New PS3 Model Means Price Cuts Soon?

Sony unveiled a new 80GB PS3 model today, scheduled to launch this June in the broadband-pervasive South Korea. The news comes amid slow sales of the pricey console and just one month after pulling the cheaper 20GB version from North American shelves.

“At this time there are no concrete plans [to sell the 80GB model in other markets],” said one company spokesman, speaking with PC World. However, Sony also denied rumors of the newest PS3 back in March, despite filing a change request with the FCC that mentioned the 80GB’s existence.

The common belief behind the new move is that Sony may be prepping for an earlier-than-expected price drop of the PS3’s steep $599 MSRP. What better way to do it than by introducing a larger capacity machine whilst dropping the current 60GB model to $499?

Even then it will take at least a $200 reduction in price before consumers resolve to buy the system en masse, independent of upcoming games in the pipeline. Don’t get me wrong; the PS3’s technology is extremely impressive and probably worth the asking price. It’s just that Sony overestimated most gamers’ willingness to swallow the pricetag, when originally deciding to include the costly Blu-ray and Cell processor. Porsches are really nice and easily worth the money, but way more people drive Toyotas.

Beyond the bigger hard drive, company officials said the new PS3 shares the exact specifications as the 60GB version. It launches June 16 for 518,000 won (US$581).

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