TOKYO — Sony has revised the PlayStation 3 again, reducing it in size but increasing its price tag in the United States.
The electronics giant revealed the new, thinner model of the company’s flagship game console at a press briefing in Tokyo on Wednesday. While prices remain unchanged in Japan, U.S. customers will have to spend $270 for the 250GB model when it launches on September 25 with a bundled copy of the Uncharted 3 game. The cheapest “slim” model costs $250 now.
The 500GB model, which debuts in the U.S. on October 30, will cost $300.
Sony’s new PlayStation 3 comes in two colors, Charcoal Black and Classic White. Sony says it is 50 percent lighter and smaller than the original PlayStation 3 that launched in 2006 for $600, and about 25 percent less bulky than the “slim” model introduced in 2009.
The redesigned PS3 comes hot on the heels of Nintendo’s announcement of its release date and pricing for the Wii U console, which it will ship later this year. At 25,000 yen, Sony’s PS3 will be about the same price as a basic Wii U set in Japan.
The new hardware reveal led off an afternoon of announcements from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan president Hiroshi Kawano targeting the Japanese market. He showed off two new colors for the PlayStation Vita, Cosmic Red and Sapphire Blue, both due out in Japan on November 15.
The good news is that Kawano also announced a surprise price drop. The bad news is that it was for the PSP. The nine-year-old portable console, which often outsells its successor Vita, will drop from 16,800 yen (about $212) to 13,800 yen ($174) on September 20.
To highlight the Vita’s expanding media offerings, Kawano demonstrated a new Japanese comic-reading app due out this October. He selected a book from a virtual shelf, used his fingers to flip the pages, and pressed buttons to zoom in and jump from panel to panel. Holding the Vita upright flips the display accordingly.
Later, Sony invited veteran developer Keiji Inafune out to talk about his new “super magic action battle game” Soul Sacrifice for PlayStation Vita. Inafune apologized and revealed the game had been delayed until the spring of 2013, but said that a playable demo would be coming to Japan this winter.
Soul Sacrifice will be a major feature at the Sony booth at the Tokyo Game Show this week. Kawano said that there would be 20 demo units dedicated to showing the game.
Other software announcements included trailers for God Eater 2 (Namco Bandai’s take on the Monster Hunter series), Gundam Breaker (the latest in a long line of robot combat games, and Toukiden (an original action game steeped in Japanese mythology).
All of these titles will be coming to both PSP and Vita and will include cross-platform multiplayer, so users can play with friends regardless of which version they own.
Sony also said that its “PS Plus” premium online service will be coming to PlayStation Vita in November.