PS3 Slim rumors rebuffed as price cut rumors swirl

Source: See below.What we heard: Amid the flurry of earnings reports, NPD figures, and preemptive game announcements last week, two rumors about the PlayStation 3 emerged--one credible, the other less so. The latter came in the form of a series of photos on a Chinese hardware blog of what looks...

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Source: See below.

What we heard: Amid the flurry of earnings reports, NPD figures, and preemptive game announcements last week, two rumors about the PlayStation 3 emerged--one credible, the other less so. The latter came in the form of a series of photos on a Chinese hardware blog of what looks like a new slimline 120GB PS3.

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Though they have since been removed, the shots (pictured) caused quite a stir by showing a drastically slimmer console with an even more minimalist control scheme and matte-black finish. It also featured some convincing-looking internal circuitry and packaging, replete with all the appropriate Sony logos and a new PS3 logo font.

As is their policy, Sony Computer Entertainment America reps declined to comment on the matter. However, their traditionally chattier cousins at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe had no problem telling CVG, "We currently don't have any plans for a redesigned PS3."

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If true, the SCEE statement means the device shown by the Chinese blog is the latest in a long line of Chinese game-console knockoffs, such as the now-infamous Vii.

The PS3 scuttlebutt gumbo was also stirred up last week up by CNBC, which was recently ridiculed for perceived deficiencies in its reporting of the global financial crisis. Here, though, the financial news outlet's correspondent and source are both rock-solid. Chris Morris, the well-regarded correspondent behind CNNMoney's now-defunct Game Over column, quotes none other than Sony corporate executive officer Nobuyuki Oneda.

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Oneda was speaking to reporters following Sony's earnings report, in which the electronics company posted its first annual loss since 1995. When asked about what method the company would employ to boost yearly PS3 sales 30 percent, the executive said, "Well, I think you have to guess what will be our pricing strategy."

The official story: See above.

Bogus or not bogus?: A 99.99 percent chance of not bogus that a PS3 price cut is coming sometime before March 31, 2010--the end of Sony's fiscal year. As for the slimline PS3, Sony said reduced manufacturing and shipping costs were a major factor for introducing the slimline PlayStation 2 in November 2004.

Were the company to enjoy similar savings with its current console, a cheaper PS3 would be a more palatable proposition for the cash-strapped company. Hopefully Sony's E3 2009 press conference will definitively confirm or dismiss the conjecture on the morning of June 2.

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