Sony Finally Confirms 40 Gig (For Europe)

Don’t fear, gamers on this side of the Atlantic. It’s even greater proof that we’ll get our turn soon enough! Here is SCEE’s press release:

Aggressively priced hardware and a terrific software line-up make for an unbeatable combination
New 40GB PS3 at €399

London, 5 October 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced details of its exciting new PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) model that will launch throughout the SCEE territories on 10th October 2007 at the highly attractive price of €399.

Providing an incredibly appealing entry point to the world of High Definition gaming and entertainment for the holiday season, the new PS3 brings the next generation of interactive home entertainment to homes all across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia.

Along with an ever expanding line-up of PS3 titles (a total of 65 titles tracking across all genres by Christmas), the new PS3 is equipped with a 40GB HDD and includes all the features central to the High Definition entertainment experience; true next generation gameplay, stunning High Definition Blu-ray Disc™ movies, SIXAXIS™ wireless controller, Wi-Fi and HDMI connectivity, all powered by the Cell Broadband Engine™, the digital heart of PS3.

As with the 60GB PS3, the new PS3 features upgradeable firmware allowing new features and functionality to be added to the system as time progresses. A recent firmware update, for example, enabled PS3 to upscale DVD’s played on the system to full 1080P High Definition.

The introduction of the new PS3 has been determined following user feedback from thousands of existing PS3 owners as well as research into future potential PS3 owners. The new model features two USB 2.0 ports rather than four and no longer includes the multi memory card port.

The new model is no longer backwards compatible with PlayStation®2 titles, reflecting both the reduced emphasis placed on this feature amongst later purchasers of PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive line-up of PS3 specific titles (a total of 65 titles across all genres by Christmas).

The existing Starter Pack*, comprising a 60GB PS3 with extensive backwards compatibility, an additional SIXAXIS wireless controller and two first party titles will be reduced in price to €499. Remaining on sale while stocks last, the 60GB model represents outstanding value for the keen gamer wishing to upgrade to the High Definition capabilities of PS3.

“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,” said David Reeves, President of SCEE. “It has allowed us to deliver an extremely advanced, yet incredibly affordable High Definition gaming and entertainment system, configured to the needs of the next generation of European PS3 owners. PS3 has always been the device of choice for the discerning gamer and entertainment seeker, and the new PS3 is more than ever the perfect High Definition entertainment system.

*In the UK and Ireland, the Starter Pack will be replaced by a separate in-store promotion on the 60GB PS3.

If you read through that, the two things that likely popped out at you the most were those that are missing: there are now only two USB ports on the machine and NO backwards compatibility. I’ll give you a second to range and panic. Meanwhile, here are a couple of pictures of the new SKU (click to enlarge):



I’m not too sure why it’s “zooming” into the frame in the second picture. Maybe Sony forgot they were making a game machine and built a race car instead (edit: or I’m just daft and this is a turned picture of it sitting straight up on a reflective surface).

Anyway, have you had a chance to calm down yet? Well, if you haven’t, please do. It’s not the end of the world. There’s no real reason to use the USB ports except for charging your controller or inserting an external storage device, really. You don’t need more than two to do both of those things at the same time. Bluetooth still allows you to connect up to 7 controllers, after all.

Now, backwards compatibility. Let’s face it, you already have a PS2 right? I’m going to go ahead and assume most gamers do, so having it in the Playstation 3 isn’t much more than a bullet point. What’s sad about the industry, and public perception, is that sometimes bullet points matter. Functionally, it isn’t necessary for the new SKU to have backwards compatibility, but consumers have gotten so used to the idea of the years, that it’s absence is notable.

Sony said they’d listened to all of their fans in creating this new revision, but I’m wondering if that means “people who already have a PS3” or “people who don’t.” Because it’s far more likely the “people that don’t” would care about backwards compatibility. These are the more casual gamers who probably have a few PS2 games they go back to time and again. They’ll walk into the store, see the new unit, and ask, “I can play all my old games on this, right?” After hearing the response, they’ll probably walk right back out without a system in hand.

It’s one less compelling reason for people to buy a Playstation 3. I know that anecdotal isn’t the best kind of evidence, but I was playing a game of Team Slayer on HALO last night and these two obnoxious little kids were talking about how one of them had just picked up a 360 for the game, instead of a PS3. His friend asked him “why would you want a PS3?” The other replied, “Heh. Heh. I don’t know.” It was just a moment that seemed to embody the average consumer’s continued apathy.

Anyway, I’m digressing too far. I can understand cutting hardware compatibility in order to reduce costs, but is it really that tough to implement software compatibility? I actually believe this is something they’ve already done with the 80 gig SKU, why not the 40? I shot SCEE an e-mail about this and if I get a worthwhile response, I’ll stick it up on the blog.

It’s really great that we have a new, cheaper SKU on the market (and the 60 gig is an even more fantastic deal now, while it lasts), but Sony’s approach always feels like it’s “one step forward, two steps back.” Whatever happens, I’m eager to see if the new price point moves more systems.

~ by Cavin Smith on October 5, 2007.

One Response to “Sony Finally Confirms 40 Gig (For Europe)”

  1. Hi Cavin I have herd that sony are going to release an add on for backwards combatability with ps2. Have you herd this roumour.

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