on my ps3 too. I've been doing it for months. One work unit can take about 6 hours. There's no way in hell I'd run my 360 for 6 hours.

You say blu ray is irrelevant? Take a look at my Planet Earth blu ray documentary and then tell me how unimpressed you are. You say wifi doesn't matter because it isn't as good as ethernet cable? Tell that to all the 360 owners who did spend $100 on the 360 wireless adapter because their computer was upstairs and their ps3 was downstairs. You say the blu ray space isn't necessary? Microsoft said dvd space was fine too until Forza 3 needed two discs. You think Forza 3 will be the end of 2 disc games? I know, you say putting in another disc doesn't bother you. Funny you say that though because if the 360 didn't need two discs and the ps3 did you'd be all over the ps3 laughing about it. Doesn't matter if games don't use the full blu ray disc. The beauty of it is the space is there IF the developer requires it which is very comforting to a developer I'm sure.

So the ps3 and 360 are both $299 but the ps3 has most notably, free blu ray player, built in wifi, much larger disc space, and to top it off a MUCH better reliability record that puts the 360 RRoD scandal to shame. Sorry, your argument that the 360 has better online doesn't count for what the 360 has that the ps3 doesn't. Why? Because those ps3 advantages I just mentioned didn't cost you any extra...xbox Live does.

Game selection use to be the most important thing. The 360 taught us the most important thing now is the damn console that plays those games doesn't die on you over and over and over again. A console that works and THEN the game selection. Ps3 doesn't have many good games? Get your head out of your ass and wake up. If you really are selling that the ps3 doesn't have a lot of good games at this stage of the game you must make daily visits to Microsoft's back rooms and please them with more than just compliments.

So you don't mind buying a product like the 360 and having it die on you over and over and over? Ummm...wow. I have a 15 year old lawnmower in my garage I'd like to sell you for $500. That's a good deal right?

So...Sony took a lot of flack for delaying the release of the ps3 for what...about a year? Mmmm...I wonder why? Could it be they wanted to make a good product? Well damn them all to hell. Doesn't Sony know people now don't care about good products? People just want whatever is cheap. After all, we made China rich with that philosophy.

Yeah, I was one of the suckers that bought a 360. But I learned my lesson and have redeemed myself. My money will now go ps3 games on my ps3 console.

You're right, I am a fanboy. I didn't want to be. After all I had a ps2 and gladly bought a 360. You can fully and completely thank my fanboyism to Microsoft for royally fornicating me 3 times in a year and a half. I'm suppose to be thankful for a 3 year warranty? Funny how I hear people being grateful to Microsoft for being so wonderful with the 3 year warranty. Guess what? They HAVE to give you the 3 year warranty. They don't want too...they HAVE too. So many consoles died that if they didn't, you and everyone else that bought one would jump ship and buy their competitions console. You say the Microsoft people are friendly and promptly return your 360's? Guess what? They have too. If they don't kiss your butt you'll turn on them and start buying ps3 games.

Halo 3 has you by the nads. You HAVE to play your Halo 3 so even though your 360 died on you 7 times, you can't play Halo 3 anywhere else. I don't want to be a bitch to any game which is why I'm not. I don't HAVE to play any game. I don't want to be a slave to ANY game.

Yeah, I said too much. Yeah, I have too much time to kill today. Ask me if I care.

just some dude

6

blah blah blah

Looks like my second epic novel comment didn't get printed. What a shock. Looks like 360 owners are mighty impressed with Microsoft's prompt service regarding the 100 per cent failure rate. Come on, we all know it's not just 54 per cent. 3 360's died on me in a year and a half. Yeah...I'm a little pissed that Microsoft fornicated me 3 times in a year and a half. Anywho...did you ever stop to think it's not because Microsoft think so highly of you that they are so good with the 3 year warranty and prompt service because they are wonderful people?

Did you stop to think that maybe, just maybe, because of an absolutely embarrassingly terrible product that made headline news(RRoD), they HAD to kiss your butt? If they didn't give you a 3 year warranty and return it to you fast while complimenting you on your choice of cologne, they'd lose ALL their customers that bought a 360 because they would be furious. 2+2=4. It's called common sense. Let me guess though, you still think Microsoft loves you don't you? They don't care about the money or the business, they care about you because you're special. I also have some moon rocks I'd like to sell you for only $150 a piece. The blue rocks are $175. They're more rare. It's a good deal.

If Microsoft said "too bad, we're not extending the warranty and you'll pay for the part if the warranty is over" would that satisfy you? I think not. I think it's clear the only reason Microsoft tried their hardest to kiss your sweet little behinds is because if they didn't...you'd be buying ps3 games right now. You think Microsoft didn't think of that? There's a lot of very naive people out there and Microsoft knows it. They proved it by putting out a poorly designed product that made news headlines and yet, having millions and millions of people, despite being a victim of that product over and over, defending it like it was their most beloved next of kin. If you bought a stove and it broke down 7 times, would that be ok? How stupid of me, I forgot your stove doesn't play Halo 3. You're Halo 3's slave. I don't HAVE to play ANY game. I'm a gamer but I'm not a slave to any one of them.

If Sony sold me a product like a 360, I'd be tearing them down too. Yeah, I was one of those naive people that bought a 360 too. But unlike too many of the people reading this...I redeemed myself. I learned my lesson. I seen the light. I said "no" to Microsoft fornicating me for a fourth time.

I've had my ps3 for a year and a half. Works like a charm. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking it works like a charm because I don't use it because there's no games. Sorry, it's not 2007 anymore. Not much of a gamer are you if you're still brainwashed into thinking the ps3 doesn't have many good games? By the way...does the 360 still have nothing other than FPS? Good luck finding a LittleBigPlanet on your 360.

I run Folding#Home on the ps3 too along with my many ps3 games. A Folding@Home work unit can take 6 hours. Would you...a 360 owner run anything on your 360 for 6 hours straight, over night, for months? I didn't think so.

oiwuroiwu qowieurqowiu

7

Sadly you're right. Price is the name of the game. We don't like quality anymore which is why you and I made China rich and why they own us now. People like you will encourage Microsoft's next game console to break down constantly too. Their attitude will be, "well, the 360 was poorly designed and made headline news by the embarrassing failure rate and yet tens of millions still happily bought it. Let's not worry if the next one doesn't work. There will be lots of faithful loyal followers that will fight for our product no matter how badly it fails."

Yeah, who needs quality? Give me the cheap one.

oiwuroiwu qowieurqowiu

8

You're right

Sadly you're right. Price is the name of the game. We don't like quality anymore which is why you and I made China rich and why they own us now. People like you will encourage Microsoft's next game console to break down constantly too. Their attitude will be, "well, the 360 was poorly designed and made headline news by the embarrassing failure rate and yet tens of millions still happily bought it. Let's not worry if the next one doesn't work. There will be lots of faithful loyal followers that will fight for our product no matter how badly it fails."

Yeah, who needs quality? Give me the cheap one.

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