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Goodbye, oh ye of little chrome
R.I.P. 20GB PlayStation 3, November 2006 - April 2007

When Sony announced the initial release details for the PlayStation 3, it did so revealing that there would be two different version of its new console. Like Microsoft’s strategy of offering consumers choice, Sony did so as well with a top-tier, full-featured 60GB model and a lesser, but still capable 20GB model.

The 20GB PlayStation 3 was revealed to lack notable features such as Wi-Fi and a memory card reader. HDMI also wasn’t part of the original 20GB spec, but the digital interface was later added in just months before launch.

Sony was always proud of both variants of its latest console, saying that both include hard disk drives—something that Microsoft could not claim. But now, it appears as though Sony is taking the choice of which console to buy away from the consumer.

Consumers have noticed that, while PlayStation 3 consoles are no longer hard to find, the 20GB version is puzzlingly rare, perhaps even on the brink of extinction.

It’s not a case of demand that’s suddenly making store shelves barren of the less expensive PS3. Internal documents from Best Buy revealed last month that the big box electronics retailer is now classifying the 20GB PS3 as discontinued. The memo is also reflected on the company’s online store, showing that only 60GB machines are available.

Is Sony quietly phasing out the 20GB model? Sony says no, saying that retailers simply aren’t ordering them. Sony Computer Entertainment America PR head David Karraker commented on the topic in late February, saying, “The type of model found in stores is completely up to what the retailer orders, so if they don't see a big demand for a particular SKU, they simply don't order it from us. We continue to manufacture both.”

Karraker gave a similar response when cornered with the topic in March, saying, “The 20GB model of PS3 is available in North America, along with the 60GB model. While we make it available to retailers, they are the ones who ultimately place the order for what they want to sell, based on consumer demand.”

“Overwhelmingly, retailers have been requesting the 60GB model, the mix has been about 80 percent 60GB, 20 percent 20GB retailer orders. So, the reason you might not be seeing the 20 GB is simply that retailers have been ordering more of the 60 GB unit,” Karraker added.

Representatives for Sony Computer Entertainment of America did not provide an updated comment on the recent retailer claims, though Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesperson for SCEI in Tokyo did offer to IDG, “The line-up [at SonyStyle] is decided based on market demand and so it's not surprising that they are not selling it on their Web site but if you go to a retailer you can find it.”

Retailers speaking with DailyTech are saying otherwise, however, showing that the 20GB PlayStation 3 hasn’t been on the order sheets for months now. “The word I get from head office is that the 20GB has been discontinued across the country,” said Chris P., manager of an EB Games store. “I’d like to have at least a couple 20GB [consoles] on hand to offer customers who get sticker shock [from the price of the 60GB model], but I haven’t seen any on order for months.”

The situation is no different north of the border, as Future Shop in Canada lists only the 60GB model in its PlayStation 3 console section. A Future Shop employee confirmed, “I haven’t seen any of the 20GB [consoles] since the new year. We had quite a few up until Christmas, but not many since then – probably none since the price went up. We get shipments of 60GB [consoles] all the time, though.”

Perhaps most telling of all is the absence of the 20GB PlayStation 3 from Sony’s own online store, SonyStyle. Both consoles were once listed under the PlayStation 3 section, but now only the 60GB model exists. The 20GB console is also no longer listed on GameStop, EB Games, The Source, Circuit City, Radio Shack, FRYS, Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, to name a few.

The 20GB console served the purpose of bringing fully-functional and viable PS3 gaming to those either on a budget or without need for the extra features. For home theater enthusiasts, the 20GB PlayStation 3 was one of the best and least expensive Blu-ray players on the market. But the writing may have been on the wall for quite some time now. It was revealed back in November that Sony is losing roughly $307 USD for every 20GB PS3 that it sells versus a smaller $241 USD hit for the more expensive 60GB version.

Despite what the official line is from Sony, market surveys confirm that the 20GB PlayStation 3 is dead – may it rest in peace.



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Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By Cobra Commander on 4/11/2007 9:36:07 AM , Rating: 3
For what benefit does Sony have to claim ignorance (or lie depending on your PoV) about this? Do they not have the capacity to call a spade a spade? They're really disgusting with their media presence.




RE: Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By paydirt on 4/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By Verran on 4/11/2007 10:20:26 AM , Rating: 3
Did you read the article? It said that retailers have been saying they can't order the 20GB for a long time. Beyond that, Sony doesn't list it on their site either. With the laundry list of stores that no longer list it at all, I find it hard to believe it's just a lack of demand. Of all those stores in all those chains, some of them have got to want at least a few for the shelves.

So the question is: Why the deception? It makes sense to cut it with the lower demand and higher losses on the unit, but why lie about it?


