Sony announces console price drops at Gamescom

Sony has taken to the stage at Gamescom to confirm that it is cutting the price of the PlayStation 3 console, although not as much as was originally hoped, and launching a cut-down PSP for the budget crowd.

Addressing attendees of the annual gaming conference, Sony explained that it would be reducing the PS3's retail price from £250 to £199 with immediate effect, bringing the console closer to the price of rival Microsoft's Xbox 360.

The UK price drop is part of a world-wide reduction in retail price which was rumoured to be on the way last month, although doesn't go as far as the £179 figure Sony was allegedly considering for the entry-level PS3 Slim.

At the same time, Sony offered a few more details of the PlayStation Vita - previously known as the Next-Generation Portable, or NGP - hand-held console, including the fact that it will ship as standard with apps for social networking giant Facebook, microblogging service Twitter, and voice-over-IP specialist Skype. Sadly, the company didn't go so far as to confirm a release date.

The PS3 wasn't the only device in Sony's arsenal to get a price cut at Gamescom: to better compete with Nintendo's 3DS, which has enjoyed impressive sales since the company slashed the price by around a third, Sony is launching the PSP E-1000, a cut-down PlayStation Portable which ditches Wi-Fi connectivity to hit the magic price point of €99.

Exclusive to Europe, the PSP E-1000 is fully compatible with all PlayStation Portable games, but features no way of connecting to the Internet - making many of its features, such as content download from a PS3 console and streaming video services, completely redundant.

Sony has yet to confirm UK pricing for the PSP E-1000, but it will definitely hit shelves below the magic £100 barrier.