NEWS: Sony slims down Japanese PS3 range - to just one model

Sony announced yesterday that it's dropping its original Japanese-market PlayStation3 models, which were the standard 60GB and a stripped-down 20GB version, to concentrate on a single 40GB console for domestic sales.

That means the company now has a single-model policy in just about every market apart from the US, where it continues to sell both 40GB and 80GB versions.

At the time of the original launch in Japan, back in November 2006, the company aimed the Y54,980 (£250) 60GB model at enthusiasts, with the smaller-capacity Y44,980 (£211) version going for mass appeal, especially among younger buyers.

Now the company just has the Y39,800 (£190) 40GB model, which like the one sold in the UK lacks back-compatibility with PS2 games, has two USB ports rather than the original 60GB model's four, and can't play Super Audio CDs.

The company launched the 40GB model in Japan last year to tackle head-on the success of Nintendo's wii, and claims it sold 1.2m units in the States in the run-up to the Christmas/New Year season.

But another survey released recently suggests that in the period from November 26 to December 30, Nintendo sold almost 775,000 wiis in Japan, while Sony sold around 232,000 PS3s and Microsoft less than 40,000 XBox 360s.

Sony says it will 'vigorously promote the expansion of the PS3 platform by further concentrating on the 40GB hard disk drive model', but with future plans including PlayStation Network expansing and a forthcoming add-on to turn the unit into a TV receiver/PVR, there is still speculation that a version with a larger hard disk will be needed at some point in the near future.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.