It seems Sony is trying to squeeze a little more life out of the PS3 before launching the next generation of the gaming device.
New red and blue versions of the PS3 Super Slim console will go on sale across the UK and Europe on February 15.
Sony are calling the new gizmos Garnet Red and Azurite Blue. They will come with a generous 500GB of storage and two DualShock controllers which will be colour matched. The consoles feature top-loading disc drives and are 25 per cent smaller and 20 per cent lighter compared to PlayStation’s previous slim model. When the superslim version first went on sale, it boosted PS3 sales by a staggering 138 per cent, so Sony will be hoping the new hues give sales fresh impetus.
While the two new limited edition consoles will be available to pre-order for £249.99 from Amazon.co.uk, gamers in the US will get a white version of the PS3 which will come with one controller and a year-long subscription to PlayStation Plus. Previously, the blue and red versions were only available for the Japanese market, having gone on sale there on November 17 last year.
With many experts predicting that Sony will announce the PS4 before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in June, the PS3 paint job is seen by analysts as a bid by Sony to give its six-year-old console a last hurrah.
But, Sony clearly thinks the PS3 has plenty of life left in it yet. In a statement, the Japanese firm said: “This year, PlayStation 3 continues to grow from strength to strength with a huge line up of exclusive AAA titles and brand new franchises including The Last of Us, Beyond and Puppeteer.”
And indeed, sales are certainly still going strong for the PS3, which passed the five million mark for units sold in the UK in October last year.
The move comes amid continuing rumours that Sony is gearing up to launch the PS4, codenamed Orbis, possibly as soon as May.
Latest suggestions about the PS3’s successor are that the DualShock controller will be scrapped and the new device will be 50 per cent more powerful than Microsoft’s next Xbox.
Strong indications are that both Sony and Microsoft will run their own events this spring, possibly in March, to announce their latest gizmos. They are both then set to be shown off in more detail at the E3 exhibition. This strategy would give both companies the chance to make their own headlines first, rather than be swallowed up in the raft of news which is bound to come from the Los Angeles event.
Most analysts believe both Sony and Microsoft will release their next generation consoles in time to feature on Christmas 2013 lists to Santa. It remains to be seen whether consumers will snap up the new red and blue versions or whether they will simply wait to the end of the year when they can upgrade their console.