By now, you're all well aware of the new 80GB PS3 model, scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. and Canada in August. Up until now, we figured it was exactly the same as the 60GB PS3, but only with a bigger hard drive. However, a leaked pic of the box's fine print has kicked off speculation that this new model will not include the graphics synthesizer chip necessary for full backwards compatibility.

Once you enlarge the pic, you'll see that it reads- "This product has limited backwards compatibility with PlayStation and PlayStation 2 format software … visit for system software update."

Sony did away with the chip in the European PS3 so as to save some money, and that machine approaches backwards compatibility in the same way the Xbox 360 does; through software emulation. It wouldn't really surprise anyone to hear the chip won't be included in the new PS3 model for the U.S., but it is a bit disappointing for those with large PS1 and PS2 libraries. It also begs the question- will even the 60GB PS3s soon lack this magic chip?

Perhaps Sony will clarify the situation during their upcoming press conference tomorrow, but for now, it certainly seems like that costly chip was a big bargain for those who purchased the PS3 during the first six months of its existence.

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