With the 40GB PlayStation 3 already loose and
about in Europe, and a Ceramic White colored
one bound for Japan, it’s nearly certain that a fourth PS3 SKU
will be touching North American shores in time for the holiday buying season.
While SCEA’s public relations department has been strangely mum on the
upcoming console, SCEA president Jack Tretton spilled the beans to Reuters
early Thursday morning. Tretton said that the 40GB model will launch on
November 2 at the expected price of $399.99.
Matching up with analyst
expectations, the price of the 80GB model will fall the $499.99 – the price
currently held by the 60GB PlayStation 3, which are becoming a retail rarity
since Sony stopped
Like the 40GB PlayStation 3 hardware that is hitting the
rest of the globe, the one bound for North America also will be without any
form of backwards compatibility for PlayStation 2 titles. Original PlayStation
games will still be playable through software emulation, but 40GB PS3 will be
unable to support any PS2 games due to the removal of both the Emotion Engine
and Graphics Synthesizer.
Dedicated PS2 hardware was first
removed in the European PlayStation 3, and later the 80GB North
American model, but those were still able to play a limited number of
legacy titles. The new 40GB model will eschew classic games altogether, which
Sony says is to better focus on making PlayStation 3 games rather than
concentrating on making older PS2 games run on its newest hardware.
With the PS2 consistently outselling the newer PS3, Sony is
still mass manufacturing the previous generation hardware. "We're choosing
to focus on the PlayStation 2 consumer with the PlayStation 2, which remains
incredibly relevant, and focus on the PlayStation 3 consumer with the new
40-gigabyte model and the great software coming out," Tretton said. "Backward
compatibility is a nice secondary consideration, but it's far from the
The 40GB PlayStation is also equipped with two fewer USB
ports and no memory card reader, which are available on the 80GB model, as a
further cost-reducing measure. Tretton made no mention of the expected Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray Disc pack-in, though details
of that may be saved for the pending official announcement.