Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sony Cuts Price on PlayStation 3, Axes Backwards Compatibility Too

Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced that starting from Fall ‘08 it would offer PlayStation 3 model with 80GB hard drive for the price of $399. Unfortunately for PlayStation fans, the new model may not be backwards compatible with games released for previous-generation platforms.

Starting in September 2008, the newly announced PlayStation 3 80GB model will become the mainstay of the company’s hardware line-up. The 80GB model will retail for $399, and will offer all of the features and functionality of the 40GB model with double the storage to accommodate more movies, graphics, music, photos and other entertainment content. Unfortunately, this also means that the 80GB model will not be compatible with games for Sony PlayStation and PlayStation 2 video game consoles.

It is unclear whether Sony plans to offer backwards compatible PlayStation 3 model going forward in the USA at $499 price-point. In fact, there is no backwards compatible PlayStation 3 models in Japan already.

Sony Computer Entertainment claims that cutting-down backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 is not something completely negative, as growing library of games developed for the advanced new-generation game system should substitute the lack of previous titles. Moreover, not a lot of gamers would like to play older titles developed for standard-definition TVs on brand-new high-definition televisions. But while these points may be correct for so-called hardcore gamers, which play a great variety of games, casual customers who currently own a PlayStation 2 have no reason to transit to the new-gen console due to the lack of casual games for PS3. As a result, they may migrate to Nintendo Wii, which features unique motion sensitive controller as well as a relatively rich library of simplistic games.

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 as well as 40GB version that cannot play old games at all. The official prices of Sony PlayStation 3 40GB and 80GB in the USA now are $399 and $499, respectively, European customers have to pay €399 ($630) and €499 ($787) for 40GB and 60GB models, respectively, whereas Japanese gamers can obtain PlayStation 3 40GB for ¥39 980 ($376 or €238).

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