No 160GB PS3 For Australia, PlayTV Pushed Back To 2009

You know all those big Playstation announcements that Sony made yesterday out of Liepzig? Well the local branch of Playstation has dropped some info on what they mean locally, and the bad news is that when it comes to getting the latest and greatest, Australia is on a severe time delay.

For a start, we're not getting the 160GB PS3. Considering we're only just getting the 80GB model next week, this doesn't come as a complete surprise, especially considering Sony's willingness to let users swap in their own hard drives. But having a higher-end model might have been nice for hardcore gamers, especially if we see the same Rock Band 2 features appear on Playstation (and we actually get Rock Band 1 or 2 at some point, I guess).

The new PSP-3000 drops on October 16 for $299.95, and the wireless keyboard peripheral will land by the end of the year for an undisclosed sum.But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the press release is the mention that both PlayTV and the new VidZone service are scheduled to launch in Oz in the first half of 2009. That goes against what Sony told us a few months ago in regard to PlayTV, but at least they're still committed to launching the product over here at all. Who knows, when they do get around to launching it, we may see it bundled with a 160GB PS3 anyway - even 80GB isn't going to go very far for a HD PVR, so the move would make sense.

Press release junkies, here you go:

New PlayStation® Line-up Delivers More Innovation, More Compelling Content and More Entertainment Second half line-up delivers an abundance of fun and technological innovation for all types of entertainment seekers Sydney, 21 August 2008 - Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today announced one of its biggest upcoming software and hardware line-ups to date, showcasing the results of the company's continued commitment to innovation and diversification of the interactive entertainment industry.

During the second half of 2008 and into 2009, a plethora of unique new hardware and software innovations will be introduced on its leading entertainment platforms; PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable), PlayStation®2 (PS2™), PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) and PLAYSTATION®Network. Software highlights range from a groundbreaking new PS3™ title that utilises the PLAYSTATION®Eye to create a virtual pet in your living room, to the continued expansion of the bestselling SingStar® franchise, with never before featured artists including Queen and Michael Jackson arriving on PS3, plus a guaranteed family favourite, SingStar® Singalong With Disney, set to arrive on PlayStation 2.

Innovative hardware arriving in time for Christmas includes a new PSP™ model offering unrivalled portable picture quality, plus a Wireless Keypad for PS3, set to complement the recently announced 80GB model launching in Australia on 28th August 2008. SCE Aust. also confirmed it is committed to bringing to Australia, during the first half of 2009, the highly anticipated PlayTV, which allows you to watch, pause and record free-to-air TV when connected to a PS3.

"News of the upcoming 80GB PS3 has been welcomed by both consumers and retailers," said Michael Ephraim, Managing Director SCE Aust. and New Zealand. "The games recently announced at the Games Convention in Leipzig only go to strengthen the appeal of the PS3. We expect our current 350,000 install base to continue to grow significantly when the new model launches at the end of August, with consumers keen to not only enjoy some of our exclusive gaming titles, but also step into a world of Blu-ray movies and high definition entertainment."

Innovative New Hardware

The new PSP handheld entertainment system, PSP-3000, features an advanced LCD screen supporting higher image quality and will be available in Australia from 16th October 2008. In addition to offering the functionality and ergonomics of the Slim and Lite model, the quality of the screen has been advanced to offer crisper colours with more definition when used outside in natural light, plus a built-in microphone has been incorporated. The PSP-3000 will be sold standalone for a recommended retail price of $299.95.

SCE Aust. confirmed it will not be introducing the limited edition 160GB PS3 announced by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe at the 2008 Games Convention Developers Conference (GCDC) held in Leipzig, Germany. However, the new Wireless Keypad peripheral for PS3 will be launched in Australia before the end of the year. The Bluetooth® enabled accessory is designed to fit precisely into the unique shape of SIXAXIS™ and DUALSHOCK®3 wireless controllers, allowing users to enjoy text chat communication more easily and comfortably in their hands. In addition to the keypad for text input, a Touch Pad Button enables PS3 users to use the entire surface of the keypad as a touch pad, allowing them to easily manoeuvre the pointer while web browsing, simply by sliding their finger on the keypad surface. Also, two shortcut buttons, a Communication Button and a Message Box Button, are placed on the lower part of the Wireless Keypad, enabling users to jump to pre-set features on XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) such as "Friends" and "Message Box" during game play, which help users to easily communicate with each other.

Leading Software Line-up

From now until Christmas, a host of flagship titles only available on PS3 are set to be released, utilising the capacity of the Blu-ray Disc™ format and connectivity of PLAYSTATION Network that no other platform can offer. From the eagerly anticipated sequels of the two top selling PS3 titles to date; first person shooter Resistance 2™ and brutal off-road racing romp, MotorStorm® Pacific Rift, to the unique world of Sackboy in LittleBigPlanet™ - a game that so defies convention that it's been given it its own genre: creative gaming.

The SingStar franchise also continues to go from strength to strength, with new PlayStation 2 and PS3 titles arriving before Christmas. PlayStation 2 will add SingStar Singalong With Disney to its catalogue of hits, while on PS3, SingStar® Vol. 3 Party Edition will be released in the lead up to Christmas. New downloadable song packs from SingStore™ will also be launched by the end of the year, beginning with two from the ever popular Queen. SCE Aust. also confirmed that one of its other leading social gaming franchises, Buzz!™, will expand its offering on PSP, with new title, Buzz!™: Brain Bender, set to hit shelves before Christmas.

Coming to PS3 in 2009 is EyePet, developed by the studio that created SingStar and EyeToy™. Using PLAYSTATION Eye, EyePet creates a loveable, simian-like pet that lives in your living room and is captured second by second on your TV. Working in 'Augmented Reality', EyePet is fully aware of people in the room and will interact with both you and its environment. Also hitting Australian shores next year is the highly anticipated new Quantic Dream title, Heavy Rain™. An industry first, this interactive thriller uses the power of PS3 to let you control, rather than just watch, the story.

As part of its ongoing commitment since launch to continually enhance the value of the console, SCE. Aust confirmed that a new music video streaming service for PS3, courtesy of leading online music channel VidZone, will be arriving in Australia in early 2009. The service will appear on the XMB and allow users to stream their favourite videos on PS3 free of charge or download them to a mobile phone for a small fee.

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