By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has today announced a significant price drop for the PlayStation 3, cutting the price by $150. As of 22 August 2011, the 160GB hard disk drive model will sell for RRP $349.95, while the larger 320GB hard disk drive model will be RRP $449.95.

Beyond its gaming credentials, the PS3 features a Blu-ray disc player and dedicated HDMI terminal and offers access to a library of over 60,000 games and videos on Sony’s PlayStation Network (which also allows users to stream movies, TV shows and music).

The PlayStation 3.

In addition to the PS3 discounting, SCE also announced the arrival of a new PlayStation Portable (PSP) device today, set to hit stores in November 2011.

The Charcoal Black PSP-E1000 will “allow access to the entire PSP catalogue of games,” according to a SCE spokesperson. “The new line-up PSP offers gamers of all ages not only the best value, but also the quality gaming experiences and the biggest franchises, that PlayStation is known for.”

The new model will “have a slightly different aesthetic” but it will not offer Wi-Fi connectivity. It is set to retail for RRP $139.95

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In other news, SCE also announced today that the as-yet-unreleased PlayStation Vita will feature dedicated applications for Facebook, foursquare, Skype and Twitter. The apps will be available from the PlayStation Store to be downloaded directly to the gaming device free of charge.

“PS Vita users will not only be able to enjoy the immersive rich gaming content but through the addition of these social networking services and communications widely used around the globe will also have an easy access and greater opportunity to enjoy communicating with friends by simply selecting the dedicated application,” said an SCE spokesperson.

“PS Vita, as the next generation portable entertainment system, will deliver an unrivaled entertainment experience, through close collaboration with various social networking services and communications.”

The device will be launched in Japan by the end of 2011, with releases in the US and Europe to follow early next year. Pricing and release dates for Australia are yet to be announced.

The PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console.