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SCEA still silent on 40GB console for North America

Despite recent announcements of a lower-priced PS3 being released in Japan and Europe, Sony has not yet confirmed that a similar model will be sold in the US

Despite recent announcements of a lower-priced PS3 being released in Japan and Europe, Sony has not yet confirmed that a similar model will be sold in the US.

Nevertheless, the assumption is that such a console will be made available in early November, supported by internal documents obtained from a US retailer showing the new SKU as well as documents Sony filed with the FCC on a new product with a model designation similar to those of the existing PS3 consoles.

The Hollywood Reporter became the latest to join the rumour mill, recently reporting that both an industry source and a retail buyer expect the new system to be released on November 2.

So, with all the chatter, why hasn't SCEA admitted the existence of the new model?

"These rolling announcements suggest to me that Sony has an inventory control problem, with too many unsold 60GB units out there, and they don't want to have to cut the price to clear them," Wedbush Morgan securities analyst Michael Pachter told GamesIndustry.biz.

Pachter thinks that Sony will either wait to announce the 40GB model after the 60GB units have been cleared out, or else it will "accept reality and bundle [the 60GB with] a game and an extra controller for USD 499.99, giving consumers some value for their money."

As with other analysts, Pachter does expect the price reduction to significantly drive sales volume. He estimates that the PS3 sell-though may pick up 50 per cent for every hundred dollars in price reduction.

Pachter doesn't believe the loss of backwards compatibility will be an issue.

"I don't think most people who waited this long care enough about backwards compatibility to affect their decision either way," he said.

Nintendo has already publicly stated that the Wii will once again be in short supply this holiday season. Might that encourage Wii-less consumers to purchase a PS3 instead?

"In my view, the typical Wii buyer is either someone who would not have otherwise bought a [games console] but was intrigued by the Wii, or is someone who fully intends to buy a PS3 or 360 eventually, when price or software support is sufficient to prompt them to do so," explained Pachter.

Author

Mark Androvich

Contributor