When it was first announced last week at GamesCom in Germany, the PlayStation 3 Slim was given a September 1 release date. That appears to have fallen by the wayside, though, with both brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers already offering the $299 120GB console.
Calls to several San Francisco Bay Area retailers found that not only is the PS3 currently on sale, but it's often sold out. Employees at several GameStop locations said that they had received "extremely limited stock" of the console on Tuesday, all of which were instantly scooped up by customers who had reserved a unit.
"I think Sony's probably trying to keep supply tight, so it will be in high demand like the Wii and the PS3 were at launch," one GameStop employee told GameSpot. "We had less than a week's warning it was coming. We had reserves only open for two to three days, and the shipment only had 12 to 13 consoles. We don't know when we'll be getting our next batch."
Meanwhile, GameStop's online store and Amazon.com are already listing the PS3 slim as shipping within 24 hours. Meanwhile, Best Buy's online store says the console is already back-ordered one to two weeks and not available for store pickup. However, calls to San Francisco-area Best Buy locations found that the PS3 Slim is currently both on sale and in stock. "We've got about a dozen on the store floor right now, enough to hold one if you'd like," said an employee.
For its part, Sony says that the launch date announced at GamesCom was more of a guideline for would-be purchasers. "September 1 isn't an official street date," a rep told GameSpot. "We expect most retailers to have 120GB PS3s by then."
Meanwhile, hardware hackers who have already acquired a PS3 Slim now have a step-by-step guide on how to tear it apart. The repair guide and anti-eWaste site Ifixit.com has posted a four-page, 27-step guide on how to completely disassemble the new console, which offers some insights into how Sony is cutting production costs. Besides the new 45nm-process chipset, the PS3 Slim teardown reveals the "new cooling system," which Sony Computer Entertainment America hardware marketing chief John Koller revealed last week--namely, a gigantic fan.
To see Ifixit.com's PS3 Slim teardown in action, check out the photo-montage video below: