After months of speculation and numerous calls by industry insiders, Sony Computer Entertainment America has officially dropped the price of the 60GB PlayStation 3 $100 to $499, introducing a new 80GB model at its prior $599 MSRP.
SCEA says it will introduce the $599 (CDN $659) 80GB model console in August, which will also come with a pack-in copy of Evolution Studios' racer Motorstorm
. The 60GB price drop to $499 (CDN $549) is effective immediately.
Sony says the new 80GB PS3, identical to the 60GB model apart from its hard drive size, is "designed to appeal to the online gaming and entertainment enthusiast, providing ample storage space to download more games and other entertainment content from PlayStation Network."
Sony also says that by the holiday season through the end of the fiscal year, 120 first and third party PS3 titles will be released, including a number of console exclusives.
A number of analysts and industry insiders have called for a drop in price in recent months, including Sega corporate director Masanao Maeda, who said
"superior marketing and pricing strategy will be the key for Sony."
In June, Sony Group Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer acknowledged customer resistance
to the previous price of the PlayStation 3 and indicated that the company was trying to "refine" how much more it could afford to cut the price of the console.
Said SCEA president and CEO Jack Tretton, "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."
He added, "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."