Not a rumor: Sony announces 40GB PS3 for North America
This is one of the least shocking announcements in recent history. With two months of rumors including an FCC filing, retail SKU entries and releases in Japan and Europe, Sony has finally made it official by dropping a press release confirming the 40GB model is, in fact, coming to America in November. They also dropped the price of the 80GB model to $499.
This new model differs from the current 80GB model in the following ways:
- Obviously the hard drive is half the size. This is more of a marketing bullet-point considering the cost difference is close to $10 USD
- The new model has half the number of USB ports. All previous PS3 models have four USB ports and the 40GB model has only two.
- Backwards compatibility has been removed. The original 60GB and 20GB versions had the PS2 Emotion Engine chip built in to play PS1 and PS2 games. The 80GB version removed the Emotion Engine and used software emulation for compatibility, and this limited the number of titles a bit. The new 40GB model removes yet another chip giving no PS2 compatibility while maintaining some level of PS1 service.
- Coming in at $399, the 40GB model is $100 less than the 80GB model. This leaves the entry level PS3 at just $50 more than the Premium Xbox 360 (with 20GB hard drive), however if you intend to play games online the Xbox 360 has an annual $50 charge – granted the Xbox Live account also features many other services the Playstation Network doesn’t offer so it’s not completely a wash.
This now makes for the lowest cost Blu-ray Disc player on the market today by at least $50. Sony has already announced the PS3 would receive a firmware update giving the system Blu-ray interactive features. The console has the hardware to achieve 2.0 spec, but Sony was not clear on which version of the final spec it would receive. I would guess they’re going to 1.1 spec until movies start getting released utilizing BD-Live.