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New PlayStation 3 model in the works?

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(Credit: Sony)

While everyone and their cousin is waiting eagerly for the PlayStation 4, Sony may still have a few ideas up its sleeve for the PlayStation 3.

A recent filing on the FCC database describes what appears to be a new design for the console -- and, at the very least, a prototype has already been built.

The filing is largely censored due to Sony's requests that certain information remain confidential, but the barebones design that is shown in the schematic seems different than the current PS3 slim model, which made its debut in 2009.

The FCC file notes that it received a sample device in March -- delivered when Sony made the filing -- to ensure it was within the FCC's guidelines for wireless support.

Of course, there's little to do but speculate about exactly what Sony is planning with the new hardware. Eurogamer is betting heavily on an even slimmer PS3, basing that assumption on conversations with Sony executive Shuhei Yoshida. Asked whether Sony would launch a new super slim PlayStation 3 at some point, he reportedly cryptically answered "Never say never."

The diagram doesn't offer a lot of hints, though. The shape seems different than the current model, but it doesn't mention a thing about size. While it's entirely possible that Sony is planning a small, compact version of the PS3 as it did with the PSOne, it could be just a tweak to the existing model. Sony declined to comment on the FCC filing to CNET.

It is, however, worthy of note that Sony was checking on the wireless protocols of the device, given the company's recent acquisition of streaming game company Gaikai. That purchase strongly sets Sony up for a cloud-based gaming future and has ignited speculation that future versions of PlayStation system could rely on a pure digital distribution model, where hardware is less critical to users (since the games would be played on remote servers).

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