Why a $150 'super slim' PS3 needs to release this year

Sony has yet to confirm the existence of the CECH-4000 model PS3. Leaked a few weeks ago, the revised system has been dubbed the "super slim" by many, thanks to its even-smaller form factor. Curiously, one of the proposed models of the 4000 series will have only 16GB of onboard storage, leaving many believing a budget-oriented PS3 model is in the works.

Microsoft has been aggressively trying to capture the budget market with its 4GB system and subsidized subscription model. It's likely that these offerings are a large part of Microsoft's continued first-place performance in the console space. "The entry level SKU represents about 20 percent of Xbox 360 sales," EEDAR's Jesse Divnich pointed out.

While the latest rumor suggests that Sony is not ready to announce a budget super-slim at Gamescom, it's imperative for Sony to release the rumored system by year's end. One reason? It would help dampen excitement for Nintendo's new console, Wii U. Not only will a budget model "put more pressure on the Wii U," Lewis Ward of IDC Research told GI.biz, but it might even help Sony "push the PS4 launch window back to late 2014." Sony has already gone on record saying it doesn't necessarily want to be "first" in the next-gen race.

Microsoft's continued success with the Xbox 360 also gives Sony all the more reason to release a budget-minded PS3. "Microsoft is less likely to reduce console prices this year with already strong hardware sales and Halo 4 coming out in Q4," M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon pointed out. With Xbox keeping its price, a budget PS3 might seem like that much more of an attractive option when the holiday shopping season rolls around.