It's Official: SONY PLAYSTATION 3 SLIM: $299

Official: SONY PS3 SLIM $299
Official: SONY PS3 SLIM $299
Official: SONY PS3 SLIM $299
Image Courtesy SCEA

Sony finally officially revealed one of the worst kept secrets in gaming today at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Kicking off their presence at the convention with a massive press event, they unveiled the newest version of the PlayStation 3 gaming console, the PS3 Slim.

The Slim has the same base functionality as the original model, using a Blu-ray lens to read high-capacity discs in high definition.  The design, as implied by the name, is significantly thinner, about 33% so, and includes a 120gb Hard Drive.

The perhaps, ahem, bigger announcement was the slimming down of the cost of the PS3. The new model will retail for US $299, 299 Euros, or 29980 yen. It comes out the first week of September, but the current PlayStation 3 cuts down to $299 tomorrow, for impatient gamers.

In addition to the PS3 hardware news, the PlayStation Network is getting some changes, many of them internationally. The PSN in general will have a new look come September 1st. The new look will include shortcuts to specific sections of the PSN Store, a slightly changed interface for the friends list, and easier, more prominent display of Trophies, the in-game earned modern scoreboards. The UK is getting a BBC iPlayer channel, along with several other streaming video options. PSN cards are coming to UK retailers as well, so British gamers won't have to use a credit card to make PSN purchases. PAL territories will also be getting the full video download service soon.

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As we reported on Blog@ when it broke, Marvel will be the first partner to bring digital comics to the PSP's new comic reader. The reader will have an autoflow mode, allowing readers a hands-off approach as the panels stream by. They haven't given full details about the service yet, but it will be available in North America and the UK this December. "Hundreds" of Marvel Comics will be ready at launch, and other publishers will be announced soon.

The PSP stayed in the spotlight, as a new micro-game section will be coming to the PSN Store, with games under 1MB in size. Tetris was used as an example of a game PSP owners can look forward to in the new section.

The PSP 3000, the current model, will be getting a few new colors: green, pink, and purple. However, folks in Europe have more incentive to buy the new UMD-Drive-less PSP Go when it launches; they'll be able to download Gran Turismo PSP for free if they purchase and register their PSP between October 1 and 10, 2009.

We will update with images of the new PlayStation 3 Slim as we receive them

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