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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Fate Of The 20GB PlayStation 3

SonyStyle drops the 20GB sku which triggers a new round of people wondering if Sony at large will drop the line completely. The unit is impossible to find in stores and actually sells for more than the 60GB on eBay - which should be some econ student's thesis paper somehow.

There is a substantial question as to why Sony would keep the 20GB around. It has done nothing to help the perception of the PS3's price point. Retailers are clearly not overly interested in keeping the unit on shelves. Consumers have some advantage with the product since the PlayStation 3 is friendlier to adding third party components than say, the 360 Core model, but the $100 price gap barely justifies this modularity.

Dropping the 20GB might make the manufacturing simpler and hence theoretically cheaper, but I would doubt we'd really see any benefit there. It generally takes major shifts like component prices or chip updates to see any significant drop in price and since Sony is already bleeding significantly red on the product - they're going to be slow to reduce the price.

However, removing the 20GB option would be a logical time to also announce a price cut to smooth the transition. Drop the entire line to one SKU and reduce the $599 tag to $549. I'd guess, though, that we wouldn't see this until there is another reason for the price drop to justify the new cost.

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