Mystery surrounds "PS3 slim" rumor

For the past week or so, we've been hearing rumors that Sony is going to introduce a slimmer, and potentially cheaper, version of their Playstation 3 video game console at E3 this year. At first the rumors were pretty vague, with Playstation enthusiast site Playstation Lifestyle reporting that the new design might be as simple as a new color scheme. Then some blurry pictures showed up on Engadget. (To me, these shots look like they're of half a clamshell case, but that's just my opinion.)

But here's where it gets interesting. Now Engadget is reporting that their Japanese branch received a 'cease & desist' letter from a "mysterious Chinese firm" ordering Engadget Japan to remove the images from its site. The letter says, in part, "In order to protect the confidential information and prevent you from further legal issues and infringements, please immediately remove those pages and keep our request confidential." so I guess Engadget blew that one.

Engadget isn't sure of the legitimacy of the letter, which is what makes the whole situation so delightful. If the letter is real, then this "mysterious Chinese firm" has pretty much validated the rumors by its insistent that the images be removed. If the letter is a fake it opens up even more questions. Why send a fake cease & desist order? To get the story more publicity? (If so, it certainly worked.) To what end? As a PR red herring? Who would be served by such a scheme? Or maybe it's just a prank by some Engadget Japan reader having a little fun.

If nothing else, it gives us one more thing to put on our 'bingo card' for Sony's E3 Press Conference, scheduled for June 2.

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