In a move that is probably going to shock no one, Sony has officially announced that the 20GB PlayStation 3 is no longer in production. The news comes hot on the heels of various reports citing a clear shortage of the 20GB consoles across all retailers and also the 20 giggers being dropped off retail lists. Sony claims that the decision was easy to make, as it was indirectly made by the general consensus. Sony cited a 10:1 sales ratio of the 60GB PS3 to the 20GB.
Aside from the difference in storage size, the other difference between the PS3s is a lack of wi-fi capability and media slots, which means that current 20GB PS3 owners have nothing to worry about in terms of game support and support from Sony. Unlike the Xbox 360, which has a unit without an HDD, because all PS3 systems have an HDD that means all of its games are developed the same way – so fear not. Likewise, 20GB owners can always swap out HDDs and add one of their choice for larger storage capacity. The official word from Sony's PR head-honcho Dave Karraker is:
"At launch, we offered two separate models of PLAYSTATION 3 to meet the diverse needs and interests of our PlayStation fan base. Initial retail demand in North America was upwards of ninety percent in favor of the 60GB sku, so we manufactured and shipped-in accordingly. Due to the overwhelming demand for the 60GB model from both retailers and consumers, we have ceased offering the 20GB model here in North America."
"In addition to the larger internal hard drive, the 60GB PlayStation 3 features added storage media slots and built-in Wi-Fi not found in the 20GB system. Based on retailer and consumer feedback, we have decided to focus our current efforts on the more popular 60GB model."
We're hoping that Sony fills in the price gap somehow. Sony should drop the PS3 by $50, putting them within $70 of the Xbox 360 Elite and still boasting more bang for the buck in terms of features.