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Who will buy the slimmer PS2?

Feature: Aren't there more PS2s than humans nowadays?

We don't know a single person that doesn't either own a PS2, or did own one and has relegated it to eBay to make space for a shiny current-gen console. Yet not only is the PS2 still selling, Sony is about to release yet another iteration of the machine. But who is going to buy it?

Having shaved a few more grams off the already wafer-thin PS2, Sony will launch an even smaller version of the seven-year-old console in Japan this year, with the European launch expected to follow in the first quarter of 2008.

Sony has managed to squeeze the previously external power supply into the slender body of the new ultra-slim PS2, while still keeping the total unit weight down to just 720 grams, and it will cost 16,000 Yen (£66) when it hits stores in Japan on November 22.

With its latest powerhouse the PS3 not quite up to speed yet, the somewhat surprise release of the new PS2 is said to be a move by Sony to compete with Nintendo's high-flying Wii going into the Christmas period, and bag Sony some much-needed cash considering its relatively low production cost.

But who's going to rush out for a PS2 in Christmas 2007, when the current consoles on the market are at a high with countless newly-released AAA titles as incentives to update?

We won't. But there are people out there - people who wouldn't mind the odd Street Fighter bout, Guitar Hero session or SingStar party - who aren't serious gamers that'll slam three-figure sums of cash down on a console. For those people, even the £180 Wii is not worth the investment.

Then there are the really young nippers whose parents choose not to spend big bucks on advanced technology for little Jonny to drop, throw and generally mistreat.

For those guys, the PS2 is like the equivalent naff monochrome LCD games our parents bought for us from Argos before they trusted us with a £130 Super NES. Or those crap, 100-in-one Atari rip-off units. We had all that. We'd have been over the moon with a 'the cheap option' PS2, even if our Wii-owning mates would have laughed at us at school.

Maybe we're reaching an age where a lower powered, cheaper console fills a void for potential gamers that don't take the scene serious enough to spend hundreds of pounds on the newest consoles. Maybe the old machines no-longer need to be banished to second-hand shelves and development canned outright.

Think about the PC crowd. The are the stupidly high-end graphics cards that cost as many pounds as the polygons they can churn through, and there are budget cards that people who just fancy a quick blast on Quake III Arena, or a play through Half Life 2, will buy. There's a market for budget GPUs, or budget gaming PCs, why not for budget consoles?

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