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80GB PS3 planned for the UK this summer?

UK retailers tell CVG to expect an 80GB PS3 over the summer

Retailers have told CVG that they expect the 80GB PS3 - currently out in the US - to hit UK stores by the end of the summer.

UK cash and carry superstore chain, Costco, told a CVG reader that it was clearing out its supply of 40GB PS3 units in preparation for the arrival of the 80GB consoles some time soon. But it's not the only retailer expecting the bigger console in the near future.

A HMV staffer told us that, although he had been given no confirmed release date by the retailer, he expects the 80GB console will "very likely" hit the UK soon, especially considering the 40GB PS3's inability to play PS2 games. The 80GB model in the US does include the functionally to play PS2 games.

PS3 customer services offered a similar answer, saying that its head office hadn't yet sent word of an 80GB UK release, but went on to add that it "may come soon", although there was no set date. The advice was "keep an eye on the PlayStation website." We could imagine the person on the other end of the phone winking while saying it.

One London indie games store, who wished to remain anonymous, even went so far as to say the 80GB SKU was on the way this summer. Before you get too excited though we've heard some dodgy stuff from indie stores before like, "Yeah, get Beowolf, it's great."

We dropped Sony a call only to get the official line of: "There's no official word on an 80GB PS3 coming to the UK". Not an outright denial though.

Speculation of a 120GB console was rife when SCE UK boss David Reeves said that he thought a 20GB increase (over the 60GB SKU) was too small, suggesting that doubling the hard drive size would be more worth it. "Maybe you'll see something a little bit later," he teased, with Sony's PR department later deeming it "rumour and speculation".

A bigger hard drive SKU this summer wouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering that the inevitably data-hungry Play TV will launch later this year.

A summer release might also line up nicely for a possible Metal Gear bundle - out June 12 - or for storing levels in LittleBigPlanet when that lands later in the year. Could there be a GTA IV bundle planned for further down the line? You'll know when we do.