An early screenshot of the memo  (Source: Best Buy)
Sony could be moving to a single SKU world

This console generation brought with it not only high-definition graphics, downloadable content, and seamless multiplayer experiences; it also introduced the concept of selling multiple variations of the same basic hardware.

While Microsoft isn’t shy to continually send new retail Xbox 360 SKUs to stores, Sony appears to be slimming down the choices for those looking for a PlayStation 3, if internal documents from a big box retailer are any indication.

An internal memo intended for Best Buy employees, obtained by PS3 Fanboy, informs that the 80GB PS3 is “going closeout.”

The full memo reads, “The 80GB version of the PS3 is going closeout and won’t be replaced at this time. I will come off the planogram on Jan. 28. The 60GB version should already be gone from stores. Only the 40GB version of the PS3 will be sold in Best Buy stores at this time. This means that there currently isn’t a version that is PS2 compatible.

“At this time, Sony hasn’t made any announcements about new products.”

If the Best Buy memo is indicative of the retail market in North America, then Sony could be moving towards a single production design – at least for now. The only variation between the SKUs in the coming future could be color.

A “ceramic white” PlayStation 3 console has been available in Japan since last Fall, and according to recent FCC filings, it could soon be landing in the U.S.

60GB machines are no longer produced for Europe and 20GB and 60GB machines were recently discontinued in Japan, leaving only the 40GB version.

Although sales numbers of PlayStation 3 consoles are available every month, Sony does not reveal the split in units between the 80GB and 40GB SKUs. Should the less expensive 40GB model sell significantly better than the 80GB, Sony may feel that its full attention should be put towards to promoting the most affordable system.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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