RE: Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By Hawkido on 4/11/2007 10:53:20 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
“The word I get from head office is that the 20GB has been discontinued across the country,” said Chris P., manager of an EB Games store. “I’d like to have at least a couple 20GB [consoles] on hand to offer customers who get sticker shock [from the price of the 60GB model], but I haven’t seen any on order for months.”


This is a store manager speaking... He can only order form the company warehouse. The mother company is discontinuing inventory of this product. This particular comment has nothing to do with Sony. Please don't use your imagination to find stuff wrong with Sony, it is totally not needed. There are plenty of things to point and laugh at. Don't make stuff up or read personal bias into an article, it only weakens your position of being a Sony hater.


RE: Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By slacker57 on 4/11/2007 1:11:34 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, that particular comment did have "nothing to do with Sony," however, you're the one that quoted it, not the person you are responding to. So are you arguing with yourself? Maybe you're the one with the imagination?

If you take the whole scope of the article and not just your hand-picked example, a non-biased reader can logically conclude two things:
1) None of this article is official (except that Best Buy discontinued selling 20GB PS3s) It's really just speculation about Sony's intentions. Speculation, not imagination, which a free-speech society is allowed to do by law. (Well, they're allowed to imagine, too)
2) Even if it's not official now, it will probably turn out that 1 + 1 does in fact = 2, even if Sony is telling you that it doesn't.

It's not about "hating," it's about putting the pieces together, like a murder mystery, except much, much lamer:

quote:
Sony Computer Entertainment America PR head David Karraker commented on the topic in late February, saying, “The type of model found in stores is completely up to what the retailer orders, so if they don't see a big demand for a particular SKU, they simply don't order it from us. We continue to manufacture both.”


quote:
Perhaps most telling of all is the absence of the 20GB PlayStation 3 from Sony’s own online store, SonyStyle. Both consoles were once listed under the PlayStation 3 section, but now only the 60GB model exists.


So, it's elementary, my dear Watson:
Sony keeps making both, but you only see in stores what the stores want to sell. Sony's own store Only wants to sell the 60GB. Those two items don't match up. So what can we reasonably conclude? That somebody is not being totally honest with us.

Does this mean that they are absolutely lying to us about it and they really aren't making anymore 20GBs? We don't know. The Sony quote is 2 months old, so maybe tomorrow they'll come out and say for a fact there will be no more 20GBs. But it's not necesasrily imagination or bias or "hate." Nobody's making it up. Logically, people who are seeing a smokescreen are allowed to see it. Just because you don't see it that way doesn't mean, others can't.

And just as a general note: Don't tell people not to use their imagination. It's the most beautiful thing in the universe. :)


By Verran on 4/11/2007 1:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The console 20GB console is also no longer listed on GameStop, EB Games, The Source, Circuit City, Radio Shack, FRYS, Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, to name a few.

So you're telling me that of all these chains listed, every single one has decided internally to not list the 20GB even though it's supposedly available? I suppose that's also the case for the Sony store itself then, right? Of all of those stores, not one has any desire to list even a single 20GB model on their sites?

Come on, it's obvious what's going on. And given Sony's downright insulting PR as of late, I have no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt. They clearly cut the line because they were losing too much on it, but they're lying about it so they can still list a SKU at the lower price to appease the sticker-shocked crowd.


By akugami on 4/11/2007 1:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'd bump you up to 5 but you forgot this little doozy from about a week back. It seems that while Sony has not discontinued the 20GB PS3 (according to Sony), Sony's own stores, the Sony Style stores have taken any listing of the PS3 out. Check link below.

http://tinyurl.com/2pq2sy


By AMDZen on 4/11/2007 11:09:20 AM , Rating: 5
I think its you who didn't read the article. Obviously Sony discontinued the 20 GB model and simply haven't told anyone or are blatently lieing about it.


RE: Unsurprised, but why the smokescreen?
By jay401 on 4/11/2007 1:02:02 PM , Rating: 5
You know one of these days Destro or Serpentor is gonna show up here and berate you for spending your time posting comments on tech blogs instead of planning Cobra's global domination and the defeat of G.I. Joe.


By spindoc on 4/11/2007 1:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Since I can't rate this up to 5 myself, I must comment.

LOL!! Best comedic post of the week for sure. And it's only Wednesday.

Cobra Commander was always such a bungler.

Nice one!


By Cobra Commander on 4/11/2007 6:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
Destro is my bitch.
Serpentor... well, I have to stay coiled and ready to strike.

...sorry, that was lame. I tried though.


Phantom SKU
By BMFPitt on 4/11/2007 9:28:31 AM , Rating: 2
I was going to write that it kind of surprising. I figured they would officially keep it around but just stop shipping units just to say that you can get a PS3 for $499. Then I read the article and it turns out I was right.




