Sony Debuts Cheaper PS3 in Europe, Without Backwards Compatibility

Confirming speculation, Sony on Friday said it will introduce a new base model of its PlayStation 3 console in Europe, Africa, Australasia, and the Middle East.

The new console includes a 40 GB hard drive, Wi-Fi, and HDMI connectivity. Sony says the introduction of the new console has a lot to do with consumer feedback as well as research into prospective console owners.

At a price of €399, it becomes very competitive with the Xbox 360 Premium package, which retails for €349 across Europe. Price has long been the biggest problem for the PS3, as many consumers have opted for the cheaper Xbox and Wii.

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With another Holiday shopping season just a month and a half away, it is imperative that Sony reduce its prices. If it does not, it could permanently damage the PS3 franchise, and leave it further behind its competitors.

In addition to the new console, the company will also lower the price of the currently available 60 GB model to €499. However, if consumers wish to play their PS2 games, they still have to buy the bigger model -- the 40 GB model has no backwards compatibility.

"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," SCEE president David Reeves said.

Reeves also said that about 65 titles will be available for the PS3 by Christmas. The new console will go on sale October 10.

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