In a rare moment of good news for the struggling Japanese tech giant, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) enjoyed a greater than expected return on its surprising investment in renewed updates for its Playstation 3 gaming console late in the hardware's life-cycle. The recently-announced Playstation 3 ‘Super-Slim’ model helped boost sales for Sony’s video game console by 138% across the UK in its first week on the market, according to studies performed by The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) and Gfk Chart-Track, two regional industry trackers.
When the PS3 ‘Super Slim’ was first unveiled in late September, many industry analysts questioned Sony’s decision to continue focusing the efforts of its video games division on the Playstation 3 while industry competitors like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Nintendo Co. (PINK: NTDOY) were shifting attention towards next-generation products such as the Wii U, the new Xbox console, or even television-style programming. And since the PS3 ‘Super-Slim’ was only smaller in terms of physical size and not its price-tag (high-end models are actually more expensive than older PS3 versions), Sony also seemed to be making yet again its oft-repeated mistake of releasing high-powered machines without paying any mind to keeping costs down for prospective consumers.
But for once, Sony’s higher prices didn’t bother consumers. The new 500GB model, which is priced at £230 (around $370) or £250 ($400) depending on the package, made up 37 percent of all PS3s sold the week ending Sept. 28. Seeing as the new device was released just last Friday, that means the new ‘Super-Slim’ was able boost Sony’s sales by an impressive margin in just two days.
Also in Europe, the console hit a new sales point over the weekend with four million units, according to game industry site MCV. Despite downward trends globally, Sony is expecting growth in France and other European countries throughout the year as part of its plan to support the Playstation 3’s continued growth until at least 2015.
"With the overall French video games market down six per cent compared to 2011, the PS3 ecosystem is likely to be the only source of growth for the sector in 2012,” said Philippe Cardon, Sony’s Computer Entertainment (SCE) head in France, in an interview with to MCV. “We just hit 4 million PS3 sales in France and can state that the PS3 is and will remain the leading platform in 2012,” he added.
A European-only 12GB Flash memory-based Playstation 3 ‘Super-Slim’ model will also be released in the UK on October 12th. Prices are not yet finalized, but are expected to be around £180 ($290) to £200 ($325).