UK PS3 drops price, 40GB finally official

Sony makes two big announcements for its UK customers in a pre-Christmas bid to boost PS3 sales; revised hardware loses PS2 backwards compatibility.

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One of the worst kept secrets in the games industry has finally been officially announced. After a flurry of rumours and leaks that a new 40GB SKU of the PlayStation 3 would be coming, Sony has finally confirmed the speculation is, in fact, no longer speculation.

The new 40GB version will debut in the UK on October 10 and is "no longer backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 titles," according to Sony. It will also only sport two USB slots instead of four and will ditch the multimemory card port--although this can be added on with an accessory. The 40GB version will go on sale at a price point of £299 (about $610).

The 40GB PS3 in the wild.
The 40GB PS3 in the wild.

In a statement, Sony said of the lack of backwards compatibility that it reflected, "both the reduced emphasis placed on this feature amongst later purchasers of PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive lineup of PS3-specific titles."

When asked about PSOne games, Sony told GameSpot, "the backwards compatibility of PSOne titles is achieved through software and the vast majority of PSOne titles are backwards compatible with the new PS3." Sony did not return calls to comment by press time on why PlayStation 2 compatibility--which has always been handled with software in European PS3s--could not be achieved with the new model as well.

That's not all UK Sony fans are getting for the holidays. Sony also announced a price drop on the standard 60GB version, which will continue to be sold alongside the new model. The current Starter Pack, which boasted a 60GB PS3, two first-party games, and two Sixaxis controllers, will be discontinued.

It will be replaced by the new Value Pack, which will feature a backwards compatible 60GB PS3, one Sixaxis wireless controller, two first-party titles, and will cost £349 (about $712)--a £76 (about $155) price drop from the current price of £425 (about $868).

"As we approach our very first PlayStation Christmas, it is satisfying to be able to offer UK consumers the choice of two PlayStation 3 packages both now representing remarkable value," commented Ray Maguire, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment UK.

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