Sony's executive VP of technology Masayuki Chatani spoke with Japanese newspaper Nikkei about the challenges of designing a slimmer PS3. The goal was not only to cut costs, but to expand its attractiveness to "an even wider range of users." Considering the Japanese penchant for small electronics, the original PS3's girth was certainly a limiting factor.
However, certain sacrifices would have been necessary for Sony to pursue an even smaller box. One option was to place "the power supply on the outside," much like Microsoft's Xbox 360 power brick. Taking yet another page from Microsoft, an even more drastic option considered was to remove the hard drive altogether. The alternatives -- Flash memory or virtual network storage -- proved to be too expensive, and too unreliable. Ultimately, the Sony team chose function over form. "One of the best features of the PS3 is that people can download games to the internal local storage unit and play comfortably." That reminds us -- we need a bigger couch.