Need a PlayStation 3 and have absolutely no interest in downloadable games? Sony has a new hardware bundle that might be right up your alley.
A newer, cheaper version of the console has hit the shelves of the company's U.S. online store, but it comes with restrictions. The $199 PS3 represents a savings of $70 or more off the typical model, though it packs significantly less memory.
As opposed to the 500 GB hard drive in the average PS3, this version has just 12 GB of flash-based storage. That's going to make it hard to download much of anything from the PlayStation Store, such as movies, TV shows, and downloadable games. It will also put a squeeze on anyone who buys a lot of DLC for their games, as they'll have to regularly delete DLC they've played to free up space for new content.
For players who still prefer playing disc-based games,though, it's a notable savings. And while 12 GB is tiny by any standard today, it's not a lot less than the 20GB the PS3 launched with seven years ago.
More importantly, since it's flash-based storage, it will access games (and load them) a lot faster than older units.
The discounted model was originally created for Europe and Hong Kong only. Just one week ago, Sony said there were no plans to bring it to the U.S.
"The smaller Flash drive isn't coming to North America, and a lot of that reason is the digital consumer," said John Koller, Sony Computer Entertainment America VP of marketing, handhelds and home consoles. "We really want to make sure, out of the box, that there is an option for them to be able to download that content. That is really critical for us, very very important."
Sony now seems to have changed its mind about that, but it's not making a lot of noise about the new units. In fact, there has been zero marketing of the devices.
Of course, that could be because price changes are on the way to other PS3s. The Gamescon gaming convention is taking place this week in Germany and analysts have long maintained that they expect Sony to cut the price of the PS3 before the PS4 makes its debut this holiday season. The company's press conference will take place Tuesday afternoon.
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