Sony PlayStation 3 'Slim' games consoleTo no one's huge surprise, Sony has launched a thinner version of its PlayStation 3 games console. The Playstation One and Playstation 2 both had thinner versions, so the long-rumoured 'PS3 Slim' was always a good bet.

Sony officially unveiled the new model at Gamescon in Germany yesterday. Sony's Playstation website describes Gamescon as the most important gaming event in Europe.

The new model PS3, onsale from 1 September, will have an increased storage capacity of 120GB (up from 80GB) and will cost £249.99.

From today, the existing 80GB PS3 model gets a price reduction and will also cost £249.99.

Sony says it has been able to come up with the slimmed-down remodelled PS3 by completely re-engineering the internal hardware. The processor, power supply and cooling mechanism have all been rethought, resulting in a model that is around two-thirds the size of the original 2007 version of the games console.

Importantly, Sony also says the issue of fan noise has been addressed, thanks to a two-thirds reduction in the power consumption of the new PS3. The PS3 is the most popular device on which to play Blu-ray movies and is largely credited with the success of the Blu-ray format over the rival HD-DVD format. Sony had been criticised for the unacceptable levels of fan noise interfering with movie playback.

PlayStation 3 review

Sony has also announced a subtle rebranding exercise, with the word 'PlayStation' now being intercapped rather than all in uppercase lettering. To emphasise the new branding, the updated PS3 will have its name engraved on it.

More than 1,400 downloadable games titles are available for the PS3 with 1,000 of them physically available on disc. Sony also offers interactive gameplay via its Sony Network and a social network known as Home that allows users to discuss gaming and otherwise interact.

See also: 24 greatest PlayStation 3 games

Sony PlayStation 3 'Slim' games console