60 GB PlayStation 3 Price Slashed, 80GB PS3 Announced

Sony's one-two punch brings us a new PS3 and a price drop to the current model

80GB PlayStation 3 and MotorStorm Bundle
80GB PlayStation 3 and MotorStorm Bundle. ┬ęSony

Sony has broken the cycle of bad news by announcing a price cut for the current 60GB PS3 and unveiling a new 80GB PS3. After taking a beating in the press, the double news has not only increased sales, but positive coverage as well.

The new 80GB version of the PS3 will not be receiving a new name, ala Microsoft's marketing strategy (do you have the Uber PS3 or just the Omega Prime version?). It is slated to ship to North American retailers in August. The new 80GB PS3 will retail for $599 in the U.S. and $649 in Canada.

In perhaps what should be considered a third shocker, the 80 GB PS3 will be bundled with a full version of MotorStorm. The popular off-road racer is a natural pick, as it not only shows off the HD capabilities of the PS3, but also features online play. The 80GB version, like its 60GB counterpart features built-in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity.

Sony claims that the expanded hard disk drive (HDD) "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." This week alone has seen a surge in downloadable content on the PlayStation network, including many free videos and trailers from E3.

Sony has also stated that, "throughout the holidays and this fiscal year, more than 120 new first and third-party software titles will be available for North American PS3 users to enjoy, in addition to the more than 40 software titles currently available." Some of the bigger first-party titles in the list include Folklore, Heavenly Sword, LAIR, NBA 08, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, SingStar, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation, The Eye of Judgement, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Warhawk. The Eye of Judgement indicates that the new PS3 camera is on the horizon.

Highlights from the third-party titles to be released this fiscal year include: Devil May Cry IV, Dynasty Warriors:GUNDAM, Grand Theft Auto IV, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hellboy, Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, SEGA Rally Revo, Stranglehold, TimeShift, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2.

Sony has also confirmed that PlayStation Home, the online, 3D, Second Life-esque community will see a release this year (for free) and that we should expect to see a large number of downloadable games in the PlayStation Network, including PAIN.

There is a small shadow cast by the rainbow of good news, however. The 80GB version of the PS3 will not include the Emotion Engine chip in it. This chip is missing from the current PS3s in Europe and, essentially, is the heart of the PS2. The Emotion Engine allowed for full hardware based backwards compatibility with PS2 and PSone games. The 80GB version will still be backwards compatible, but will achieve this through software emulation.

One fear is that the chip will be removed from future 60GB versions as well, or that the 60GB version may be phased out all together, as the 20GB version was. It should be noted that Sony has yet to comment on either possibility.