By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Sony Australia has today announced a significant price drop for its new PlayStation 3 model. The new model is slimmer than the original design, is ‘charcoal’ black and will retail for RRP $499. This is a $200 – or 28 per cent – reduction in price for the previous RRP of $699.

Due to be on sale on 3 September 2009, the new PS3 has a 120-gigabyte hard drive, two-thirds the power consumption of the original PS3, a compact body and a new design with a “textured surface finish”. As with previous PS3 models, a Blu-ray player is included.

Both Sony Australia and Sony Global have been open in revealing that this price drop is intended to stimulate sales leading into Christmas. As witnessed at last week’s Sony Blu-ray media event, Sony is also very keen to push Blu-ray technology into more and more homes, with the group’s cinema arm, Sony Pictures, set to release a number of highly anticipated titles between now and the end of the year.

It is worth noting that this price reduction is a global initiative, with Sony’s statement to media also including the revised prices of its models in other countries. As a comparison, based on today’s exchange rates, and not taking into account costs associated with transport, logistics and local taxes, the international prices translate to the following in Australian dollars:

United States: $362
Europe (Euro): $511
Japan: $383
New Zealand: $513

In other Sony PlayStation 3 news this morning, the company has announced a new logo to support the PS3 brand, and a new styling. Whereas Sony previously styled the console as ‘PLAYSTATION 3’, it will now be styled ‘PlayStation 3’.