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Will the PlayStation3 Slim revive Sony's fortunes?

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News of the PlayStation3 Slim – and a price drop on the current PS3 console – has been received in the tech press with great fanfare. And why not? For the past couple of years, Sony has been consistently and soundly beaten by its two competitors. Nintendo's Wii attracts the casual gamers; Microsoft's Xbox360 has the widest range of games. Sony is left with the hardcore players – the guys and gals for whom no gaming price tag is ever too high.

So everyone has high hopes for these price cuts. The bottom line, if you haven't been following the story thus far: Effective immediately, Sony has sliced the price of the 80 gigabyte PlayStation 3 to $299. The lighter PS3 Svelte Slim – which comes equipped with a 120 GB hard drive, will hit stores shelves on Sept. 1, for $299. (In other words, there is very little incentive to fork over the 300 bucks now for 80 gigabyte version. Sony is just trying to clear the clutter before trotting out the new model.)

It's been a rough stretch for Sony. The PlayStation3, which was released in 2006 – that year, PS3 packages sold for as much as the hefty sum of $600 – quickly lost ground to Nintendo and Microsoft. The Wii, particularly, has proved tremendously popular with younger audiences – a demographic uninterested in high-powered machines such as the PS3. According to research firm NPD Group, only 122,000 PS3 units sold in July. By comparison, Nintendo sold 252,000 Wii units, and Microsoft unloaded just shy of 203,000 Xbox 360s.


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