Foster City (CA) – Sony said that the Playstation 3 with the upgraded 80 GB hard drive is available now, while the remaining, price-reduced 60 GB models delivers a healthy sales increase for the company.
The new console sells for the regular $599 (U.S., $659 CND) the company charged for the 60 GB version until a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Sony continues to clear out the inventory of its remaining 60 GB models, which apparently are selling like hotcakes – at least when compared to previous PS3 sales. The $100 price reduction to $499 has resulted in a 113% jump in unit sales at the company's top five retailers, Sony said.
Other than previously indicated, the inventory of 60 GB PS3s is expected to be depleted sometime this fall. SCEE president David Reeves told reporters in July that the consoles were expected be gone by the end of July.
The 80 GB hard drives does not come particularly cheap at a premium of $100 over the 60 GB model, but even if buyers are getting more storage space for essentially the same price of the original PS3, the new model of has business objectives in mind. Sony is heavily promoting its online store and will be offering more than 100 games for download by the end of this year, according to information provided at the recent E3 Media Summit. And those games, of course, have to be stored somewhere.
At the time of this writing, the 80 GB PS3 was unavailable through the website of major U.S. retailers. According to Best Buy, the console is expected to be become available between August 13 and 18.