RE: Phantom SKU
By mars777 on 4/11/2007 1:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
but this is maybe a future plan tu reduce the shipping cost of the 60Gb model.
and that would be good news
since the 20gb model was loosing 30$ more than the the 60 maybe a small drop in price is possible...


RE: Phantom SKU
By mars777 on 4/11/2007 1:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
ah and please note that it's not all about the US where the ps3 is selling worse than anywhere on earth... :)
a drop in price in the EU of 30$ woul be very apreciated.


It makes sense.
By Mitch101 on 4/11/2007 9:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
This makes sense since Im sure its probably inconvenient to make 20gb drives anyhow and Im sure the platter density of the company making them is probably taking platters that would be 60gb or more and only formatting 20gb worth.

Could just about replace the 20gb with a memory stick soon. Would be a nice option no heat or noise and save on space.




RE: It makes sense.
By aos007 on 4/11/2007 12:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
The 2.5" notebook hard drive doesn't contribute to either noise or heat of the PS3 in any meaningful way.


RE: It makes sense.
By Mitch101 on 4/11/2007 2:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
Then its just a smart move on sony's part or a dumb one.

*Smart because they lose less per console.
*Smart because they get the majority of people to 60gb base which can only help them if they have a movie over IP deal.
*Smart because Im sure they are paying a premium for 20gig vs 60gb and more mainstream. Hence why they lose less with 60gb drives.
*Smart because 60gb notebook drives are made by many companies and Im sure many dont make 20Gb drives any more.

Dumb because they lose a cheaper console but then someone looking for the PS3 20gb savings might not be able to afford the games for it anyhow and thats why they may have bought the cheaper console.

I think Sony made the right move.


funny!
By Moishe on 4/11/2007 11:30:13 AM , Rating: 5
I love the circular reasoning... very cool.
Sony - We accept all orders for 20GB PS3s
Retailers - The product is not on the order sheet...
Sony - But if you were to order it we'd ship it!
Retailers - But we can't order it.
Sony - Yes, but if you could, we'd ship it :)

heh... I don't care of Sony is discontinuing it and in fact it seems like a smart move considering the cost, but I don't understand the deception, it doesn't gain them anything.




Happy I sold mine right after I bought it last autumn
By Iroh on 4/11/2007 8:54:58 AM , Rating: 2
or do you think they will now be worth more because of their rarity?

Oh well.

8^P




By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/11/2007 9:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't matter, this was expected since PS3 demand is low. Easier to make just 1 SKU and make what you can on it.


By Rookierookie on 4/11/2007 10:48:02 AM , Rating: 3
Which is worse: a product that no one can order, or a product that no one wants to order? It would seem to me that the latter is worse, and in any case if no one wants to order any 20GB PS3s, Sony has to discontinue them sooner or later.




Sony's reasoning
By madoka on 4/11/2007 12:30:57 PM , Rating: 3
I suspect the reason why they refuse to officially state that the $500 is dead is for PR purposes. If they did, then all of a sudden the only model they have is $600 and therefore the price gap between the PS3 and other consoles is even more glaring.




Where's Michal1980?
By Vanilla Thunder on 4/11/2007 5:12:00 PM , Rating: 3
Where is the international defender of Sony when I would most expect to see him? Maybe next time.....




It does not really matter
By Darthefe on 4/11/2007 10:11:52 AM , Rating: 2
I dont really cares 20GB model i never really liked it and they should really have had Wi-Fi for the 20GB. Thats all i have to say and and also they should keep the 20GB for people with a lower Budget




Why Sony
By medavid16 on 4/11/2007 10:29:18 AM , Rating: 2
Why is Sony so full of it, I am a PS3 fan, I love the PS3, but damn, if you discontinued something or show little to no support for a product, it's dead, just admit it. I think Sony considers the public to be some kind of cattle of idiots or something, wth.




Too bad
By geddarkstorm on 4/11/2007 2:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, sucks for us standard, low income consumers. $100 bucks more may not seem like much to many people, but it's a mountain for where I'm at.

Ah well, consolidating its consol into one teir may benefit Sony in the long run as when people say "PS3" you won't have to ask "Which one?". Less choices for us consumers, but if it can lead Sony into lowering the main price in the concievable future, then it's a good thing I think.




Is Sony telling the truth?
By wallijonn on 4/11/2007 4:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Representatives for Sony Computer Entertainment of America did not provide an updated comment on the recent retailer claims, though Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesperson for SCEI in Tokyo did offer to IDG, ..."

They very well may be BOTH telling the truth, with SCEA dropping the sku and SCEI or SCEJ (Sony Computer Entertainment of Japan) NOT dropping the sku. In other words, SCEA decided on their own not to sell it, but Japan didn't tell them not to.




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