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Henning’s PS3 Soapbox: Sony Needs Two PS3 Models |

Someone e-mailed me earlier this month asking if the 80GB PS3 was being discontinued. He mentioned that his Best Buy didn’t have it on order anymore. Now it seems that no BestBuy will be selling the 80GB PS3 anymore.

When I first heard that Sony would be selling two models – the 20GB and 60GB PLAYSTATION 3’s, I was disappointed. Why confuse people? Why not just have one console and be done with it? But now I’m starting to see the light, and just when I start to see why a dual-SKU might be necessary, it looks like Sony might be moving to a single PS3 model in North America. (After all, they’ve already done so in other regions.)

So why do I think Sony should stick with a two-model approach? Here’s why:

  • Lose Less Money
    The current 40GB model is the cheapest PS3 Sony has produced so far. If the rumours are true, Sony is basically selling this unit at cost, instead of at a loss. Sony needs to be able to start making some money or at least not losing money on these consoles. So Sony needs a popular offering that does not break the bank for them.
  • Sony Needs a Highend Offering
    Microsoft is selling a high-end Elite solution, and Sony needs to counter that with an offering of their own. Not only that, but 40GB of space is lots for some people, but for others (especially those in other territories who will have a PVR built into the PS3 soon), it’s not enough. So we need an option with more disc space. I suggest that Sony upgrade the 80GB PS3 to 120GB.
  • Sony Needs BC
    Sony needs a model with PS2 backwards compatibility. I use the BC in my PS3 quite often, and I think it’s great. I wish it was even better! (Some of my games don’t work.) Sony had previously made a commitment to BC, and I think that they should honour that commitment by keeping the higher priced SKU with BC.
  • Stay Price Competitive
    The competition is priced much better than the PS3 right now, and the PS3 needs to stay competitive. Say what you will about value in the box, the fact is that the 40GB PS3 is $399, which is still a lot of money, though doable.
  • You Decide!
    Are there any other reasons?

What do you think?

Other Soapbox Rants

  • Darrin

    I see both sides

    Pro Multi-SKU: Cater to more types of users. Many features are better delivered integrated rather than as add-ons (personally, I would hate having to buy an add-on memory card reader or separate optical drive). Some want minimal systems for less money. Other users want premium features and are willing to pay for it. Also, different features are important to different users.

    Pro Single-SKU: Less confusion. This isn’t complicated for the hardcore (anyone who reads sites like this), but for the mass market who don’t read about games, this is very confusing. Look at how much people like the Wii: only one SKU, no high-priced “elite” option, just nice and simple. It’s also easier on the manufacture/inventory/retail end to have fewer models.

    My PS3 dream SKU: Extra RAM for Linux use. This would *kill* other HTPC’s and equivalent systems from Dell and Apple. Imagine a full-blown Linux PC with Blu-Ray, and PS3 games support, with the PS3 looks and form factor for $500.

  • ehandlr

    I have a theory and some rumors

    My theory is the current 80 gig sku is getting abolished for a new (possibly 80 gig) sku with the Dual Shock 3.


    – White PS3 at FCC for approval (Fact)
    – Sony found cheaper way to make blu-ray lasers (Fact)
    – 120 gig HDD to come (Rumor)
    – $299.99 sku (rumor)

    Ultimately I think they are using this oppurtunity to create a false shortage like they did with the 60 gig to spurn sales.

  • JimmyStewart

    I’m in agreement on this. I really think they do need a second console. A 40gb hard drive just isn’t big enough. I’ve got a 60 and a 40 at home and once you take into account the space you actually get, and the size of some game installs… I’ll put it this way. My 60gb is already over half full and I have a handful of demos and PSN games on there. That’s it. I’m scared to put much of anything on my 40gb.

    I’m hoping that the 120gb rumors come true, but I could see them still keeping the BC out of the system. Like they said before, they want to encourage PS3 game sales… which isn’t exactly a bad move for the system. I know in the early days of the PS3… mine was used almost entirely for playing PS2 games. I can’t really blame them for wanting to try and encourage game sales. Without proving that they can move more games I think a lot of companies will be weary of making the jump to the PS3.

    Either way, I’m glad I got my 60gb when I did. I can be happy with that and at least I won’t have to worry about it red ringing. 😉

  • matt

    I think they are clearing the stock out to release the 80gig with DS3. For some reason I think BC is huge in the US. Sony not releasing a replacement might get people to jump at the 80gb which 1) is BC. 2) includes a $60 game for free.

    If you take out what I feel is a very marketable feature it can only hurt you. I personally don’t think BC is very important any more when you can just buy a new PS2 for the same price difference. If Sony advertises right they can sell more of both systems clearing out the PS2 stock.

    The main reason might be to remove BC so they can kill off the PS2 and get more people to convert to the PS3. Now is the time to get people to switch, the year of the major exclusives.

  • Mike

    Do you know there in US that in Scandinavia PS3 costs about 465 euros (about 683 $).

    So actually the price in US is very cheap comparing to Scandinavia.

  • François

    They need to get as cheap as they can get because the US economy is not going well these days…

  • Another Mike

    They need to stay price competitive above all else. If ditching B/C was the key to that, than so be it. I can see offering a higher end system but that really shouldn’t be the focus of their efforts. Since the PS3 hard drives can be replaced manually it’s not as big of a deal as the Xbox 360 elite where the only alternative to getting a better hard drive is the ridiculous prices Microsoft charges at retail.

    They should also let people know that it is a future proof Blu-Ray player unlike some other models on the market. The future profile updates won’t render it obsolete like some of the stand alone models. If they can get it to $299 this year it would be an undeniable value for the games that are coming out and its quality as a Blu-Ray player.

  • west coast ps3

    The 60 GB form factor is a bit small. It took me a year to fill it up, and now I am considering a 250 GB upgrade. The plan so far is to get a 250 GB external laptop drive at Costco (for say 120$) and swap the two drives. Or I can just go on a deletion rampage and free up more space.

    Extra RAM would be nice. Consoles always seem to not have enough RAM, and RAM is cheap…I’d rather the machine shipped with twice as much RAM and a small hard drive (that I can replace).

  • Darrin

    A rumor that a new SKU will replace the 80GB SKU link

    I hope the new SKU has PS2 BC in case I ever want to buy a second PS3.

  • Specter

    The latest spin on this rumor is that Sony is planning to release 120GB and a 160GB versions with the duel shock 3 controller to replace the current 80GB. This makes sense. If this is true there will be no need to miss the 80GB when it’s gone

  • As long is it still has BC and 4 USB ports! They come in handy when playing Rock Band!