Following yesterday's reports
of the official SonyStyle store no longer stocking the 20GB model of the PlayStation 3, SCEA communications director Dave Karraker told Gamasutra that the model has officially been discontinued and will no longer be offered to retailers.
The $499 20GB version of the console did not feature any in-built Wi-Fi connectivity, and also lacks the flash memory card readers and chrome trim of the more expensive 60GB version, and was not offered for the recent European launch of the console.
Karraker said the decision to discontinue the model was "based purely on consumer and retailer demand, which favored the 60GB model 10 to 1," and that the current "very limited inventory" of the models still in the retail channels would be sold at its standard price until depleted.
Karraker also assured that current owners of the 20GB model would be "100% supported with software and services, since all PS3s have the same basic architecture," adding, in a dig toward the competition, "unlike if MSFT were to stop selling their Core system, which would allow publishers to actually use their hard drive for gaming purposes, leaving the Core user out in the cold."
"At launch," SCEA's official statement reads, "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... [to] focus our current efforts on the more popular 60GB model."