Today at their press conference during the GamesCom 2009 event, Sony has announced the long hyped Slim PS3, along with across the board price cuts on current models, a PlayStation Network update and the addition of Firmware 3.0.
The price cuts are $100 USD on current models, including 160GB bundles and will be effective in North America as of tomorrow and already effective in the EU.
Firmware upgrade 3.0, set for a September release, will include a lot of aesthetic changes to the XMB as well as the addition of "What’s New, Status Indicator, Friends List, PlayStation Store Shortcuts, Personalization and improved Trophies."
For more information on the upcoming firmware upgrade, watch the official Sony video on it:
The real big news for the day however, was the launch of the oft-rumored Slim PlayStation 3. The new model will include a 120GB HDD and will launch on September 1st with a pricetag of $299 USD/ 299 EU/ £249 / 29,980 YEN.
The Slim will feature a 32 percent smaller and 36 percent lighter form factor and will also consume 34 percent less power. Notably, the Slim removes the otherOS ability (addition of Linux on partition) but adds Bravia Sync so users can control the PS3 via their Sony HDTV.
Beginning October 1st, Sony will be launching PSP Minis, small games (100MB and under), that looks like direct competition to Apple and iPhone App Store. Sony says their will be 50 titles available by the end of the year.
Additionally, the PSP will get a "Digital Reader" by December, that will allow users to read comic books on their handheld from Marvel.
Pic via Gamespot:
Video on Demand
Finally, Sony announced the launch of a Video on Demand service for the PS3, which will allow gamers in France, Germany, Spain and the UK to download movies straight to their console or handheld.
The service will go live in November with content from 20th Century Fox, Disney-ABC-ESPN Television1, Lionsgate2, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Starz Media2, Universal2, and Warner Bros.
Some of the titles available at launch will be Angels and Demons; Bruno; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Crank 2; The Dark Knight; Dead Space: Downfall; Gran Torino; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; National Treasure; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Public Enemies; Star Trek; Terminator Salvation; Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen; Valkyrie; and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Renters have 14 days to watch the film, and 24 hours to complete watching the film once they have started it.
“PlayStation is becoming the home of entertainment from games to music channels, from creative platforms to virtual pets,” added Andrew House, President and CEO, SCEE. “The addition of the PlayStation Network video delivery service for PS3 and PSP provides a simple way for PlayStation owners to access movie content and enjoy the latest blockbuster whenever and wherever they choose.”
To make buying movies easier, Sony has also launched PSN voucher cards, in €20 and €50 denominations, making it easier for gamers without credit cards to enjoy the services.