Here's Sony's PR release - I'd recommend sitting down before reading this so you won't fall too far to the floor from laughing.
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.
Skillz's take: If I am gonna pay $399 for a Playstation 3 WITHOUT any hope of playing my PS1 and PS2 games, there's only one PS3 I'd get ...
Seriously, this move by Sony to *move* consoles - with a stripped down version of their PS3 missing features - is bad business. It's sad that Sony's fall from grace is happening soooo fast. Sony has had 4 different SKUs for the Playstation 3 in less than a year. Microsoft, however, even with the red light drama and inferior features, went nearly 2 years before a modest price cut. And "Halo 3" has fueled sales of the console AND the game. Even the Wii's wild popularity is dipping slightly, but it's still slugging it out with the Xbox 360 for the time being.
Expect the holidays to be rough for SCEA. Sorry guys, but you omitted the wrong features in the PS3. Dropping the Blu Ray player and lowering prices would have been a much, much better (and smarter) move.
Goodbye, Sony ... you can forget snagging this generation's crown ...