Two weeks ago we reported that Sony had sent the FCC a change in specification, asking permission to change the SKU of the 60GB PS3 to a PS3 unit with an 80GB hard-drive and a Bluetooth enhancement feature. That clearly meant that Sony was interested in lowering the price of the 60GB model, and having an 80GB replace it. Well, shortly after Sony denied the plan. But shortly after that, Sony also announced the end of production for the 20GB PS3 everywhere, but Japan.
And so, here we are again…this time an executive from Sony has all but confirmed the 80GB PS3 when speaking to Reuters. Satoshi Fukuoka went on to say that 'For users who vigorously store (games and other entertainment content) in the PS3, 20[GB] is probably going to be too small, and even 60[GB] may not be big enough eventually.'
Of course this news comes hot on the heels of Microsoft's latest Xbox 360 Elite announcement. But the difference is that Sony will not be increasing the price of their hardware – quite the opposite, actually. If/when the 80GB replaces the 60GB PS3, that'll likely mean that the 60GB unit will see a price-drop of some sort. Then again, it all depends on whether or not Sony wants to have only one SKU present for the PS3. Regardless, place your bets on a 60GB and 80GB PS3 sharing turf, sometime soon.
Lastly, Fukuoka mentioned that changes to the PS3 will not be just enlarged storage capacity, but that the system will be seeing quite a number of brand new features, and the removal of others. The removal of features will likely be features that are going to be replaced by alternatives (i.e. PS2 and PSOne emulation). And clearly, while HDDs get upgraded, don't expect the functionality of core components like the Cell, RSX, Blu-Ray drive, and network capability to change with future PS3 revisions.
Remember, if you do need more HD space, you are able to install any standard PC HDD into your PS3 without modifications.