The Incredible Shrinking PS3 Whitehorse YT
The Incredible Shrinking PS3
February 23, 2009 By Dennis Burger
A few months ago, the unthinkable happened: my PlayStation 3 went on the fritz.
My first reaction, of course, was denial. PS3s don’t break, do they? Who ever heard of such a thing? And mine gets plenty of open airflow. Maybe it’s just a glitch—some bug in the new firmware.
A few days and a whole lot of spontaneous shutdowns later, it became obvious that I had on my hands the rarest of all birds—a Norwegian Blue PlayStation 3—so I hesitantly sent it in for repairs, all the while pleading with the techs at Sony to fix my precious machine. I didn’t want a new one. I had one of the original 60GB models with all the bells and whistles. I wanted it back, patched up as good as new.
But no amount of begging or bargaining worked. My chassis was fried. And the friendly folks at SCEA couldn’t quite figure out why I wasn’t happy with my 80GB replacement. I wouldn’t say I was angry, but I’ll admit to being a little miffed that this shiny new PS3 wouldn’t do half the things my old one would: no SACD playback (yes, I still listen to SACDs); no backward compatibility (yes, I still play the heck out of Gran Turismo 4, and the wife's all-time favorite console game is The Adventures of Cookie & Cream); two fewer USB ports (yeah, we used ‘em all); and a distinct lack of media card readers.
So I called John Koller, hardware marketing director for SCEA, to ask him why I don’t seem to have as much PlayStation 3 as I used to. “As we went through the first year to two years of the life cycle of the PS3, we started to look at what we needed to focus on for the expected ten-year life cycle of the PS3. From a cost-down perspective, we really wanted to make sure that consumers could get their hands on the PS3, and I know there’s a lot of discussion about this in the media and among consumers, but removing backward compatibility was one area we could utilize to bring costs down,” he says. “I think over the ten-year life cycle of the PS3, we’re going to be able to sell consumers a lot more PlayStation 3 titles, and as we go along in the life cycle, we’re going to see more consumers utilizing PlayStation 3 titles than they would PlayStation 2 titles. That was one area that was highlighted and chosen for cost reduction.
“We fully understand the issue of backwards compatibility is important, and it was a difficult decision on our part to remove that. We highly value the loyalty of the PlayStation 2 consumer. If you look at it, that’s a base of 49 million in North America that’s as loyal and rich a source for bringing up the PS3 curve as anything. So we don’t want to be ignorant of that. But it was part and parcel of our effort to bring the cost down on the system. And we’ve been effective in getting it down to the $399 price point for the 80GB system.
“And Super Audio CD isn’t a hugely popular area within the core demographic of the PlayStation 3, so that was another area that we utilized as a cost-down, and the media sl...