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E3 08: New PS3 model, lower prices and PSN games galore

This year's E3 press conferences might have been a tad on the dull side in terms of big revelations - Final Fantasy XIII ZOMG-fest notwithstanding - but Sony has pulled a few interesting smaller announcements out of its big corporate sleeve today.

Firstly, a new 80GB PS3 will go on sale in Europe, priced at 399 Euros (£299), and the price of the existing 80GB model in the US will be slashed down to $399.99. The European machine is going to hit stores on 27 August this year, and the American machine will be unleashing its new, friendlier price tag in September. Though note that the machine was described as having the same functionality as the current 40GB model, so keep an eye out for future reports of absent SD card slots and PS2 emulation. No official word on those just yet though.


Above: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty is already like a massage to the eyeballs

In similar value-oriented news, both continents will be getting their own budget software range, dubbed 'Greatest Hits' in the US and 'Platinum' in Europe. The ranges will retail at $29.99 and 29.99 Euros (about £23.70) respectively. The US will initially get Resistance: Fall of Man, Motorstorm, Warhawk, Call of Duty 3, Fight Night Round 3, Need For Speed Carbon, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Assassin's Creed, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Ninja Gaiden Sigma, wheras the EU will be blessed with newly encheapened releases of Heavenly Sword, MotorStorm, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Virtua Tennis 3, Assassin’s Creed and WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 08. The range launches on the 1st of August in Europe and at some non-specific date later this year in the US, but don't expect it to take too long to appear over there.

And finally, the PSN is getting some exciting new downloadable love (stop it). First up, and arguably most significant, is the expansion to Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, which sees a Clankless Ratchet searching the galaxy for loot and his little robot buddy. It's obviously going to be a significantly smaller game than its predecessor, but at $14.99 for a game that looks every bit as beautiful it would be mighty rude to complain.


Above: Yes, yes she is

Also announced are Crash Commando, which looks a bit like a cartoony Contra; Flower, the fittingly arty follow-up to ambient PSN joy flOw; and Rag Doll Kung Fu, a physics-based beat 'em up which looks more than a little like Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You can check out our review of the original PC version here.

And in a fit of unashamed immaturity, probably our favourite of the current PSN line-up is a game called Fat Princess. It looks to be a castle defence/RTS game in which your prime goal is to feed your princess full of food until she's too much of a great big heffer for the opposing army to carry away. As Justin said upon hearing about it, "There just aren't enough games about the morbidly obese," and this one sounds like a hoot.

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