Sony really needs to think a bit more about their pricing schemes. First, the PS3 was too expensive: The former $599 model which featured a 60GB hard drive has really been the only model worth owning since launch — so much so that Sony discontinued the $499 20GB model altogether. Now they’re dropping the 60GB model to $499 and introducing a new superfluous SKU, a $599 80GB model. This begs the question: Why?!
Sure, the new 80GB model comes with a free copy of Motorstorm, one of the few must-have PS3 titles thus far, but even then you’re paying $40 for an extra 20GB of storage which you will most likely not need. Unlike the 20GB/60GB models, wherein the more expensive model featured Wi-Fi and media card slots, the only difference between the new 80GB model and the 60GB is the disk space. That’s it.
I predict we’ll see history repeat itself, and this 80GB model will go the way of the 20GB model simply because there’s very little reason to justify the extra cost if you don’t want Motorstorm. If Motorstorm is on your radar, then the deal may be a bit more tempting.
Let’s not forget that the PS3 is expandable with any 2.5″ (laptop-sized) SATA hard drive. You could just as easily buy the $499 60GB PS3 and upgrade in a year or two when you find yourself running low on disk space. At that point, you’ll probably be able to find a 200GB laptop hard drive for $100 or under. Right now you can get a 120GB laptop drive for that price.
Despite the existence of the 80GB option, the 60GB model will remain the more important one because it’s now that much closer to being price competitive with the $399 Xbox 360 Premium and the $480 Xbox 360 Elite. It’s a vast improvement over the previous premium for being a PS3 owner, that’s for sure.
Update 1: It seems that the $499 PS3 has it’s days numbered, so I suppose that answers the question posited in this post. Everyone will be buying an 80GB PS3 for $599 because Sony has gone completely mad.
Note: This post is a semi-prequel to “Sony Drops the 60GB PS3: Brilliant Marketing Scheme, or Are They Insane?“