Sony might not be able to keep a secret, but they can sure make an announcement.
After months of rumors and speculation, the company finally made official news of a brand new version of its PlayStation 3 console during a game convention in Germany on Tuesday. Called the "PlayStation Slim," the new system is due to release in North America and Europe on September 1 for $299 and €299, respectively. The price cut is immediate, however, meaning the soon-to-be-replaced 80 GB PlayStation 3 currently on store shelves is now only $299 as well.
Touting the same features and functionality of the current console, the Slim is true to its name, coming in at 33% smaller and 36% lighter. It's also greener, using 34% less power. But while its chassis has shrunk, its trunk space has grown with a new 120 GB hard drive. Who doesn't like roomy interiors? Check out these hi-res shots and see for yourself.
Sony hopes the long-awaited price drop will stimulate sales for its ailing system, which typically trails both the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 (and occasionally Sony's own PlayStation 2) in monthly sales. The new price point at least closes that gap financially; $299 is on par with the standard model Xbox 360 and is only $50 more expensive than the Nintendo Wii.
The announcement could not come at a more fortuitous time, as the video game industry suffered another month of declining sales in July. Overall, the industry is down roughly 14% since last year.