For months we’ve been hearing rumors that Sony intended to once again slim-down the PS3 console case design – while at the same time increasing available space on the HDD.

Now, at the 2012 Tokyo Game Show (TGS), the hardware developer has finally revealed their new ultra slim PS3 – which sports a 20% smaller and 25% lighter design than the already “Slim” PS3 model. The new console will also feature the rumored HDD capacity bumps – 250GB and 500GB models that increase the value of each PS3 SKU.

Unfortunately, the added affordability is reliant on the less bulky form factor and larger HDDs, not a price drop, as the amount of money that potential players will have to dish out for one of the new consoles has actually increased slightly, for the time being, in the lower-cost 250GB model – priced at $269.99 (versus the current 160GB model at $249.99). Despite a $20.00 increase in price, the $269.99 package does offer a better value than its predecessor – since the SKU will include a bigger HDD, the Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception: Game of the Year Edition and “a voucher for more than $30 worth of bonus digital content” for Sony’s DUST 514 exclusive.

PS3 Ultra Slim 250GB Uncharted 3

The price will remain the same for the premium package 500GB limited edition Assassin’s Creed 3 bundle at $299.99 (versus the current 320GB Madden ’12 bundle at $299.99).

Still, for casual players who are less informed about console life cycles, next-gen experiences, online gaming, as well as digital content, among many other deciding factors, and are merely comparing the prices between the base model consoles – a $269.99 PS3 bundle might get lost in the shuffle of brand new hardware (Wii U at $299.99) and lower cost hardware (Xbox 360 at $199.99) even if it does actually offer a very compelling value (especially considering the Blu-ray player and free online gaming).

Of course, including the new 250GB model in a bundle at a higher price still positions Sony’s console below the cost of the (mostly) comparable Xbox 360 250GB bundle SKU at $299.99. Meaning that unless consumers are dead-set on an Xbox 360 or don’t realize that they’ll likely need more than Microsoft’s bare bones $199.99 4GB model in the long run (ask anyone who couldn’t play Halo: Reach co-op), the PS3 could now become a preferable option for potential budget conscious gamers. It’s a long term pricing strategy that we’ve seen Sony succeed with before – given ten years and counting sales of PS2 systems. As a result, expect Sony to lower the cost of the new model (especially without the Uncharted 3 bundle option) to $199.99 in the not too distant future – in addition to further price drops down the line.

PS3 Ultra Slim 500GB Assassins Creed 3

The new design is the best looking PS3 model to date – ditching the black on black design of prior hardware for a slick textured finish that will definitely be a draw for buyers who don’t want their game system to stand out too much from other home theater components.

New PS3 buyers, or players looking to buy a new PS3, can get their hands on the $269.99 250GB bundle on September 25th or wait for the $299.99 500GB limited edition Assassin’s Creed 3 bundle alongside the launch of that titular game on October 30th.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on the PS3 as well as other movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Sony