Apparently the price cut is only temporary.
Next Generation is reporting that it has received confirmation from Sony Europe that the company's American branch plans to phase out the 60GB PS3 by this holiday season.
Responding to an email inquiry, a SCEE rep told the site that there will "only be one SKU going into the holiday season." Apparently Sony will sell its existing stock of 60GB consoles, and begin manufacturing only the 80GB model instead.
Clearly, this means that this week's price cut on the 60GB model is merely a way to clear out existing inventory, and not a competitive move aimed at providing a lower price point long term. While we fail to see the logic in having the $599 80GB PS3 as your only SKU when the 60GB model has already failed to sell well at that price point, we do see the reasoning behind the move. First and foremost, Sony wants as many people as possible to have the additional storage space the 80GB provides for digital distribution. Also, the new 80GB PS3 models do not include the PS2's Emotion Engine for backwards compatibility, unlike the 60GB model, and that will save the company additional manufacturing costs long-term.
It's worth noting however that the company just announced a new 60GB Starter Pack for Europe, which comes bundled with both MotorStorm and Resistance: Fall of Man. Whether this pack is merely a way to clear out stock in Europe, or if it means that SCEE plans to stick with the 60GB model long-term, is unclear at this time.
Source: Next Generation
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