Sony confirms PS3 price cut to US$499, announces new model

Sony dropped the price of the current PS3 from $599 to $499 on Tuesday and unveiled a new, 80GB model bundled with a game for release this August.

The new 80GB PS3 is designed to appeal to those looking for more downloadable content over the PlayStation Network, namely games and "other forms of entertainment" says Sony.

"As we move into the next phase of PS3, it's important that we continue to evaluate our product line, offering consumers the technology and features that meet their growing needs for new forms of media and the way in which it is delivered," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA. "The introduction of the 80GB PS3, the new pricing for the current 60GB model, the availability of more than 100 new software titles this fiscal year and, finally, the expansion of services for PlayStation Network, will provide even more options for users and will help bring new consumers into the PS3 fold."

Two PS3 models were originally available at launch; the current 60GB and wireless-enabled version for $599 and a smaller 20GB version without wireless for $499. Sony discontinued the latter model in April citing a lack of consumer demand, though it is still available in Japan.

"The response was that people wanted the more full function PS3 with the additional storage, Wi-Fi and extra external storage slots," said Sony's Dave Karraker in a statement to U.S GamePro magazine. "Given that we have already sold 1.4 million PS3s in the US at the original $599 price point, we think the consumer response will be exceptionally positive at this new price."

The news comes two days prior to the start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Santa Monica this week. Sony said the company would use the show to focus on ways to increase the number of PS3 and PSP owners by expanding its library of available games.

Sony has sold a reported 3.6 million units worldwide since first launching the PS3 last November.

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