Sony Kills 20-Gbyte PlayStation 3 In U.S - InformationWeek

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Sony Kills 20-Gbyte PlayStation 3 In U.S

Consumers and retailers favored the more expensive 60-Gbyte version 10 to 1.

Sony has hit the off button on the 20-Gbyte PlayStation 3 in North America, saying consumers and retailers favored the more expensive 60-Gbyte version 10 to 1.

The Japanese consumer electronics maker on Wednesday said it would continue to sell the $499 20-Gbyte model until supplies are depleted. Consumers who bought the machine will still receive full support and services, since all PS3s have the same basic architecture.

"Basically, the consumers spoke and they prefer the advanced features found on the 60-Gbyte model," Dave Karraker, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment America, said in an e-mail.

While the PlayStation carries more processing power than its rivals the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and Nintendo's Wii, it's also considerably more expensive. The 60-Gbyte version costs $599, while the Xbox 360 sells for $200 less and the Wii sells for $350 less.

The Wii has been the best selling video console since its release last November, the same month Sony started selling the PS3. Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 a year earlier. Analysts have said that Sony needs to cut the price of the console, and work with developers in building a variety of great games to guarantee the long-term success of the PS3. The company, however, has said it has no intentions of cutting prices, saying the console is selling well. Sony has said it expects to report sales of 6 million PS3 when it releases fourth quarter earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Consumer preference for the more expensive PS3 points to a market for high-end game consoles, Karraker said. "I suppose one could surmise that this also supports the notion that consumers are willing to pay more for advanced technology in a gaming console," he said. In addition to the larger hard drive, the 60-Gbyte PS3 features storage media slots and built-in Wi-Fi not found in the 20-Gbyte system.

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