Why oh why does Sony have to deny rumours one second and then publish a press release confirming them the same afternoon? Not that the introduction of a £299 40GB model with no memory card readers and only two USB ports is a bad thing for consumers, but it does cause some embarrassment when I get all righteously indignant that Sony hasn't announced it, just before it does.
Yes, that's right, the purported new SKU has now been officially chalked up for release later this month as well as a new £349 price tag for the current 60GB model. As well as the reduced ports on the new model, Sony's release also states that it's "no longer backwards compatible with PlayStation 2 titles", which we take as meaning no support whatsoever. This would place emphasis on the high-definition aspects of the PS3, which considering this new price continue to be strong. Could this be another blow to Toshiba and its HD DVD format? Possibly.
Reading between the lines, the announcement also implies that the 60GB model will soon be phased out altogether, as the new priced package will be available "while stocks last" as has already occurred in the US. As easy as it has been for me to berate the PS3 for its high pricing and lack of any killer titles, I have to concede that with the new Xbox 360 Elite rivalling price, it just got a whole lot more attractive.