Sony is set to make a number of important PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable announcements at GamesCom later tonight, with the rumour mill suggesting that we should finally hear the official line on the PS3 Slim, price-cuts of the current PS3 models and the launch of a movie download service for the console in the UK.
TechRadar has it on good authority from one UK games industry source that the PS3 Slim will be releasing in the UK on Friday 11 September. Additionally, a number of US retailers - including Kmart and Sears - are already taking pre-orders for a $300 (£180) PS3 Slim that includes a Blu-ray player, 120GB hard disk, DualShock3 controller, and HDMI output with 1080p support.
"There are around 150,000 PlayStation 3s still out there in the UK retail channel and, with retailers such as Asda already starting to discount, it should take around two weeks for that stock to be sold," estimated TechRadar's source.
"Which means that the retail stock levels should be sufficiently run down in order for Sony to introduce the PS3 Slim on September 11."
Official announcement imminent
Of course, we will have to wait until the official announcements are made at GamesCom later this evening before we can confirm anything more on the PS3 Slim pricing and release dates.
Andy Kelly, deputy editor over on PSM3 magazine told TechRadar: "If indeed the 'slim' PS3 is revealed at GamesCom, it'll be less an 'announcement' and more a confirmation of rumours that have been circulating online for months now – much like the motion controllers were at E3. It seems Sony are incapable of keeping secrets. But they could surprise us with a significant price drop…"
It should also be noted that, despite a slew of 'confirmations' from unnamed industry sources in the last week, Sony has remained as tight-lipped as ever about plans for the PS3 Slim.
Finally, it looks like consumers are set to see some heavy discounting of the current PS3 stock over the next few weeks, with UK supermarket ASDA already selling a PS3 bundle – including an 80GB PS3, Terminator Salvation game, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Blu-ray film and either Ghostbusters: The Game or inFamous at "a new low price" of £250.
Stay tuned for all the official news from Sony's GamesCom conference later this evening at 5-7pm GMT.