What is the point of Sony’s PS3 Super Slim?

Sony is rolling out its PS3 Super Slim – even as the Japanese-based corporation prepares to phase out the long-lived console in favor of the upcoming PS4.

Although the Super Slim PS3 is still priced lower than Nintendo’s next-gen Wii U, the company has refused to slash the price tags of older PS3 models, prompting journalists and analysts alike to question the wisdom of Sony’s decision.  

“I think the form factor looks like a nice improvement, but if I were Sony I would focus more on lowering prices,” Colin Sebastian of R.W. Baird told GamesIndustry.biz.

”At this point, in terms of competing at the end of the cycle and in terms of driving more mind share, I don’t think consumers are as interested in the prettiest console they can find, but rather the one that has the best value.”

Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities concurred. 

“I think Sony is missing an opportunity to differentiate on price. And I think they’re going to be caught flat footed when Microsoft does something like bundling Kinect with the Xbox for $200,” he said.

“This is not a price cut, it’s a product introduction. It’s not like people are going to say ‘I’m going to take my 160 GB PS3 and upgrade to one that’s 250 GB.”

Interestingly, P.J. McNealy of DWS Research disagreed with both Sebastian and Pachter, as he termed the pricing decision a “non-event.”

“[The PlayStation division has] a corporate mandate, with Kaz Hirai in charge, of trying to make money – and cutting the price isn’t always in line with that mandate. They want to maintain the brand value and the equity in the Sony name,” he opined.

”The reality is Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have two choices now. They can cut prices on current models or they can extend the life cycles of the current machines by adding more technology and bundling games with them. Sony is clearly in the second camp.”