Last week's announcement of a slimmer Playstation 3 has industry analysts wondering if the move will be a success.
The new model is 25% smaller than what is currently marketed as the PS3 Slim, featuring a top-loading disc system as opposed to the standard disc mechanism of the PS3.
As innovative as that might appear, the move has polarised analysts. Takashi Oka, from TIW Inc., believes that simply miniaturising might not be enough.
“Game console markets have matured in developed nations and it may be hard to stimulate demand just by making it smaller,” he says.
He is of the opinion this is an attempt by Sony to hang onto customers who might be tempted to move on to the already-announced next-generation Wii U.
“Sony is probably trying to lure consumers with the new model after Nintendo released its Wii U.”
But another analyst, Ernest Doku from uSwitch, thinks Sony could potentially score in the Christmas market if the console is made affordable enough.
“Hopefully, supermarkets could slash prices or offer appealing bundles to battle with the Wii U as an affordable console this Christmas," he says.
"Factoring in the media player functionality, this new PS3 could take the advantage in the eyes of those looking for value for money over Mario."
The idea that Sony is attempting to take on Nintendo is reinforced by an interview with Sony Computer Entertainment America vice-president of handhelds John Koller, who told Engadget that the PS Vita’s cross-play capability is comparable to the Wii U.
“We tell our Playstation fans all the time that what the Wii U is offering is something that Vita and PS3 can do quite easily,” he says.
Combining the Vita with the PS3 offers some of the same benefits, including a similar controller layout and touch screens, as well as making use of the Vita’s processing power.
That’s in contrast to the Wii U game pad, which streams information from the console itself.
Where this argument falls down is pricing – purchasing both a PS3 and a PS Vita is not a cheap day out, nor is the feature established enough yet to make it worth the buy. However, if Sony is seriously considering upping the cross-play ante, it could give the Wii U a run for its money.
And although opinions on the Wii U have been conflicting, after developing for the new console Firebrand Games creative director Peter Shea says Nintendo should not be underestimated.
“The differences in power and graphical fidelity are going to become much harder to distinguish in the coming years and this should hopefully bring about greater focus on gameplay and experience – something Nintendo have always excelled at,” he says.
Shea argues that as much as Sony can attempt to steal the thunder of the Wii U, history shows that Nintendo is never down for the count.
“The majority of the game development community wrote off the DS before launch and almost everyone wrote off the Wii on first look too – both went on to be extraordinarily successful," he says.
"The lesson is clear: never underestimate Nintendo!”
So what do you guys think? Will the new PS3 boost Sony’s Christmas income, or is the Wii U going to be on everyone’s minds? Let us know below.