Infographics: The Fall and Fall of PS3 Design

A sad little inditement of my life – one of the first things I do every day as I get out of bed is check my email. My iPad sits near the bed, and so it came to be that I started my day with the news that Sony have announced yet another variant of the PS3. The Slim is dead. Long live the new Slim. It’s slimmer, lighter, and most importantly of all, costs Sony less to make.

As much as I love seeing new consoles and gadgets come out, I don’t like the way Sony have gone about updating the PS3. Long time readers will remember former Ready Up writer James Gilmour singing the praises of the old PS3 Slim when it came out, and my retaliatory article decrying his mutterings as the madness of a folically challenged lunatic. You see, when it comes to the PS3, I still firmly believe that big was best.

The original PS3 was a thing of beauty. It was sold as being piano black. Not gloss black, not cheap Fiat plastic black, but piano black. It had all the majesty and presence of a Steinway grand piano. (Granted, it almost weighed as much as one, too, but then how often do you move your PS3?) This piano theme was continued when you turned on the PS3, where you were greeted with a sound highly reminiscent of an orchestra tuning up. It felt like a valuable item. If someone tried to rob it, they’d probably get a hernia and you’d find them in agony on your living room floor. In short, it was a finely tuned instrument of gaming.

When Sony shrunk it down to the Slim, they switched out the lovely glossy finish and replaced it with a load of scratchy black plastic they (presumably) got from the glove boxes of a million scrapped Ladas. They also ditched two of the four USB ports, potentially saving themselves up to a whopping eight pence per console. Around this time, they also cut back the start up orchestra tuning up noise to a much shorter version. Presumably the budget was no longer there to hire as many musicians?

And now, the new Slim. The shine is back, but it’s not piano black. It looks more like a shiny child’s toy. And horrifically, it is now a top loader. Yep, a top loader, the preferred method of loading CDs (remember those?) into a £20 from Argos kitchen CD player. Gone is the smooth slot loading interface of the magnificent fat PS3 that somehow survived Sony’s penny pinching the first time, replaced with a mechanism that would fit right alongside all those now junked top loading CD players at your local tip. It looks cheap, and yet the asking price doesn’t appear to be any cheaper. Certainly the hard drive is one of the few things to have gotten bigger (500gb) but with the PS3’s ease of swapping those, that won’t be a selling point for existing owners.

It’ll still be a great gaming and Blu-Ray playing machine, don’t get me wrong. And for those four times a decade you move it, the lighter weight will come in handy. Based on the looks, though, I can only speculate that the orchestra tuning up sound will be gone for this model, replaced instead by an eight year old clumsily playing “The Entertainer” on a cheap Casio keyboard. And that’s what the PS3 has gone from, a Steinway grand piano to a small, compact and cheap Casio keyboard. They’ll both perform their designated task, but only one does it with style and class.







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