New PS3 Slim and price cut on the horizon; can push the PS3 past the Xbox 360

There's a current rumor going around that Sony is going to announce a new PS3 slim (PS3-4000) that'll be thinner than current PlayStation 3 models, in addition to having an entry-level 16GB harddrive. At a rumoured price of $150, a slimmer, lower storage model would be more affordable to more consumers, specifically budget-conscious ones that have yet to purchase a PS3.

It's yet to be known if this new PS3 slim will be announced at Gamescom next month, but Microsoft won't have a presence there, so it would be the perfect time to capture the spotlight. How will a cheaper PS3 affect the industry, and more importantly, the strategy of Microsoft moving forward? According to M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon, he said to GamesIndustry International:

A dramatic price reduction to $150 for PS3 would be terrific for Sony and for the industry overall. A value-priced PS3 could rapidly increase the base and would free up more consumer revenue for higher software sales volume. Sony already has a strong edge in Europe, but the economy is weak and generous hardware price cuts will have big impact. Microsoft would suffer deeper market share loss in europe and with value pricing PS3 could outsell Xbox 360 in the U.S. where Microsoft has dominated monthly hardware sales.

He goes on to say that "Microsoft is less likely to reduce console prices this year with already strong hardware sales and Halo 4 coming out in Q4, but should Sony price PS3 at $150 this year, Microsoft could see stronger incentive to cut Xbox 360 prices sooner in retaliation."

sony ps3 slim 16gb

With big titles like Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us waiting in the wings, an entry level PS3 would be a perfect way for consumers to get their hands on some of the best titles coming out this year. More specifically, it could become the big seller and beat out Microsoft for console sales this holiday season. The Wii U is also out there for Sony to compete with, making a cheaper PS3 even more logical.

What does this mean for the timetable of the PlayStation 4? Well, if Sony sees an increase in sales with an entry-level PS3 slim, it could buy them til 2014 for an expected PlayStation 4 release. Yea, people are already clamoring for one now, but I'm still a firm supporter of waiting for as close to the 10-year generation lifespan as possible. There's plenty of more life left in the PlayStation 3, and this $150 model could be the way to get it into more people's hands.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ

[Image via Technoblog]