There’s something to be said about stair-stepping development, especially when it comes to consumer entertainment-related goods. Even in the days before digital electronics you’d see a company release a product only to either revise or overhaul the entire design a short time later in order to make it smaller, sturdier or perhaps more efficient. In this respect things haven’t really changed all that much in terms of the way business is done; after all, people still want to get the maximum bang for their buck and will always be interested in design improvements for some of their favorite devices.
The various PlayStation consoles are certainly not immune to this phenomenon; in fact, they’re perhaps a shining example of an evolving product line. However, the PlayStation franchise isn’t just developing in terms of its iterations (meaning its major console releases) it’s also always moving forward on an individual basis as well. For example, each and every console that’s been released thus far, including the Vita, PS1, PS2, and PS3 has been upgraded and “slimmed down” around 4 years or so after the unveiling of their “mach 1” models.
Why does Sony put such effort into altering their basic console designs, especially when they’re incredibly successful as is, you ask? Simply put, Sony is the sort of corporation that loves to keep improving and tweaking their product line. Now, for some businesses, the notion of re-releasing a mega-successful consumer electronics device just because you’ve made some improvements might seem like a bad or even slightly dangerous idea. Not for Sony though; they’ve been able to create gaming consoles which not only have staying power, sometimes remaining relevant for years beyond what anyone thought possible (i.e. – the PS2), but also “value”. In other words, just when the sales of one of their consoles starts to drop a bit after a few years they tend to do a complete redesign, packaging the new unit as a “slim” model (and please pardon the pun, but who doesn’t like “slim models”, eh?).
Anyway, before we start to dissect the information that’s floating around about a potential PS4 slim model, let’s take a trip down memory lane and identify some of the distinguishing characteristics of previous slim designs. Six years after the original PlayStation was released, the PSone hit store shelves (and in tandem with that of the PS2 as well). This newly redesigned console was not only significantly smaller and lighter than its predecessor; it also managed to outsell the PS2 that year.
Eventually the PS2 eclipsed the PS1 in sales and even went on to become what many consider to be the most popular and successful video game console in history (up to this point, anyway). But don’t think for a second that Sony wouldn’t apply their very successful strategy toward the PS2 as they have with the PS1 – 4 years after the release of the PS2, the PS2 Slimline was released. In short, the slimline model is basically a major improvement in almost every way imaginable, it’s smaller, quieter, lighter and even featured an integrated modem. It was a definitive improvement over their previous model, to be sure.
Of course everything changed once again when the high-powered PS3 rocked the gaming world with its 7th generation graphics. The original PS3, while still appealing and sleek, was a tad bit bulky and perhaps lax in terms of its offered hard drive space. The redesigned PS3 slim model, which came only a short 3 years after the initial release, improved upon certain facets. The PS3 Slim was 33% smaller, 36% lighter and of course, tended to consume 34% to 45% less power. By all measured accounts, this new rebranded console was a staggering improvement over the launch day model. In fact, it’s often touted that the PS3 slim sold over 1 million units in its first 3 weeks after being released.
This of course brings us to the main event, which is the PS4 and its concurrent slim model which fans are already creating photoshopped mock-ups for. Needless to say, all signs point toward the PS4 slim being even smaller than many might be expecting. Moreover, aside from the drop in size, we’ll likely also see the obligatory plunge in price as well. If you follow the slim model release trend which is stated above, you’ll notice right away that we it would seem that releases are becoming more exaggerated. For instance, while the PS2 slimline model hit the store shelves 4 years after the initial launch, the PS3 slim model came in just 3 years. In other words, it’s probably safe to assume that we will see the PS4 slim dropping in (or under) 3 years. Of course this is all pure speculation, but you’re likely to see the PS4 design shrink considerably while dropping in price and perhaps even adding a new feature here or there. In fact, a lot of people are so “amped up” about a potential PS4 slim that they’re willing to wait for it! So, just how small, you ask? At least as tiny as the PS3 slim, but maybe even smaller…