The new super slim PS3

Does Sony’s new PS3 release hint at the PS4′s possible arrival date?

Sony’s newly announced “smaller and lighter” PS3 brings an incremental upgrade to the aging system, but does it also hint at the PS4′s possible arrival date?

The consumer electronics giant has just announced its upgraded PS3 entertainment console – the fifth generation of the PS3 family – that’s 25% smaller than its predecessor, the PS3 Slim, and 50% smaller than the original PS3 (which, to be fair, is a beast).

Sony is scarce on specific model details though, the first of which will be available from September 28. We do know that two storage options are available; a 500GB model and a 12GB solid-state hard-drive model that’s expected to be significantly cheaper. The cheaper model can be expanded to 250GB using a dedicated external hard-drive.

Oddly, Sony has decided to switch its disc slot-loading mechanism found in all PS3 models to date with a corrugated plastic panel on the console’s surface that slides across to reveal a Slimline PS2-esque disc loader. This isn’t exactly ideal for devices that are stored neatly inside shallow television cabinets. Its top-loading mechanism also makes the new PS3 slightly louder during operation as only a thin layer of plastic sits between a spinning disc and gamers’ ears.

So how could the new PS3 possibly hint at the PS4’s arrival? Well, Sony debuted the PS2 Slim in October 2004 before introducing the PS3 in November 2006. The PS3 has been through all the incremental upgrades that gamers can take so it’s fair to assume that the next hardware upgrade from Sony will indeed be the PS4.

If the PS3 follows a similar logic, Sony will launch its next generation console in two years’ time – Autumn 2014. It’s also possible, but less likely, that Sony will follow the PS3’s almost yearly minor hardware update cycle and launch the PS4 in time for Christmas 2013.

One more interesting point about the new PS3’s release date is that it comes just before Nintendo releases its new Wii U console. This may not affect Nintendo’s sales too much but will certainly help keep the PS3 relevant during the vital Christmas sales period.

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