Daily Reaction: Who is the New PS3 For? Breaking Down the 12GB Console


With a 12GB PS3 coming to the US and Canada on the 18th for $199, Daily Reaction’s aged writers Seb and Dan debate Sony’s motives and whether anyone should buy the console.

Why is SCEA planning to release a 12GB PS3?

Seb: Sony has had an increasingly digital focus as the generation has gone on, pushing the PSN, digital downloads and PlayStation Plus, so it’s easy to see why a lot of people are confused about the paltry flash drive space.

The answer, of course, is that the console is much cheaper to make. Simple. This way, Sony can finally sell the PS3 at the coveted $199 slot, and also make a higher margin than on bigger HDD versions. This late in the gen, they’re not going to sell at a loss.

The console has been out in Europe for a while, so it must have been a success for them to bring it over. SCEA will have a relatively cheap console on store shelves in time for Christmas, something they’ve always wanted. It’s their way of getting more price conscious/poorer gamers/gamers’ parents to buy a PS3. It’s their foot in that door. After that, they’ll then try to sell you the pieces to make the machine work fully.

Dan: Precisely, the reason behind the 12GB flash model is simply to cut costs and be price competitive. Microsoft has had a much cheaper variant on the market since it first launched as a method to pull in the more budget minded consumer. Starting with the Xbox 360 Core, a bundle that launched alongside the original console without any HDD or internal memory, we then got the Xbox 360 Arcade that only used a 512mb memory card. Both of which have since been discontinued.

Now that Microsoft has the Xbox 360 S 4GB model, which also uses internal flash memory, it would only make sense for Sony to combat the move to undercut them and finally produce a comparable budget line to compete.

With the impending launch of the next generation of platforms, the ability to advertise a cheaper alternative is going to be all the more captivating and it seems that both manufacturers aren’t going to let the opportunity slip by.

Should people buy the 12 GB PS3?

Dan: Well, this is obviously a question that is going to be circumstantial, depending on what you are looking for out of your newly purchased piece of hardware. If you are a hardcore gamer that spends a great deal of time on your gaming machine, then no, you should run to something with as big of a hard drive as possible. Twelve gigs of memory might be enough to install a few downloadable titles, or maybe a full retail game (not all), but you will still have to waste a lot of time playing file manager. This does also not account for patches, updates and DLC that you might need or want to fully enjoy your experience.

Although, if you are not a hardcore gamer and realistically just want to have a device to watch Netflix on with the added on capability to play Call of Duty: This Year Edition, then it might make more sense for you to skim on the extras. Just remember that, after installing the game data, which is about 2GB, if you are looking to pick up all 3 of the DLC packs, each one is also about 2GB in size – meaning you already using up more than half of your available memory for a single disc based product.

Seb: Dan’s being too generous. This is a terrible device. Look, there’s only one reason why you should buy this: if you plan on using a very large HDD and you’ve worked out that the cost of the 12GB PS3 + HDD mounting case (probably $15) + HDD is cheaper than getting a proper PS3 + HDD. That’s fine.

The problem is that this device clearly isn’t targeted at that specific, tech-orientated audience. It’s targeted at the uniformed, the confused and the stupid. This is Sony’s way of getting a $199 console out at a profit, no matter what. With large installs – GTA V’s 8GB, Gran Turismo’s 10GBs – patches, DLC and the rest, this is not a practical device for even the most casual of gamers.

As for Netflix – you can pick up a Chromecast for $35, and it’ll do that for you. And you can pick up cheaper Blu-ray players than this PS3.

The majority of the people that buy this won’t know that it’s a kneecapped device, with a lot of them being parents, or inexperienced players. Most of them will be forced to buy Sony’s HDD mount, and a HDD, and then have to face installing the drive. It’s a sandwich where you have to buy the second slice separately.

Now I know some of our readers will want to rush to the comments to say “Microsoft does it too! So Sony’s allowed to do it”. No. Two wrongs don’t make a right (plus the 360 has fewer installs). Both budget ranges are distasteful affairs where products that aren’t fully functional are being sold as complete devices, with only tiny writing and an asterisk serving as a warning to shoppers. This is the Vita coming without a memory stick all over again.

Oh and the bigger PS3 is only moderately more expensive, so you might as well buy that.

Just skip this thing.

What could they have done to make it better?

Seb: If I had a time machine and worked at Sony, these would have been my only options:

  1. Not make it.
  2. Bring back the just about large enough 40-60GB versions.
  3. Make it, but without any HDD or flash drive at all, with a clear explanation saying you can pick your own drive.
  4. Make it, but with a clear explanation saying that you’re getting ripped off.

Take your pick.

Dan: Unlike Seb, I don’t think there is no real purpose behind the 12GB model, but I do agree that it is almost pointless for the majority of people looking to actually use the console. Anyone who is looking to play more than one game a year will find the system extremely cumbersome – and all for the ability to save a negligible amount of money.

So, to improve the utility of the device it would make sense to simply up the amount of flash memory included in the PS3. It really makes no sense as to why 12GB is being used, when we are seeing USB cards being given out for free with as much as 8GB available on them. This of course doesn’t take into account the different costs of NAND (memory) as the type used in consoles could be 8 to 10 times the cost of that used in USB cards. The real issue is the growing size for standard files means that, for Sony to only use such a small amount, it shows that they calculated the bare minimum needed to operate the console and no more, to keep costs down.

Besides the usage of flash, I personally would have switched over to a Solid State Drive or SSD, that would have improved read/write speeds drastically, but that would negatively affect the price cut Sony was looking for.

Ultimately, the 12GB is not for anyone who is reading this, as you are already investing more time than anyone who would find this product useful, so just don’t buy it if you’re not going to upgrade it.

What do you think of the 12 gigger? Are we being too harsh? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, email us 12 gigs of animal pictures to [email protected] and get us 12 new followers by stalking us at Seb and Dan.

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