Sony to put cheaper PS3 in play in U.S. next month
40GB, $399 model with Blu-raySony Computer Entertainment America will unveil a $399 40GB PlayStation 3 on U.S. shores, sources said.
The release comes on the heels of an announcement by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe that a new lower-priced version of the PS3 will be launched this week on the continent.
"We're hearing Nov. 2 (for the U.S.)," an industry source said. A buyer for a major game retailer cited the same date, adding that SCEA has been dropping hints that stores should do all they can to clear out existing inventory in anticipation of the new model.
The new 40GB PS3 will have fewer features than the current 60GB ($499) and 80GB ($599) models, with two USB 2.0 ports instead of four, no backward compatibility for PS2 games and no multimemory card port.
But it will continue to play Blu-ray Disc movies as the PS3, despite its early struggles against Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, remains a key part of Sony's battle with consumer electronics rivals over the future of high-definition movie playback.
SCEA did not return calls seeking comment, but in making the announcement in Europe, SCEE president David Reeves said: "The introduction of the new PS3 has been the result of extensive research into the entertainment needs and preferences of the next generation of PS3 owners. PS3 has always been the device of choice for the discerning gamer and entertainment seeker, and the new PS3 is more than ever the perfect high-definition entertainment system."