Sony answers our questions about the new PlayStation 3

Sony answers our questions about the new PlayStation 3
By Ben Kuchera
The redesigned PS3 hardware has been announced, and you have a ton of questions. We caught up with Sony’s John Koller for answers. What did we find out? There will be a small power brick, this is the new PS3 logo, and the PS3 “Fat” is on the way out. Read on for the dirt on the new face of the PS3.

With the official announcement of the newly redesigned PS3 out of the way, John Koller, Sony’s director of hardware marketing, sat down with us for a few minutes to answer our—and your—pressing questions about the hardware. Can you still change out your hard drive? Will there be a power brick? Let’s find out.

Is this the standard system moving forward?

“This will be the hardware moving forward,” Koller told Ars. “Right now with the 80GB we’re selling down inventory, and this will replace that model.” The 160GB system was always intended to be a limited-time deal. And if you want to buy right now, go ahead—Koller told us the price drop on systems on the store shelves now is effective immediately. We went to the phones to check on that, and most GameStops in our area were not aware there was a price drop in place.

The point is made, though. This isn’t a slimmed-down model, or something that is going to be sitting next to the older systems for long. This is the new face of the PS3, and will soon be the only hardware configuration available at retail.

Can you still upgrade the hard drive?

“Yes, you can. It does not void your warranty. In fact, we encourage it,” Koller told us. He explained that the drive is now located on the front of the system, not the side, and changing out your hard drive will still be easy. “It’s a two-screw process,” he explained.

Don’t worry about being stuck with “just” an 80GB hard drive. The ability to install your own hard drive is still there, and Koller seemed enthusiastic about people modifying their systems in this way.

Will there be a power brick?

“This is a new power cable; it uses a third less power.” Koller answered. He then listed the three big changes made to the hardware: the power consumption has been decreased, the cooling system has been redesigned, and the Cell processor has moved from a 65nm process to a 45nm process.

He also told us that there will be a power brick, although we can expect it to be small. He laughs when I ask about the power brick’s size in relation to the 360’s power supply. “It’s nothing like that,” he assured Ars. There will also no longer be a power button on the back of the hardware; it has instead been moved to the front. [Update: after watching a few unboxing videos, it actually doesn’t look like they’ll be a power brick. There must have been some confusion on this question.]

Why was the ability to install Linux removed from the system?

“There are a couple of reasons. We felt we wanted to move forward with the OS we have now. If anyone wants to use previous models and change the OS, they can do so.” Koller said. “We wanted to standardize our OS.”

Do we need to stop yapping about backwards compatibility?

“It’s not coming back, so let me put that on the table,” Koller says with an air of finality. But it’s all people ever talk about!

“It’s not as big as a purchase intent driver as you may be hearing,” he claimed. “We’ve got such a substantial lineup of titles on the PS3; most people are buying the PS3 for PS3 games. They’ve buying it for PS3 games and Blu-ray movies.”

“That won’t be returning,” he repeats.

How many logos does one system need?

There is the multicolored logo that has been with the PlayStation since the first system, the logo that even Koller referred to as the “Spider-Man Logo,” and the new PS3 logo seen on the top of the new system. So which one should we be paying attention to?

“We’re in the process of replacing the Spider-Man font to the PS3 logo. [The new design] will be the logo moving forward, that will be in place on the hardware and peripherals and software, starting with Uncharted 2.”

The older PS logo on the front of the system has been changed from the multicolored design to silver. Koller says that decision was made to standardize the logo across all the territories the PS3 is sold.

Will Kmart be punished?

Koller laughs at the question. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” he said. “We value all our retail partners. They just got a little excited.”

Sony is likewise clearly excited about the new design of the system and the price drop. “We expect a material and substantial increase in sales and purchase intent,” Koller told us. Is a $300 system with a smaller design enough to get gamers excited about the PS3? We’ll see, starting in September.

ahah… new slim ps3.. with price cut – sure many will finally join the clan.. but together with price cut, a cost downed unit. my biggest concern would be the loss of Linux compatibility. to most might not think this is essential, but to those who wanted a next-gen console that serves multi-purpose usability, linux gives this. with the exclusion of linux in this slim ps3, we might see lesser support for PS3 linux users. that’s bad for some of us here.. apart from that, a matte black console? i bet the shiny ones looks more exclusive there.. what else was cut down in this new ps3? let’s just wait till someone bought it and disect the thing.. article stolen from ars technica.

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