Sony finally took the veil off those new PS3 models that have been hearing so much rumors about at the Tokyo Game Show 2012. As it turns out, the 12GB SSD model is exclusive to the European market initially.
Outside of the new PS3 models, Sony also announced two new colours for the PS Vita, a launch month for the PlayStation Plus service on PS Vita, and a new price point for the PSP.
Whew, that's a whole lot of PlayStation to detail. Let's get started, shall we?
New PlayStation 3 models
The new PS3s are not only slimmer than the current slew of PS3 Slims, but also lighter by over 20% (50% when compared to the original PS3 60GB version launched in November 2006).
Three models of the new PS3 will be released this year – 250GB and 500GB HDD configurations, as well as a 12GB SSD model that will be launched only in Europe initially. Here are the recommended retail prices and release dates for the new models in Japan, US, and Europe. No concrete information on price or availability has been announced for Asia yet.
All three models are offered in two colours: charcoal black and classic white.
For a limited time beginning November 22, Sony will also be offering a PS3 "starter pack" in Japan that bundles a copy of Everybody's Golf 6 (also known as "Minna no Golf 6") with a PS3 250GB in your choice of colour. The starter pack carries a recommended retail price of 25,980 yen (including tax).
PlayStation Vita announcements
Two new colours for the PS Vita – "Cosmic Red" and "Cypher Blue" – will be available in Japan from November 15, 2012. Both the 3G/Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi only models will come in the new colours.
Like the existing Crystal Black and Crystal White units, Cosmic Red and Cypher Blue PS Vita models will be priced at 29,980 yen for a 3G/Wi-Fi unit, and 25,980 for the Wi-Fi only configuration. Prices in other regions – when the Cosmic Red and Cypher Blue models make their way over from Japan – should be identical to the existing PS Vita price point.
A "Reader" app will be released free for the PS Vita in the middle of October. Through the app and Sony's "Reader Store", PS Vita users in Japan will be able to access over 3,000 comics. No word yet on if the Reader app and content will be available in regions outside of Japan.
PlayStation Plus on PS Vita
Sony also announced that its PlayStation Plus programme will come to the PS Vita in November 2012.
PlayStation Plus is a subscription-based membership programme that gives users free games every month (that you can access and play as long as you stay subscribed to PS Plus), hour-long trials of full retail games, as well as other benefits such as online game saves and automatic system updates.
If you already have a PlayStation Plus subscription on the PS3, your existing subscription will be valid for the Vita as well.
Outside of free games and game trials, PlayStation Plus on the Vita will feature:
Online game saves – members will be able to automatically or manually upload game save files for compatible games to the Cloud. Up to 1GB of storage has been allocated for save files on each PlaySTation Network user's account.
Automatic content downloads and updates – the PS Vita will automatically download game demos and game updates, as well as Vita firmware updates, so that you won't have to wait the next time you pick up your Vita to play.
Automatic Trophy sync – currently PS Vita users have to manually access the "Trophies" app to sync their unlocked game trophies to their account online. With PS Plus, the VIta will automatically start up at a designated time to sync Trophy information instead.
PSP price drop
Not much to say here, except that the existing PSP model will now be priced at 13,800 (PSP only, ~US$177), while PSP value packs (which comes with a pouch and other accessories) will be sold for 14,800 yen (~US$189).