I hope none of you have gone out and purchased a PS3 in the last couple of months, for at this year's Gamescom conference in Germany, Sony just announced the newly redesigned console (as pictured above).
This new PS3 design is a bit shorter, slightly less thick, and about the same width as the old model. The surface is not the shiny new car material that the previous design sports, but still looks cool nonetheless.
Inside, things have changed to allow the PS3 to run roughly 33% more efficiently in terms of power usage and heat exhaust. The new console is about 1/3 lighter as well. It comes with a 120GB hard disk drive, and the same everything else as the previous design. So it won't play games any differently; the changes were mostly cosmetic.
Of even more important news, however, is that the system will release to stores on September 1 of this year. And to coincide with that launch, Sony has announced a price cut from $399 to $299 on both the new and old designs. In fact, if you find an old-design model PS3 in stores right this minute, the price cut should have already taken effect.
*Note: I've heard from various sources that stores are still not reflecting the price drop, but expect this to change any day now. Sony made it clear that the price drop was supposed to happen immediately*
So, if you were thinking about getting a PS3, I'd wait two weeks and pick up this new design. Imagine: you get a PS3 game console, a built-in Blu-ray disc player, a 120GB HDD, built-in WiFi, and Sony's free online games network -- all for just $299!
By comparison, to get a Microsoft 360 for the same price, you'd have to settle for their "Pro" model, which only comes with a 60GB HDD, absolutely NO high-definition disc player (like Blu-ray), NO built-in WiFi, and an online service you have to PAY for.
Hmm, WTF is wrong with you, Microsoft? For $299, Sony's PS3 is way and above the better bargain!
Although I should point out that fans are expecting the 360 "Elite" model to drop in price from $399 to $299 in response to Sony's move. The "Elite" *does* have a 120GB HDD and is a sleek, sexy black too boot! But I don't think it has built-in WiFi (someone correct me if I'm wrong), and still no Blu-ray player. Oh, and Xbox Live network access is still not free. What it does have is an included HDMI cable, which the PS3, sadly, does not come with.
If the Elite model does drop to $299, the speculation is that the Pro will drop to $249, or be discontinued altogether. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I think you know which of the two consoles I'm endorsing. :)