The answer is that it doesn’t. By now you have heard the rumors that at some point Sony is going to announce a PS3 slim, you might have even seen some of the alleged pictures of the now infamous PS3 Slim box. So far none of that stuff has been substantiated and Sony is denying it profusely so that says something (yes, we know about the orders to the manufacturer of the original PS3). People from all over the map have commented on this but the one thing that we really haven’t seen is anyone ask the question that we are about to ask and that is “Why Does The PS3 Need To Be Slim?”
A Slim version of this baby won’t drive sales long term.
So of all the things that Sony could possibly do to increase sales of the PS3 (which are slowly closing in on the Xbox 360), is making a slim version of a console really the top priority? I don’t think so. The biggest bang for Sony’s buck would definitely be that long-awaited price cut that people keep telling them they need. By dropping the price Sony really would get a whole new wave of people to go out and pick up the console but listening to the head folks at Sony that doesn’t seem like it will happen either.
Sony needs to continue improving their Home experience and trying to improve their online community to a point where it competes with XBL. They definitely need to get more of those exclusives out, we aren’t at all happy with lots of their exclusives that were supposed to come out later this year being pushed into 2010. Sony needs to continue expanding the content base in the Playstation Store as they have stated and hopefully get Vidzone out in the US sometime soon. The point is that Sony could do a lot of things to increase sales and add real value but the PS3 slim really wouldn’t do that and here’s why.
If you will remember the Slimline PS2 debuted in 2004, 4 years after the original console. Now the PS3 came out in 2006, so we are technically right around the same time in the product lifecycle but this time around its decidedly different. There were several factors that allowed Sony to put out the Slimline PS2 when they did, none bigger than the fact that it used a lot of components that were already widely available and mass produced thus from a cost standpoint it was doable. I mean they used standard DVD drives and NIC cards and they had pretty much perfected production of the additional components to the point where they could increase their profit margins substantially. As we look at the gaming landscape today, those same factors are NOT in place. The PS3 uses a Blu-Ray drive, which while it seems to have won the format war over HD-DVD, it still hasn’t achieved anything near what anyone would call substantial market penetration and that has prevented the production cost of those drives from dropping that much from the cost they were at when the PS3 first debuted. They also haven’t gotten to the level of efficiency they had achieved on the PS2 components with the PS3 counterparts and that’s the rub. For the PS3 to be “slim”, that means that they would need smaller and more compact versions of the already existing components and even if they had those, there is no way they could be doing it at a profit and that’s what this is about.
So that brings us back to the question “Why Does The PS3 Need To Be Slim” and our answer is that it doesn’t. The only reason to make a PS3 slim would be to really drive sales but that really isn’t the best option to do that. At this point, a slim PS3 seems to just be a dream and with the current environment I think it will stay that way for a while. No matter how much people would want to see one for the coolness factor, there is no business case for Sony to be in a rush to do so. The big question that Sony would need to know the answer to right now is whether or not dropping the PS3 Slim would definitely spur sales of the PS3 over the long-term. A short-term boost won’t do them any good and I don’t think they can be anywhere near sure of that right now.
A price cut on the original is what would really move the chains on this one.
So let’s recap. Sony has a lot of options when it comes to things they could do to boost sales, including actually putting out the PS3 slim. Are we saying that Sony won’t put it out, no, I mean Sony will do what they want to but at this point if they did it would have to be from a purely PR/buzz standpoint because I don’t see anyway that they could price it lower than the current model. If that’s the case then does anyone reading this think that lots of folks would be in a rush to run out and by a slim PS3 if it cost the same price as the current one’s? I don’t think so and Sony shouldn’t think that either. The next question is would it make current PS3 owners “upgrade” to a Slim PS3? The answer there is also no. I mean the PS3 isn’t the iPhone, people won’t just toss their old ones and go buy a new one because that’s just not how people are about consoles and that is aggravated even more by the current economic climate.
If it was up to ZKG, we would tell Sony that a price drop is the best move, because even if they take a hard hit initially I mean as far as we understand they are losing money on every console sold anyway. In business, the best model is to serve the most people for less, it’s about volume and what they lose on price per unit if they triple unit sales it should balance out. We are aware of the recent news about Sony’s 3 hour press conference scheduled for GamesCom and lots of people think they will announce a slim PS3 there, we don’t think they will but if they do will not have been the best move in this current environment, but if they feel like it will turn the consumers perception around they may still do for that sole purpose. So taking everything you have just read into account, we ask you “Why Does The PS3 Need To Be Slim Anyway?”