Sony’s 60GB PS3 has come a long way since its introduction nearly
a year ago. When the console went on sale in mid-November, it was lambasted for
its $599 price tag. The console then suffered a loss in April when its fraternal
twin, the 20GB PS3, was killed off by Sony.
Early last month, Sony gave the 60GB PS3 a $100 price cut to
help boost sales and introduced
a new 80GB SKU to occupy the $599 price point. Sony also threw in a copy of
MotorStorm with the 80GB PS3 to keep gamers happy.
The price cut did the
trick and sales boomed for the PS3. Sony went from 98,000 units sold in
June to 159,000
units sold in July.
It now appear that the end of the road is nigh for the 60GB
PS3. Sony reports that it no longer has inventory of 60GB PS3s in its
warehouses and the only units left are those on the way to retailers (or those
that are already in retailer warehouses and on store shelves).
"We no longer have any inventory in SCEA warehouses.
All inventory has been purchased and shipped to retailers," said SCEA
communications officer Dave Karraker. "We don't have visibility as to
if that is on their store shelves or in their warehouses at this time. However,
based on inventory reports from our retailers, there is ample supply still left
in the channel."
Once the remaining stocks of
60GB PS3s are depleted, that will leave the $599 80GB PS3 as the sole SKU.
What Sony does at that point is still up for debate.
Sony could leave the price tag at $599 and risk stalling the
sales gains that it has made in the past two months. On the other hand, many
analysts are predicting that the 80GB model will take the price point of the
discontinued 60GB model to help drive sales. An 80GB PS3 with a free game for
$499 could be quite the bargain for many gamers out there.
While the 80GB PS3 would
still be down 40GB and $50 more expensive compared to the Xbox 360 Elite, the
included MotorStorm title, WiFi and
Blu-ray drive may push the tide back into Sony’s court -- at least in the
high-end market. The deal could be even sweeter when you consider that Sony is
still running its five
free Blu-ray movie promotion through September 30 for the PS3.
We will just have to wait to see which path Sony decides to
take with the 80GB PS3. "We won't be making any further announcements
regarding our PS3 model hardware strategy in North America until the 60GB model
is exhausted and market conditions are evaluated," said a Sony representative.