After months of rumors, image leaks, and "no comments," Sony confirmed Tuesday that it is introducing revised PlayStation 3 hardware that is smaller than the original, and priced $100 cheaper at $299. The new model houses a 120GB hard drive and launches the first week of September.
Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai introduced the new smaller, slimmer hardware at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany. The "slim" will go for €299, and ¥29,980 in respective territories. Sony also said that it is dropping the price of the current model PS3 to match those prices, according to an official Sony Computer Entertainment Europe liveblog
The new model will have the same functionality as the previous model, Hirai said.
By introducing a cheaper, slimmer PS3, Sony might finally appease critics from the publishing and financial sectors who have been calling for a cheaper, more competitive price since launch. Until now, Sony had been typically going the "value-added" route, offering PS3 hardware bundled with popular games. The last PS3 price cut was about a year ago.
Sony was resistant to cut the price of the PlayStation 3 further as the company worked toward profitability. But recently, a Sony exec said that the company had reduced PS3 build costs by 70 percent.
At $299, the price is now considerably more competitive with Nintendo and Microsoft hardware. The Wii currently sells for $250, while the lower-end, hard drive-less Xbox 360 starts at $199.
Sony reported in late July
that sales of PS3 hardware were down for the first fiscal quarter, from 1.6 million to 1.1 million year on year. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Andrew House said Tuesday that PS3 hardware has sold through 23.7 million units worldwide to date.