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Sony Computer Entertainment America said on Wednesday that it would cease to ship the relatively affordable version of the PlayStation 3 game console into North American stores, as the demand towards the part was ten times lower compared to the more expensive flavour of the PS3.

Originally Sony released two versions of its game consoles in the USA and Japan in November, 2007, which cost about $499 and $599. While technologically the gaming machines were similar, the more affordable version contained 20GB hard disk drive (HDD), whereas the more advanced second one featured 60GB HDD, memory card reader and built-in Wi-Fi adapter. The lower-end one allowed customers in budget to play PlayStation 3 games, however, according to Sony, its clients still preffered the most advanced version of the console.

“At launch, we offered two separate models of PlayStation 3 to meet the diverse needs and interests of our PlayStation fan base. Initial retail demand in North America was upwards of ninety percent in favor of the 60GB SKU, so we manufactured and shipped-in accordingly. Due to the overwhelming demand for the 60GB model from both retailers and consumers, we have ceased offering the 20GB model here in North America. [...] Based on retailer and consumer feedback, we have decided to focus our current efforts on the more popular 60GB model,” said Dave Karraker of Sony America said in an interview with Joystiq web-site.

Sony also did not offer 20GB version of the PlayStation 3 for the PAL regions, claiming that the demand would be low. However, it should also be kept in mind that Sony was losing $60 less on the 60GB version compared to 20GB version: it originally cost Sony $840 to manufacture the former and $805 to make the latter, while their prices are still $599 and $499 respectively.

Even though 20GB version might not satisfy Sony’s executives or die-hard PlayStation 3 fans who bought their systems among the first, there are definitely a lot of gamers that would like to see the PlayStation 3 at a more affordable price-point. Nevertheless, even though the PlayStation 3 20GB was priced at a $100 lower compared to the fully-fledged model, Sony did not have many chances to reduce the price even more significantly, therefore, the 20GB version would hardly become popular among price-conscious buyers.

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