Sony announced today it’s launching a smaller PlayStation 3 video game console for the fall video game season.

The console will now come in three models, including one with a 12GB Flash memory drive, another with a 250GB hard disk drive, and a third model with a 500GB hard disk. The new machine is half the volume and weight of the original PS3 that came out in 2005 with a 60GB hard disk drive. It’s also be 20 percent smaller in volume and 25 percent smaller in weight compared to the current PS3 “Slim.” The console also has a sliding disk cover and Sony’s characteristic curved body design.

The system’s availability will be as follows in North America: The 500GB version goes on sale on Oct. 30 for $299. The 250GB version comes out Sept. 25 for $269 in a special bundle. The Flash memory version is available only in the European market (and in Hong Kong) for 229 euros on Oct. 12. In Europe, the 500GB version is on sale Sept. 28 for 299 euros. In Japan, the 500GB version is on sale on Oct. 4 for 29,800 yen, while the 250GB is available the same day for 24,900 yen.


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Previous versions of the PS3 had 160GB and 320GB hard disks. The new PS3 with a 12-GB Flash memory device is considered an entry-level device that gives a new point of entry for neophyte gamers at a lower price. Users can also expand the memory over time by attaching a dedicated 250GB hard disk drive that will come out as an accessory for 89.99 euros, starting on Oct. 12 in Europe. The console now weighs about 4.7 pounds.

Sony says there are more than 3,300 Blu-ray PS3 games available and another 4,100 downloadable games. The seven-year-old platform has new options, including a classic white version that’s available in Japan in November. Sony is also going to sell a vertical stand props the machine up vertically. The stand sells for $14.99 in North America, 14.99 euros in Europe, and 1,800 yen in Japan. Sony made the announcement at the start of the Tokyo Game Show in Japan.

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