In an unexpected move, Sony has announced an 80GB PlayStation 3 console to be released in North America this August.

The new piece of hardware will be launched in a bundle with a copy of MotorStorm and retail for $599 (£300).

In addition, Sony has finally let on that the rumours flying around last week regarding a price cut for the 60GB model were true.

Effective immediately, it will now be on sale across the United States for £499 (about £250).

There’s been nothing heard of plans for the 80GB version of the console to be released in Europe or Japan.

But perhaps more importantly for PlayStation fans this side of the pond, a Sony spokesperson has confirmed that a European price cut will be announced at the E3 gaming event this Thursday.

Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA commented:

"As we move into the next phase of PS3, it's important that we continue to evaluate our product line, offering consumers the technology and features that meet their growing needs."

"The introduction of the 80GB PS3, the new pricing for the current 60GB model, the availability of more than 100 new software titles this fiscal year and, finally, the expansion of services for PlayStation Network, will provide even more options for users and will help bring new consumers into the PS3 fold."

This move comes as the PlayStation 3 sales figures continue to disappoint both in America, and in Japan, where Sony's next-gen console is currently being outsold six to one by Nintendo's Wii.

News from Microsoft recently suggested they were unhappy with the Xbox 360's sales figures, missing a sales target by 400,000 units.