Will the real PlayStation 3 please stand up?

Perhaps coming as a big surprise to everyone, it appears the recently introduced 80GB PS3 will not be the wave of the future as initially expected. Rather, it will be the even more recent 40GB model, which Sony described as an "entry level" system. According to a recent games.iafrica.com interview with Steve Foster, Sales & Marketing Manager of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, the 60GB and 80GB models will be phased out over time, and the one and only PS3 available worldwide will be the 40GB version. Here's the exact quote from the interview:

"The model of choice, going forward, is going to be the 40GB," said Foster. "So when you say the 60GB is going to be phased out, that is absolutely correct. And our manufacturing plant has already stopped production of 60GB…" He goes on to confirm this is a "worldwide" decision.

Obviously, this means many of the features we originally saw in the 60GB model aren't going to be around, which may puzzle some consumers. iAfrica asked Foster about those missing features, and as it turns out, he's not all that concerned and doesn't really consider them to be crucial.

"When you say "features" the key elements that are missing is going to be an element of hard drive, but that has come about because of the research that we've done as to what is the required amount that is used at this stage; the type of user that is using a PS3. And then yes, the ports have been taken out so there are only two USB ports, and then of course the memory stick ports have been taken out."

Foster confirms the reason for doing this is to cut production costs of the system: "making a PS3 in a 60GB or 80GB model is very expensive," he said. With the holidays here, Sony apparently realized they needed to cut the price, and thus, the 40GB model was born. Unfortunately for those of you with big PS2 libraries, this model in no way supports any PS2 titles, although it will support PS1 games. Foster said the only software updates that will happen in the 40GB model will be for PS1 games, and "PlayStation 2 will not be supported."

Okay, so bottom line- if you want either the 60GB model (there are a few still around) or the 80GB model, we strongly suggest you act now. Because it won't be long before there is only one option, and it's gonna be the one with the least amount of features. However, it will also be the most competitively priced one, and to Sony and most consumers, that's what really matters in the long run.

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