40GB PlayStation 3 Model Materializes in Europe, Lacks Backward Compatibility

Confirming the torrent of rumors surrounding a cheaper baseline PlayStation 3 SKU, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe unveiled a 40GB stripped down console for European territories today. Retailing for 399 Euros (299 Pounds in the U.K.) beginning October 10, the new model will be the cheapest PS3 SKU available in the region.

As predicted, the 40GB model will feature two USB ports rather than four, have no flash card memory slots, and lack any kind of backward compatibility with PlayStation 2 titles. Regarding this last point, the announcement reads: "The new model is no longer backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 titles, reflecting both the reduced emphasis placed on this feature amongst later purchasers of PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive line-up of PS3 specific titles (a total of 65 titles across all genres by Christmas)."

Since later PS3 models used software rather than hardware emulation to support the PS2's game library, it's unusual that this new model would exclude that capability entirely.

Sony coupled the announcement with a 100 Euro price drop for the formerly 599 Euro 60GB Starter Pack bundle in European territories, except for the U.K. and Ireland, where the Starter Pack will be replaced by a 349 Pound Value Pack. The now 499 Euro Starter Pack bundle will still contain an extra Sixaxis and two first-party titles and be sold until stocks run out, while the newly introduced Value Pack model for the U.K. and Ireland will only include one Sixaxis in addition to two first-party titles.

Though the different global branches of Sony make their own decisions regarding introductions of new SKUs, it's highly unlikely an entirely new model like the 40GB PS3 would remain exclusive to the region. The 80GB SKU debuted earlier this year in Korea, but made its way to North America and other territories shortly thereafter.