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PS3 Slim Arrives...

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I hate the debates about which games console of the current generation is better. Part of that hate is because in this fight the only way to ‘win' is not to take part and part because 95 per cent (perhaps more) of those debating don't actually know what they're talking about.

As such, while it seems opportune to talk about the PlayStation 3 Slim in the wake of its launch, I'm going to try my best to keep the discussion unbiased in the hope you can all do the same.

Before I get onto the console itself, here's a little context. Sony is in a difficult position currently. You should all be aware by now how damaging the economic climate has proved for Sony - to the tune of billions - and continuing to haemorrhage money isn't a sound business plan. Lest we forget, Sony's losses due to the PS3 have been substantial.

As such, while the PlayStation 3 Slim is being presented as a new, cheaper option for consumers it's not hard to see that it has some advantages for Sony, too. For a start, being smaller makes it cheaper for Sony in a number of ways, not least of which are construction and shipping costs (smaller consoles mean more fit in each shipping container).
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The downside of that is that the PS3 Slim looks cheaper. It may have had its detractors, but I thought the original PS3 looked pretty swish, and you can't deny it stands out, whereas this new model is decidedly plain. Other, simple differences that betray the cost-saving measures Sony has made; physical, rather than touch-sensitive power and eject buttons, charging extra for a vertical stand, even the small PlayStation logo above the drive bay no longer rotates to match whichever way the console is orientated.

However, I think Sony is acutely aware that the market it has to target doesn't care. If you haven't purchased a PlayStation 3 by now there's few reasons why you would consider doing so and the cost of buying one is the primary detractor.

The "but it's so much more than just a games console" argument has been eroded somewhat since the PS3's launch. The PS3 - and by extension the PS3 Slim - may still be a fantastic and relatively cheap Blu-ray player, but there are plenty of those around now anyway. Yes, it will connect to a PC or NAS box and stream your music and DivX video but so will a WD TV or Popcorn hour A110 - and those will play MKVs, too.

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