August 20, 2009 - With the announcement of the widely rumored PS3 Slim at this year's GamesCom, one has to wonder if resizing a gaming system is part of a major business plan. The PlayStation 3's change in size had been a rumor for months, and now, almost three years after the initial release of the console, we face a reality - the PS3 will no longer be "phat." The pattern is quite interesting, if you think about it. Every Sony game system to date has been remade. The sales of the original console designs have always been astronomical (not counting the less successful PS3), and it seems like the redesign warrants a few more years of life for the system, as well as another round of generous sales numbers.
When the original PlayStation came out back in 1995, no one questioned its size. Gamers were used to bigger consoles, so that wasn't a problem, and the amazing visuals it had to offer at that time made it a tough competitor for all the other game systems out there. Five years later, Sony decided to do a rehash and turn their successful piece of hardware into a smaller and sleeker game system.
Not only that, but that same year they released in Japan their über-successful PlayStation 2. One year later it hit U.S. shores. The system was quite big; however, its black finish and sexy green and blue lights made it look good enough that no one had a problem to adopt the console and make it part of their household's entertainment center. In fact, Sony sold almost 100 million units before it was resized!
The PS2 Slim was revealed in 2004, and it was released just in time for the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This certainly guaranteed another boom of sales in the already widely adopted gaming system - smart move on Sony's end (I even bought one!).
Of course, the trend doesn't stop here. Not only has the PS3 Slim been announced, but the PlayStation Portable (aka PSP) has already been remade three times! The original PSP was released in March of 2005, but it's changed a lot since then. The PSP-1000 was turned into the PSP-2000, a thinner version of the handheld with almost the same specs as the first one, but offering video output to TV sets. Its next best feature was the lighter weight, though the console itself also had a slightly larger screen. Less than year ago, the PSP was tweaked again and turned into the PSP-3000. This time around, its display had twice the refresh rate and color depth, as well as increased brightness, less reflection when played outdoors, a built-in microphone for Skype, and video output to interlaced television sets.
Ironically, rumors started again in the Spring of this year. The gaming masses believed the PSP was being redesigned yet one more time. That's a lot of redesigning for just over four years of life! It may have sounded like a joke, but it was true; Sony showed up at this year's E3 Press Conference with a new announcement they titled "the worst kept secret of E3."