By Grant Shepherd
SYDNEY: In a big morning for Sony Computer Entertainment and the Playstation brand, the company has unveiled not only a new cheaper and slimmer PS3 but a whole new system firmware upgrade and new services on its Playstation Network.
The major announcement of the morning is the new PS3 Slim, which not only gives gamers a new slimmer console and massive 120GB Hard Drive but a much deserved price cut. The new price tag of $499 is definitely going to stir up the market and catapult the Sony brand back into contention in the video game arena.
Alongside this new console will be the release of a new software upgrade, version 3.00, which promises to drastically improve the aesthetics and navigation of the PS3. Some features of the new Firmware upgrade 3.00 include dynamic wallpapers, a shortcut to the Playstation Store from the games section and a ‘What’s New’ area to view shortcuts to the last three games played and quick browsing of new content on the Playstation Store.
A new entertainment on demand and video delivery service is also set to be launched to give consumers access to hundreds of movies for rental or purchase in standard and high definition formats, as well as access to optimised TV websites.
A new payment method will also be introduced, were consumers will be able to purchase Playstation Network Voucher Cards at retail stores in denominations of $30 and $50. This is designed for users who don’t have a credit card linked to their Playstion Network account.
Sony also highlighted its strong business performance and its current global sales figures. Sales of the PS3 have now reached 23.7 million units (10.1 million in PAL territories) and the PSP has achieved 52.9 million unit sales (17 million in PAL territories).
In addition to this there are now more than 27 million global registrants (11.1 million in PAL territories) on the Playstation Network and the service has delivered 560 million downloads and online sales of over $280 million.
SCEE president and CEO, Andrew House commented on the impact of these new services.
“Playstation Network opens up a genuinely unique entertainment experience. This is no longer just for hardcore gamers, but for everyone,” he said.
“We believe that everyone enjoys entertainment differently and should have the choice as to what entertainment they consume and exactly how they consumer it. Playstation is a gateway to that entertainment.”
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