Friday, October 5, 2007

Sony Readies PlayStation 3 40GB for Launch, Axes Backward Compatibility

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. will reportedly release its long-awaited cost-effective PlayStation 3 game console in late October, in time for late year sales. However, the new console will supposedly not be compatible with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games at all, a significant drawback to experienced PlayStation gamers.

Documents from Best Buy retail network in the U.S. published by Engadget web-site reveal that starting from the 28th of October the retail chain will sell Sony PlayStation 3 40GB with Spider Man 3 movie on Blu-ray disc for as low as $399, the lowest price for a PlayStation 3 ever in the USA. The new “low-cost” model will also be on sale in Europe, however, its price in the region remains to be seen.
Play.com, an online store based in the UK, also lists Sony PlayStation 3 40GB model, however, it claims that the part only features 2 USB ports and “is not backward compatible with PS2 games” based “specifications supplied by manufacturer”. Besides, there are rumours that the low-cost Sony PlayStation 3 lacks Wi-Fi controller as well as memory card reader.

Given that modern PlayStation 3 60GB (PAL) and 80GB (NTSC) do not feature build-in PlayStation 2 processors for backwards compatibility, but rely on software-based approach, it is unclear why would Sony reportedly axed this feature, if PS2 games are still supported on more expensive PS3 versions. It is also uncertain whether the console will finally revitalize sales of SCEI’s latest game machine, which have been lagging behind Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp., wireless network and Bluetooth connectivity and is equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. There are several versions of the consoles available around the world with 60GB or 80GB hard disk drives and variable compatibility with PlayStation 1/2 games. In the U.S. PlayStation 3 80GB is sold for $599, whereas the hard-to-find 60GB model retails for $499.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. did not comment on the news-story.

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