$399 PS3 In November?

Could the cheapest Blu-ray Disc player on the market be about to get $100 cheaper? Hot on the heels of a UK announcement of a cheaper PlayStation3, speculation online began that a $399 US model would follow. The Hollywood Reporter cited industry sources that seem to be calling it a done deal, citing that the cheaper PS3 will hit US stores November 2nd.

According to these reports the $399 PS3 will sport two USB 2.0 ports instead of four, no backward compatibility with PS2 games, and a 40GB hard drive. The 60GB PS3 is currently at $499, which is the least expensive Blu-ray Disc player currently on the market in terms of MSRP.

The ramifications of this on Blu-ray's lead in the format war could be formidable. Player price is cited as a major factor by many industry prognosticators in the widespread adoption of HD on a disc, and so far player price has been an area in which HD DVD has maintained leadership. Nevertheless, the Blu-ray equipped PS3 is already the most prevalent next-gen disc player in the market by far, with approximately two million units sold in North America alone.

More PS3 games coming out all the time, and this holiday season will see a wealth of huge, hit movies coming to Blu-ray exclusively (Spider-Man 3, Ratatouille, and Live Free or Die Hard just to name a scant few). One can't help but think that a sub-$399 PS3 will find its way into a number of stockings out there this Christmas, offering a major opportunity for Blu-ray to further cement its lead in the format war.