Sony to launch 80GB PlayStation 3 in June

Sony Computer Entertainment plans to launch a version of its PlayStation 3 console with an 80G-byte hard-disk drive in June, it said Monday.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) plans to launch a version of its PlayStation 3 console with an 80G-byte, hard-disk drive in June, it said Monday.

The new PlayStation 3 model will go on sale first in South Korea when Sony kicks off PlayStation 3 sales there on June 16. It will cost 518,000 won (US$581).

The console, which launched in late 2006 in the U.S. and Japan, typically comes with a 60G-byte, hard-disk drive. In some markets SCEI offers a second version with a 20G-byte drive although sales are being discontinued in favor of the higher capacity model, which has sold considerably better.

The 80G-byte model could appear in other markets.

"At this time there are no concrete plans [to sell the model in other markets] however it could be an option to introduce it in other regions but it needs to be decided by each region," said Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for SCEI in Tokyo. The machine otherwise has a similar specification to the existing PlayStation 3 model with a 60G-byte drive, he said.

The company decided to put a higher capacity hard-disk drive in the model sold in South Korea because of the nation's pervasive broadband Internet network, said Fukuoka. Sony is keen to see the PlayStation 3 used for entertainment beyond games and South Koreans are already used to a wide variety of online multimedia.

News that Sony was planning an 80G-byte model of the console first came in a U.S. regulatory filing with the Federal Communications Commission in March. At the time the company declined to comment on product plans.

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