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New PS3: Why The Design Was Obvious

Submitted by on Wednesday, 26 August 200912 Comments

PS3 SlimThe PS3 re-design was recently revealed by Sony at GamesCom in Cologne.

Our own man was on the scene when it was unveiled by Kaz Hirai to rapturous applause. And a distinct lack of surprise.

With rumour spreading like wildfire in the lead-up to GC09 it seemed that every Tom, Dick and Harry had some sort of tip-off from someone or other.

While we were not surprised to see the new PS3 unveiled, it struck me as somewhat odd that no-one had thought that a re-design of the PS3 would look like the model that was unveiled.


Sit yourself down with a cup of cocoa, and I’ll run you through a brief history lesson. Don’t switch off or click away – this is actually interesting…

So the PlayStation was released eons ago in the distant haze of the 90s. The grey box wth a flip-top lid was – let’s be honest – fugly*.

But that was ok then, because gaming was still something that was uncool. This was before the likes of Lara Croft had captivated a specific demographic with her… erm… puzzle-based gameplay.

Prior to the PlayStation, gaming was – arguably – not mainstream. It was generally frowned-upon externally as a hobby for the outcasts and weirdos.

The PS2 followed the original machine, and was a black brick this time round. That was allowed, because people had begun to accept gaming as a cultural phenomenon by this point.

However, as an unprecedented rise in PS2 interest took hold, the bods at Sony must have realised that the aesthetic on the PS1 needed some work. It was looking long in the tooth and was putting off potential buyers with those strong lines and puke-grey colour schemes.

Moore’s Law dictates that computers and consoles will inevitably get smaller.

Hence why Sony decided to reinvent their ‘wheel’.


From this...

They took everything back to the drawing board and worked from the ground up to provide a product that was still capable of getting the very best gaming on your TV, but also didn’t look like you had a breeze-block where your video player should have been. Yeah – look up ‘video player’ on google if you’re too young to remember.

What followed could be seen as the real take-off point of gaming as a bona-fide hobby, shirking the perception of games as being enjoyed solely by the socially inept or spotty geeks of the world (I said perception – don’t get mad).

The PSOne was sheer aesthetics. Curvy white lines – which still look contemporary in the late noughties – captivated a whole new audience as the PS2 began its own hype-storm. And while the second PlayStation started to move the notch up and up in terms of what the hardware could do, the parent console gained momentum all over again.

Skip ahead a few years to September 2004 and the PS2 is firmly on the way to becoming a generation-defining gaming masterpiece. Once more, Moore’s Law kicks the gears in motion for the reveal of a gloriously diet-tastic PS2 re-vamp.

A teeny tiny vertical footprint gave this new model a seemingly unavoidable allure. Even the flip-up lid’s presence was forgiven for the sake of size zero dimensions. Again, sales went ballistic and gaming became that little bit more ‘cool’.

Jump ahead once more to the PS3 reveal.


...To this!

Still black. New shape. Massive size. This behemoth was an awesome piece of kit, with awesome power consumption and size to match. In the booming economy, this was the equivalent of having a sports car in your front room.

The Credit Crunch hit shorty afterwards and with it came the rumours. Stories of a smaller, more sleek model designed to woo the haters and test the mettle of the most hardened critics arose.

Finally, at GC09, our wait was rewarded.

The question is, should any gamer in the know have been able to suggest what the new model would have looked like, given Sony’s track record?

In a word, yes: the design is nothing revolutionary. It doesn’t break the mould. It’s a refinement of what was already there. Just as it always has been with Sony, even with the PSP.

Check out the gallery below for images and comparisons of these machines.

What are your thoughts? Should this have been the most obvious design? Was anyone considering the possibility of a radical new design? Let us know below.

*Fugly – freakin’ ugly