Sony files paperwork with the FCC for an 80GB PS3

With the announcement of Microsoft's 120GB Xbox 360 Elite, the $479 console doubles the storage capacity of Sony's range topping 60GB PlayStation 3. According to paperwork filed with the FCC earlier this month (PDF), Sony will introduce an 80GB PS3 for users looking for a smidge more disk space.

Although the FCC cover letter doesn't go into detail, it's plausible that the 80GB PS3 model would replace the existing $599 60GB PS3. For all the flak that Sony has gotten over pricing with the PS3, it seems unlikely that the company would introduce an even higher priced SKU to differentiate between the 60GB and 80GB models.

The 80GB revelation comes a day after a SCEA’s Peter Dille downplayed the introduction of the Xbox 360 Elite.  “Microsoft is trying to catch up to us at this point. Beyond the benefits of HDMI and a hard drive offered on every PS3 we make, we also provide game developers and consumers the huge capacity of Blu-ray disc, Wi-Fi, free online gameplay, wireless motion sensing controller and the power of Cell,” said Dille. “Our strategy has always been to offer all our consumers a future-proof experience when they first purchase any PS3, rather than continually asking users to upgrade with expensive new add-ons and entire new SKUs.”

Although the 80GB HDD may be a welcome addition for gamers looking to buy a PS3 in the future, Sony has already made provisions within the console to allow users to easily upgrade their drives. Whereas Microsoft forces users to buy a proprietary hard drive to upgrade the storage on their Xbox 360s, Sony allows owners to upgrade their 2.5” HDD at any time without restrictions or any fear of voiding the console’s warranty.

For its part in the recent reveal of the FCC documentation, a Sony spokesperson had this to say, "As mentioned when we made the product announcement for PS3, the system will have different configurations (thus, 60GB HDD with memory card slots and Wi-Fi and 20GB HDD without memory card slots or Wi-Fi both exist). Application to the FCC has been made with various possibilities in mind, however, it does not lead to a new product announcement at this time."

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