Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) has announced new plans for the beleaguered PlayStation 3 gaming console.
A new 40GB version of the console will be available throughout Europe and other SCEE territories from 10 October for €399 (£299), and the existing 60GB Starter Pack will be reduced in price to €499 (£349).
The new 40GB model will no longer be backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 titles, and features two USB 2.0 ports rather than four. It also no longer includes the multi-memory card port.
"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 SCEE president David Reeves.
"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."
Sony has said that the lack of backwards compatibility reflects the reduced emphasis on this feature among later purchasers of the PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive line-up of PS3 specific titles.
Many critics have pointed out the stark contrast of this new stance compared to the comments of Sony boss Phil Harrison less than a year ago when he described backwards compatibility as a "core value".
"Backwards compatibility, as you know from PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, is a core value of what we believe we should offer," he said at the time.
"And access to the library of content people have created, bought for themselves, and accumulated over the years is necessary to create a format."
Sony further angered European gamers when it transpired that it will no longer supply the 60GB version once current stocks run out, leaving only the new stripped down 40GB model available to European gamers.
Nick Sharples, director of corporate communications for Sony Europe, told gaming site Kotaku: "The 60GB Starter Pack will remain on sale until stocks run out (a number of months, depending on territory)."
"Thereafter, the 40GB model will be the only stock-keeping unit in the SCEE region."
Sony has already phased out the 60GB model in the US, but there is a fully functional 80GB unit available which $599 and comes bundled with a copy of MotorStorm.
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