Sony Launches 250GB PlayStation 3 for $350

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Following its recent PlayStation 3 price cut fete with a high-capacity encore, Sony announced today it'll offer a 250GB version of its slimline PS3 for $350 in North America, on sale November 3. The announcement comes as expected after leaks suggesting the model would arrive sometime in October. The new system will be otherwise identical to the existing $300 120GB model, but offer slightly more than twice as much storage space.

The North American model can't claim firsts: A 250GB slimline PlayStation 3 bundled with Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 actually launched a few days ago in Spain.

In the press release, Sony also revealed its $300 slimline PS3 (PCW Score: 90%) had sold 1 million units worldwide in the three weeks since its launch on September 1. The announcement comes in advance of NPD Group's September video games retail sales data, which was expected later this evening, but per a last minute advisory, delayed until Monday, October 19.

"The PS3 platform is poised for a tremendous holiday season,” said Sony Computer Entertainment America's Scott A. Steinberg, vice president of product marketing. “We kicked things off early with the new price point and sleek form factor and have continued the momentum with this week’s launch of the universally acclaimed exclusive, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The new 250GB PS3 provides consumers with another compelling hardware option and speaks to the growing consumer appetite for digital content from the PlayStation Network – particularly high-def content that showcases the power of the PS3 system.”

Sony says over 600 million pieces of content have been downloaded from the PlayStation Network as of September and points to upcoming exclusive game downloads like PixelJunk Shooter, Gravity Crash, and Hustle Kings as indications its expanding the Store's lineup in anticipation of the holidays.

The PlayStation Network's video delivery service, which Sony says offers 2,300 movies (one-third in high-def format) as well as 13,300 television episodes, will add recently released movies like Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Bruno.

My take: It's about time someone offered more than 120 measly gigabytes to handle our ballooning multimedia libraries. Now if Microsoft follows suit with a beefier Xbox 360 (and gets on board with the do-it-yourself thing, something Sony's supported from the get-go) we'll have a right and proper holiday competition to cheer along.

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